Tune into these motivational podcasts and give yourself something to think about (other than Covid).
Had your fill of the depressing daily news cycle? Yeah, us, too. Luckily, there’s an uplifting antidote. Its name? Podcasts.
While you may already be subscribed to some of the biggest, best podcasts, cutting through a dense library of options – over 47 million episodes out there! – takes some curation chops. Whether you’re into travel, fashion, business, beauty or self-improvement, the great equaliser is we’re all searching for ways to better our lives.
These 8 highly regarded podcasts will give you quick, actionable tools, while others will feed your soul, providing nourishment to chew over days after you’ve finished listening.
1. Happier with Gretchen Rubin
If you’ve read (and changed) your life thanks to Gretchen Rubin’s blockbuster book, The Happiness Project, Happier will surely resonate with you. Co-hosted together with her younger sister Elizabeth Craft, the thought-provoking podcast – in both 30+ minute bits and smaller bite-size chunks, some less than three minutes – covers a wide range of topics.
These include things such as why not throw a celebratory party during stressful times; navigating difficult family discussions; and scheduling a playdate with yourself — all good reminders that there are remarkably simple ways to handle life with a little more grace and pleasure.
2. Eckhart Tolle: Essential Teachings with Oprah Winfrey
This podcast ventures into deep-seated questions and issues regarding the human condition. Eckhart Tolle, widely known as one of the world’s most-loved spiritual thinkers and visionaries, wrote a ground-breaking book, A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose, in 2005 addressing pathways to end suffering by unlocking a new human consciousness within. 15 years later, his piece of work not only resulted in many accolades, it went on to help many in need of guidance. Oprah Winfrey joins him in this audio guide to discuss the chapters of the book – which includes Q&As from readers worldwide, and commentary on topics like mindfulness and living in the present, debunking the ego, religion and more.
3. TED Radio Hour
You’re probably already familiar with TED Talks, so you’ll know the general format of this podcast. Just shy of an hour long (so save this for the weekend or an extended commute home), each weekly episode tackles thought-provoking topics and offers advice from a number of TED speakers or noted personalities.
Hosted by Guy Raz, the episodes point at all different areas of self-improvement, such as how to become a better version of yourself; why practicing gratitude changes how you look at the world; the evolution of the #metoo movement; and our complicated relationship with food – is it nourishment or pleasure/guilt?
4. Oprah’s Super Soul Sundays
The title itself is a dead giveaway, but how could we possibly talk about personal, life-changing revelations if we didn’t include Oprah Winfrey, the American queen of self-actualisation?
Hosted by Lady O herself, episodes champion the concept of taking time to be more fully present, with key thought leaders (Suze Orman on women’s relationship with money), authors (two words: Michelle and Obama), wellness experts (Dr. Phil with his tough-love lessons about living a contented life) and spiritual luminaries (Deepak Chopra on creating harmony) all conveying what Oprah is famous for: that inimitable ability to create a meaningful connection through a raw and authentic conversation that leaves you feeling capable of taking on the world.
5. How I Built This
If you’re already a fan of the abundant and excellent content on NPR (what used to be called National Public Radio in the U.S.), then this podcast, in which host Guy Raz digs into the stories behind some of the world’s best known companies, will be a natural addition to your download list.
Based on his book of the same name, How I Built This takes listeners on a fascinating journey about some of today’s greatest innovators, entrepreneurs and idealists. Learn about creating an iconic, long-lasting brand with fashion designer Norma Kamali; find out about launching a category-disrupting product with the inventors of Seventh Generation; or figure out how to make yourself an efficient machine with author Tim Ferris. And even though travel ain’t what it used to be, you can do some armchair adventuring if you listen to the Rick Steves episode.
6. The One You Feed
Created by Eric Zimmer and Charles Forbes, this self-help podcast aims to inspire, motivate and leave you with tools to conquer challenges – all with the ultimate goal of inspiring you to live better.
Using the parable of the good and bad wolf – and which you choose to feed – episodes ranging from 30 to 45 minutes are comprised of conversational, educational interviews with well-known authors and professionals who enlighten listeners through stories, scientific research and can-do techniques on buzzworthy topics of the moment like time management, mindfulness, procrastination, success, happiness and meditation.
7. GaryVee Audio Experience
When it comes to motivation, it’s hard not to mention Gary Vaynerchuk, an entrepreneur synonymous with the concept of crushing it. Gary Vee, as he’s known, may have his share of detractors who don’t approve of his abrasive, straight-speaking (read: plenty of expletives) style, but the content is engaging and full of actionable insights.
With podcast episodes – a blend of interviews, marketing ideas and business talk – co-hosted with celebrities (Jessica Alba, Larry King) and top opinion leaders, some of the more popular podcasts to bookmark include Drop One Loser Friend, the 79/21 Rule To Build a Long Term Business and Being Unemotional When It Comes to Business.
8. Girlboss Radio with Puno
Former Nasty Gal CEO Sophia Amoruso passed the mic last year, but you’ll continue to get a weekly dose of real talk from these conversations with boss babes such as Glossier founder Emily Weiss, Goop’s Gwyneth Paltrow and Ouai Haircare’s Jen Atkin as they discuss their personal #girlboss moments and what makes them feel empowered.
The episodes vary in length (from 20 minutes), and the roster of power women is certainly impressive. But what we like are the topics touched on, such as how and when to strike out on your own, navigating working with family, more water cooler topics (with Michelle Phan, no less) on the difference between an influencer and creator and why bravery is better than perfection. Definitely a Millennial must-listen.
9. The Tony Robbins Podcasts
Who else but America’s master of coaching to get you revved up and ready to take on the world? As expected, each biweekly episode features Robbins interviewing a roster of A-list guests (athletes, activists, actors, business execs and more).
But what’s more impressive is the authentic emotional content he unearths, as with swimmer Michael Phelps talking frankly about his own struggles after his Olympics victories propelled him into the spotlight. Delve into illuminating topics with take-home lessons such as turning stress into success, why love isn’t enough in marriage and breaking patterns to find inner peace.
Originally by Charlene Fang, April 2019 / Last updated by Brooke Glassberg, April 2021
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