7 Podcasts That Have Changed My Life
I’ve been listening to podcasts since the early days.
Way back when you needed two different devices to listen to music and make a phone call.
We’re talking hundreds, possibly thousands of hours of podcast consumption.
And surprisingly, most of the podcasts I’ve heard are pretty good.
Maybe I’m just not that picky.
Or I take my time deciding what to listen to so I don’t come across too many duds, I don’t know.
But for the most part, once I choose to listen to a podcast I usually enjoy it.
Still, after exploring all of these different voices, there are 7 podcasts that clearly stand out.
Because these are the 7 podcasts that have actually changed my life.
I was so tempted to add more.
When I was starting to put this list together, there were at least a dozen other podcasts that I wanted to include.
Honestly, I could probably write a whole guidebook, because there are so many interesting and inspiring shows to listen to.
But I decided that in order to make it onto this list, the podcast had to have actually shifted something in the way I see or live my life.
And I’ve only included podcasts that have made such a big impact on me that they freely come to mind without my having to dig through any archives.
This is no small ask.
To listen to something be forever changed?
That’s a really big deal.
And that’s what the podcasts on this list are.
They are exceptional.
And I’m delighted to be able to share them with you, in case they change your life too.
1. Hidden Brain
As described on its homepage: “Hidden Brain explores the unconscious patterns that drive human behavior and questions that lie at the heart of our complex and changing world.”
In other words, this podcast is all about what makes you tick.
And topics range from marriage to the environment, and everything in between.
But the reason I love Hidden Brain is because its taught me so many scientifically-backed ways that I can adjust my lifestyle and mindset to increase well-being.
And I’m talking about 3 episodes in particular here.
Eyes Wide Open: Part 2
I loved both of Hidden Brain’s episodes that centered on sleep.
I’ve always been a huge fan of sleep and after studying natural medicine for so long I knew that it was important.
But this episode really solidified why sleep is so important, what happens when you don’t get enough.
And it made crystal clear to me how much sleep is really needed in order to function in life, let alone feel sane.
I’ll say this for all of the episodes on the list, but I can’t recommend this episode any more highly.
It is a must-listen as far as I’m concerned.
Interestingly, the next two episodes I have on this list were produced recently.
Maybe that’s why they’re at the top of my mind.
But regardless, they definitely deserve to be mentioned here.
We live in a world built on distraction.
Even when you’re focusing intensely on a project, the phone dings and it’s like a magnetic force pulls you in to see what’s up.
But it’s also causing a lot more problems than you realize.
And not just on the productivity front.
Distraction also has a measurable impact on happiness.
This episode of Hidden Brain, called “Life, Interrupted”, will teach you how to structure your life so you’re less susceptible to distraction.
I recommend it to anyone with an email account.
Being Kind to Yourself
And the final Hidden Brain episode on this list is really lovely.
It’s all about the incredible hidden benefits of self-compassion.
This topic complements the shadow work I do with a lot of my patients, so it really excited me when I heard them get into the science of self-compassion.
Anyone who tends to be self-critical needs to click here now to listen.
2. Radio Lab
Radio Lab asks life’s deepest questions and uses investigative journalism to find the answers.
I think I can safely say that I’ve loved literally every episode I’ve heard on this show.
But there’s one episode that completely changed the trajectory of my career, and it’s called “Where Am I?”.
This episode aired all the way back in 2006, 2 years before I would enter and later quit grad school for art therapy.
And I may not have realized it at the time, but this episode is a big reason why I decided to go in a more holistic direction with my mental-health and wellness work.
Because it examines the link between the brain and the body, and more specifically, how emotions get interpreted by thought.
If you’re excited about any of my work, listen to this episode.
Because this is where it started.
3. On Being
On that note, another podcast episode that changed my career path was Krista Tippet’s interview with Bessel van der Kolk, which aired in 2016 right before the release of his now best-selling book, The Body Keeps the Score.
This episode explores trauma, (which, btw, we all have to some extent).
They discuss how trauma gets lodged in the nervous system and what can be done to move through it.
Whether you’ve read his book or not, whether the idea of talking about trauma sparks your interest or makes you cringe (believe it or not, I didn’t want any part of it before I started working with it,) this podcast episode can change your life.
Thich Nhat Hanh
Moving into a more spiritual direction, Krista’s 2003 interview with zen monk, poet, and peacemaker Thich Nhat Hanh will give you practical tools to calm the flames of anger and bring peace into every step you take.
I already loved his books, but listening to this conversation brought my adoration of his work to the next level.
Do yourself a favor and listen when you’re ready.
And finally, Krista’s interview with the late Irish poet, John O’Donohue, is medicine for the soul.
In fact, I think I’ll listen to it again when I’m done writing this article.
There’s nothing more to say.
My words can’t do his justice right now.
And these final 4 podcasts on the list are based on the work of individual spiritual teachers.
I’ve binge-listened to each for hours and hours on end, so there aren’t any stand-out episodes.
Wherever you start, I’m confident you’ll find exactly what you need.
4. Ram Dass- Here and Now
I discovered the brilliance of Ram Dass about 3 months after he left his body in 2019.
And being free now of physical limitations, I feel like his spirit has tapped me on the shoulder and nudged me to explore his teachings.
His words have been a big part of what made my mother’s death this past year feel okay.
And my understanding of what it means to be human grows deeper every time I listen.
If you decide to visit this podcast, I just have one recommendation.
Fast forward through the intro.
The host, Raghu Markus is a lovely person and has many brilliant ideas and teachings of his own, but I prefer to listen to him in other contexts.
The real beauty of this podcast is being able to hear Ram Dass speak as though he’s speaking directly to you.
And his groovy flower-child lingo is icing on the cake.
5. At Home with Byron Katie
Is every moment of your life beautiful?
If not, it’s actually fine.
It just shows you that there’s some work to be done on the what you’re thinking and believing.
And that’s what this podcast will help you do.
One of the few people I’ve encountered that are truly enlightened, Byron Katie is an expert at helping you see your thoughts and beliefs for what they are: imagination.
The podcast episodes in At Home with Byron Katie are selected recordings from the live sessions she leads every week, walking people through what she calls “The Work.”
And it really is life’s work.
6. Gangaji Podcast
Gangaji has dedicated her life to helping people live peace and find freedom and fulfillment.
She has one of the calmest, most reassuring voices I’ve ever heard.
And it’s because of Gangaji that I’ve been able to accept whatever difficulty comes my way.
Though I’ve heard similar teachings before in the past, it is only through her work that I have found emotional freedom, right where I am.
It may take a few tries to settle into what she offers, but stick it out.
Trust me, it’s worth it.
7. Eckhart Tolle Essential Teachings
This final podcast is a collection of recordings from workshops that Eckhart has given around the world, and they are nothing short of delightful.
He has been a favorite teacher of mine since I first discovered him in 2008, and my love has only grown since then.
Whether you’ve read all of his books or have never heard his name before, this podcast should definitely be in your queue.
Now I’d love to hear from you.
Which podcasts have changed your life?
Send me an email and let me know, I’m always looking for new ones to add to my list.
As for my recommendations, I can’t wait to see where they take you!