Since it’s Mental Health Awareness Month, you’ll probably be reading a lot of personal accounts about stress, anxiety, and depression. How amazing is that We have come leaps and bounds in our attitude towards mental health, and each of us is brave in sharing our own experiences, as we become less afraid of the social stigma. Mental Health Awareness Month is important since, let’s be honest, a lot of people struggle with their mental health.
I’ve been battling with my own mental health demons recently, and when this happens, I find listening to music difficult. I think it’s because music usually makes me so happy that I don’t want my mood to taint it. Anyway, in darker times, I turn to podcasts. There’s something very soothing about listening to continuous talking, and some of these dialogues calm me down and help me see the good in my life. So, here is a breakdown of the three best podcasts that I think help to put life into perspective, especially for people living with mental illness.
10% Happier with Dan Harris
This podcast is hosted by Dan Harris, who, after having a nationalized TV panic attack while anchoring Good Morning America, found mindfulness and meditation to be the antidote to the self-critical voice in his head.
I think this podcast is incredible — I mean, its opening episode is with the Dalai Lama! What is so good about 10% Happier is its meditative nature. The themes this podcast covers include mindfulness, meditation, Buddhism, anxiety, depression, motivation… and the list goes on. A particularly good episode is #95: Robert Wright, ‘Why Buddhism is True’, in which Robert Wright talks about the concept of true enlightenment and the transformative power of mindfulness meditation.
On Being with Krista Tippett
Knowing that I love anything theological, philosophical, or existential, a friend introduced me to this podcast. As part of the On Being project, this series deals with the overarching question of what it means to be human.
The episodes are varied and deal with everything from sex to Star Wars. My favourite is the episode with Alain de Botton — The True Hard Work of Love and Relationships. “We must fiercely resist the idea that true love must mean conflict-free love…” This episode highlights that love is beautiful and transformative but not perfect — and that the movie narrative we often see is a damaging starting point to our perceptions of love.
Desert Island Discs
This series from BBC Radio 4 is my all-time favorite radio show. Every week, Kirsty Young interviews a different notable person and asks them to give her 8 songs, a book, and a luxury that they would take to a desert island.
Through the stories behind their music choices, you learn about the individuals’ life stories. Guests have included everyone from Tom Hanks to Davina McCall, and their stories make me feel like anything is possible. David Nott’s episode is a particularly good one. A surgeon from Wales, he started working in war zones in 1993 and was held at gunpoint while performing surgery on an ISIS soldier.
Whether or not you’re struggling with mental illness, these podcasts provide uplifting and inspiring examples of both the human mind’s pain and its power.
Featured image via Pexels