Words & Photo Hiranmayii Mohanen

The advent of podcasts have been a true delight, serving as an escape and a platform where one can learn about history, listen to the news, learn about new things, laugh, seek inspiration, elevate mood and recharge the spirit among other things. Its easy access through the podcast app or Spotify prove a respite from the cabin fever some of us might be experiencing from being confined to our homes. 

Podcasts have transformed the daily grind into an altogether bearable experience, spicing up mundane house chores, exercise sessions or serving as entertainment during lunch. From witty ones that make you laugh out loud to those that talk about the harsh realities of beauty standards, it’s safe to say that podcasts have steadily become a necessity of everyday life. We have curated six podcasts that will help you live your best life or at least set you on the right track.

The Minimalists

The Minimalists by Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus is based on their book and philosophy of bringing more and more of what truly matters into our lives. Through their book, Joshua and Ryan have reached out to 20 million people and this podcast follows from that. It advocates living a meaningful life by reducing things that do not matter. In doing so, it creates meaning and purpose, and thereby they achieve happiness. The minimalist philosophy isn’t directly related to mental health awareness, but reducing clutter in our environment and our brains is an effective strategy to increase efficiency, well-being and productivity.

Where There’s Smoke

Where There’s Smoke is a weekly podcast started by Brett Gajda and Nick Jaworski — avid podcast listeners who wanted to use their pop-culture addictions to creative narratives that intrigue listeners and invite them to change. You can never expect the same show twice, with each episode wholeheartedly designed to entertain and educate. With an average of approximately 30 minutes per show, the topics covered by Gajda and Jaworski run the gamut of daily life including gratitude, willpower, service, criticism, stress, and more. The show combines the relevancy of The Daily Show, the storytelling of This American Life, the science of RadioLab, and the honesty of a personal journal. They also call on experts who share their two cents, experiences and uplifting messages, all on a positive note. Brett is one without frills and fluff, so he gets straight to the point without marketing messages, which makes it a pleasure to listen to. The goal of Where There’s Smoke is to challenge the way we interpret our environment so that we can make informed decisions on how to be better people, live better lives, and build a better world. 

What Would the Aunties Say?

With an average run time of 50 minutes, witty host Anchal tackles the common struggles faced by members of the Asian community that are often disregarded out of fear of what people or more specifically, ’the aunties’ might say. ‘Aunties’ is a broad term used for an elder family member who adheres to stringent traditional and old fashioned beliefs. Anchal makes her podcasts relatable by sharing her personal experiences as well as those of her guests. The host also highlights the prevalence and ugly reality of beauty standards and toxic reputation pressures experienced by Asians. Fun and fresh, there isn’t any topics that off-limits so brace yourself for talks from interracial relationships to skin lightening.

Have You Heard George’s Podcasts?

This award-winning and critically-acclaimed podcast doled out by George the Poet’s is unlike any other you will have listened to before. His refreshing take on inner city life integrates music, storytelling, commentary, poetry and interviews fluidly with one another. ‘Have You Heard George’s Podcast?’ is beautiful and lyrical, with him expertly synthesising each of these mediums, George the Poet carefully weaves words together to produce narratives that are topical, enlightening and thoroughly moving. Like music to the ears, George the Poet’s podcasts on political or social commentary and personal look into his life is lighthearted yet carries value and meaning. You’re sure to come away from each episode having learnt something new. A true creative assemblage, this podcast is a pleasure to listen to.

Love Life with Matthew Hussey

Handsome hunk and NY Times best selling author Matthew Hussey is modern day cupid if you will, doling out practical tips to improve all aspects of a relationship — romantic, family, friends, career and, most importantly, the relationship you have with yourself. His alluring British accent and that soothing voice creates quite the enjoyable experience listening to his expertise in each bite-size episode of ‘Love Life.’ Hussey’s tips are realistic and practical, but most importantly, it comes from a distinct standpoint which will probably leave you with the afterthought of “wow, that makes so much sense” after listening to it. You don’t have to be single to listen to Hussey’s podcast as it gives you some insight into the dating culture and helps you understand men a little more.

The Science of Happiness

Some podcasts about living a better, cheerier life are anecdotal, but The Science of Happiness is all about the facts. Hosted by award-winning professor Dacher Keltner, founder of the University of California Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Centre, the show explores varied topics including the value of outdoor time, connecting with your elders, silencing your inner critic and finding strength through gratitude to name a few. So, if you’re in search of some meaning or to lead your best life yet, The Science of Happiness will teach you strategies for a happier, more meaningful life, drawing on the science of compassion, gratitude, mindfulness, and awe. It goes a long way.