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- Podcasts offer a way to connect with similar stories and struggles and often bring humor to situations that feel heavy.
- The right podcast can also offer advice on how to find solace and calm within whatever you’re grappling with.
- Whether it’s the unique trials of being a black woman, dealing with grief, or just pin-pointing what will actually bring you happiness in life, these podcasts can help.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Between pandemic fears, political unrest, social conflict, economic instability, and, you know, the basic stresses of everyday life, we have no shortage of reasons to feel mentally and emotionally overloaded this year. Aside from the 51.5 million Americans living with diagnosed mental illness conditions, 78 percent of adults state they’ve felt stressed over the past year, 61 percent reported feeling lonely, and 48 percent have felt down and hopeless, according to various surveys and studies conducted in 2020.
What’s more, nearly two-thirds of Americans say they aren’t getting sufficient support for their mental health, according to an American Psychological Association survey. In addition to the burden that puts on your daily wellbeing and relationships, this increase in negative mental states also significantly affect your physical health as well: Studies have found that those who experience mental health issues for long periods of time are at greater risk of developing cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and inflammatory conditions like arthritis.
Sure, there are a lot of avenues for someone to seek help. Therapy, journaling, and daily exercise can all help to lower stress, anxiety, and depressive symptoms. But an oft-overlooked and very simple aid can come in what podcasts you tune into on long car rides, slow workdays, even just while you sit on the couch and decompress.
How can podcasts help mental health?
“In the busy world we live in, we can forget the basics of connecting with ourselves, other people, and the community,” chartered psychologist Dr. Juliet Anton, who has a doctorate degree in counseling psychology and psychotherapeutics from the University of Surrey, UK, told Insider.
Listening to podcasts, though, offers many ways to connect and, in turn, maintain or even improve our mental wellbeing.
Tuning into any kind of episode is an opportunity to connect inward as you listen and focus on the words and form connections with more unfamiliar areas of the world.
But listening to an episode that particularly hits home — be it about the struggles of depression, creative solutions for anxiety, reaching the end of your emotional rope at work — has the additional benefit of allowing you to associate with others as they relay experiences similar to your own. And that can change your whole outlook:
“Other people’s stories can be very important in understanding and maintaining our own mental health,” Dr. Anton reveals. “Listening and sharing experiences gives people the confidence that they don’t have to manage things on their own, and [that] there is a reason behind the thoughts, emotions, and behaviors they’re experiencing.”
But with over 1.5 million podcasts offering more than 34 million individual episodes, it’s understandable if you’re unsure where to begin. So I listened to a whole host of those dedicated to improving and maintaining good mental wellbeing and handpicked some of the best for your ears (and mind) to enjoy.
Here are 10 podcasts to support your mental health:
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