Six podcasts for those who want a healthy mind
I read last week that 19% of British adults listen to podcasts, which means that four out of five of you reading this will not be someone familiar with audio downloads.
I thought I'd share some that I consider to be a good introduction to podcasts for those who are wanting to learn more or understand mental health a little more, whether it is to focus on your own current mental health, or to understand the subject more widely.
1. Happy Place, hosted by Fearne Cotton
If this topic is new to you, then hearing familiar voices can be a very gentle entry point. Having worked at The BBC for more than 20 years, you'll likely already be familiar with the warm, friendly and upbeat approach that Fearne brings to hosting.
She also brings to this podcast a deep interest in those she is interviewing and is gentle in her questioning which allows her guests to give meaningful and thoughtful insights. At around an hour long, Fearne interviews other famous people to discuss what makes them happy and how they deal with their own myriad of emotions that arise in their work and personal lives.
2. The Wellbeing Lab, hosted by Will Young
This, on the face of it, has the same benefits as the podcast above, in that it is a familiar famous voice hosting a show about mental health. This one offers so much more than that. Opting for more than one interview, it makes for a shorter, impactful listen that is always interesting and even in my role as a therapist, I genuinely learn from the topics covered because Will has chosen to interview those at the peak of their profession.
This is informative and important, and I want to say essential listening. If you only listen to one on this list, please make it this one.
3. Unlocking Us, hosted by Brene Brown.
This podcast is now only available on Spotify but you can access Spotify for free if you're happy to hear some adverts. You may know of Brene's work from her books, Netflix special and TED talk on vulnerability that went viral a few years ago. Brene has an American drawl which I find very soothing in itself, making it a delicious listening experience.
Each episode focuses on a different topic. To start, I only listened to the topics that took my fancy but I've learned now that it's the topics that don't immediately grab me that I gain the most from. Very insightful, although it can be a lot to take in at once, so maybe don't listen when you're tired. Or maybe you should, if you have trouble sleeping, I've certainly nodded off a few times (which seems like a very backhand compliment but I've said it now).
4. How We Are Wired, hosted by Dr Eva Higginbotham and Dr Anna Machin
This podcast looks at the latest neuroscience research to explore our brains. It is not listened to, to feel better. It is to educate us on all why we do, the things we do. It is a fascinating listen and surprisingly accessible, as it explains tricky information in very straightforward language.
5. All In The Mind, hosted by Claudia Hammond
I'm not sure this one is strictly a podcast, as it's a Radio 4 show, put out as a podcast but given that most people don't listen to Radio 4, this may not be on your radar. It's basically Women's Hour but for mental health, covering the latest discoveries and developments with some really uplifting and thought-provoking packages.
6. Wolf and Owl, hosted by Romesh Ranganathan and Tom Davis
I'm happy to admit, this choice is left field as it is a comedy podcast that doesn't focus on mental health. Yet it does. I've listened to all episodes and there's never been an episode where these two middle-aged men don't talk about their feelings with an honesty and vulnerability that most people could benefit from trying themselves.
They've covered topics such as body confidence, anxiety, friendship, and relationships. And all from a straight, male perspective which honestly, we don't hear enough of. For males, they are role models, for females they are a glimpse into the male psyche. It comes with the added benefit of being very funny.
I do want to give two very clear warnings though. They offer advice in an agony uncle style, they have no qualifications or credentials for this and as such, I'd urge anyone to take their advice as they would from any stranger who doesn't know you, your life or your situation. Also, they swear a lot. So listen when the kids aren't around or use headphones.