Podcasts are a series of audio episodes, hosted by one or more people, that are often centred around a particular theme such as finance or well-being. There are tons of podcasts that we can listen to through our smartphones nowadays. If you’re feeling bored on your commute to work or while doing chores at home, just open an app like Spotify and start listening to a podcast! It’s a great way to fight boredom, learn interesting new things, and get the most out of your time.
There are various apps we can use to listen to podcasts. Many of us may already have Spotify on our phones to stream our favourite music. We can also use this popular music streaming platform to listen to loads of podcasts. Here are 5 awesome podcasts on Spotify that you can check out right now:
1. The Happiness Lab
This podcast is hosted by Dr. Laurie Santos, a Professor of Psychology at Yale University. It focuses on the various factors that affect our happiness and well-being. Each episode zooms in on one particular factor and shares the science behind why our brain works the way it does. This podcast includes meaningful interviews and provides useful takeaways for listeners in terms of actionable steps that we can take to boost our own happiness.
Although there are loads of books, podcasts, YouTube channels, and blogs dedicated to self-help, positive psychology, and happiness in general (some may even say the market is highly saturated), this podcast is pretty unique in its style and presentation. Dr. Santos, being an expert in this field, shares the science and logic behind what drives our happiness. Along the way, we also hear interesting discussions with relevant guests whose experiences stand testament to the science she shares with us.
If you’re into positive psychology like me, but don’t appreciate the fluff and instead want some concrete science to back it all up, you’ll definitely dig this podcast.
2. Ringgit and Sense
Ringgit and Sense (a clever take on Ringgit and Cents, the currency used in Malaysia) is a podcast hosted by BFM, a radio station in Malaysia focused on business and current affairs. The podcast revolves around personal finance and is hosted by Roshan Kanesan who speaks to numerous experts on key issues such as retirement planning, investment, and cybersecurity.
We are often told that investing and retirement planning are important, but we don’t get much exposure to it at school or college. Podcasts like Ringgit and Sense are a great resource to learn more about the basics of personal finance. Although some examples and tools are specific to Malaysia, the general concepts discussed are pretty universal and can be beneficial for anyone hoping to learn more about finance.
In full disclosure, some guests may emphasize products offered by their respective organisations. I try to take this with a pinch of salt. However, the host steers the conversation well and asks interesting questions that prompt insightful discussions.
3. The Michelle Obama Podcast
Whether you’re from the United States or not, Michelle Obama is a First Lady we’ve all come to love. She is smart, articulate, graceful, and real. Now, she brings all that awesomeness to her podcast which discusses the various relationships that enrich our lives. In this podcast, Michelle Obama speaks to friends, family, and colleagues about marriage, friendship, motherhood, women’s health, and mentorship.
The first episode I listened to was “Talking Marriage with Conan O’ Brien” and it was so open and honest, much like every other episode in this podcast. When you hear the former First Lady of the United States saying that she once threw her engagement ring aside when arguing with her husband, the one and only Barack Obama, you begin to think: “Wow! Arguments in a marriage are normal! They’re a power couple, and they have their share of bad fights too!”
That’s truly the beauty of this podcast. Michelle Obama is so candid about her experiences and her discussions normalise the struggles we privately go through.
4. Owning It: The Anxiety Podcast
This podcast is hosted by author Caroline Foran and as the name suggests, it discusses anxiety. The host and her guests share their own experiences dealing with anxiety, and experts are brought on to share some pointers on how we can better manage and cope with our own anxieties.
I really appreciate this podcast because it attempts to normalise anxiety; something many of us go through but don’t really talk about. In an earlier episode, the host talks about how her mind races to the worst-case scenarios and as a result, her anxiety flares up. I remember listening to this and thinking, “Hey, that happens to me too!” She was speaking with a clinical psychologist, and they were discussing how to deal with such anxiety.
My biggest takeaway from that episode is that trying to avoid anxiety or negative emotions is a futile task. Humans feel a range of emotions and striving to be happy all the time isn’t realistic. There are going to be times when we feel low or anxious and that’s okay. Instead of beating yourself up for feeling anxious, it’s important to explore and learn ways to manage your anxiety.
As such, this podcast discusses different ways to deal with anxiety. The host shares what has worked for her and talks to experts for their input as well. If you struggle with anxiety, do check out this podcast. It’s real, comforting, and quite insightful.
If you don’t experience much anxiety, but you know someone who does, and you’re not sure how to be there for them, do listen to the episode called “How to Support Someone With Anxiety.” In this episode, Caroline Foran speaks to her husband about his experience being there for her as she struggled with anxiety. This episode sheds some light on what we can do to help or support a loved one who's going through mental health challenges.
5. Sleep Tight Relax – Helping busy minds become calm at bedtime
In a previous job, I experienced quite a bit of anxiety and I often had trouble sleeping at night. I could never switch off my brain and as I got into bed, I would start thinking and worrying about all the things I needed to do the next day. Needless to say, sleep eluded me. In times like that, my husband indulged me and told me stories to distract me and calm my racing mind. I focused on his words and slowly, I would drift off to sleep.
I wish I knew about this podcast back then! Each episode offers something different (stories, guided relaxation exercises, music, or sounds of nature) to help you relax and fall asleep at bedtime. For those of you thinking bedtime stories are for kids, I just want to say: don’t knock it until you’ve tried it! When your mind is on overdrive and you can’t sleep, trust me, a nice, soothing bedtime story can do wonders.
The stories are told in a calm, soothing voice, and they’re pretty interesting. If bedtime stories aren’t your thing, skip to the episodes with relaxing music or sounds of nature.
If you have trouble sleeping at night, I highly recommend giving this podcast a try.
Do check out these podcasts and I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!