Feel Inspired & Empowered to Shine with My Top Ten Podcast Recommendations
November 13, 2018
By Catherine Nyika, M.Ed, Accredited Social worker, Counsellor, Coach & Certified EFT Practitioner.
I need to confess that I am a podcast junkie! I listen to an episode of an hour-long podcast at least once a day and my all time favourites will be on rotation dependant on my mood. You may find me listening to a podcast as I fold up laundry, whilst I do my daily exercise, as I drive to work, as I cook dinner, and sometimes as I wind down from my day and get ready to sleep. The right podcast at the right moment can; motivate & inspire me, it can offer me a different perspective on a problem I may be experiencing, it can provide me with information on a random topic I knew nothing about, it can make me laugh till it hurts or when needed, it can touch my heart and help me release some much needed tears of emotion.
Podcasts have grown in popularity, drawing listeners in with the narrative style of media allowing us to feel as though we are in some way personally connected to each story. As of 2018 there are over 525, 000 active podcasts and many of these have highly engaged audiences who stick around for a long time. There is research showing that audiences are more likely to retain detailed information when it is delivered as part of a narrative via a podcast rather than simply listening to a list of facts alone because us humans tend to think in stories.
As someone who works within a helping profession my podcast library leans heavily towards the self-help/self development section. Podcasts have helped me through the darkest moments as well as affirmed the joyous moments experienced when I feel my best self, recognising how far I’ve come in my own healing journey. I am not afraid to share my podcast library unlike my Spotify playlists. In fact, you might find me at a dinner party sharing my most telling and intimate podcast library with a total stranger. Every time someone views my library and then recommends another podcast to me I subscribe straight away because I choose to see it as a sign that there is a gift hiding inside one of those episodes, just for me. “When the student is ready the teacher will appear” (Buddha). Yet in a time when our smart phones are having a pernicious influence on us thanks to social media overload, the ever faithful and uplifting podcast in my library serve to keep me connected to my humanness and also my pursuit to see and be the good in the world.
So, without further ado, I would like to share with you ten of my current favourite self-development podcasts in no particular order (because that would just be too challenging):
1. Super Soul Conversations with Oprah: “Who is Oprah”, said no one! Who doesn’t love this podcast, seriously? Oprah gets better and better with age and with this podcast she seeks to “awaken, discover and connect to the deeper meaning of the world” around us. Her choice of guests and topics just inspire the hell out of me. She hand selects the most influential thought leaders and spiritual luminaries in the world to share “a-ha moments”. Oprah asks “big” spiritual questions of all her guests including “what is the soul”? I like to practice my answers, should I ever receive the call that Oprah wants to interview me. This podcast is guaranteed to light you up and “bring you one step closer to your best self”.
2. Under the Skin with Russell Brand: The Russell Brand I remember was an obnoxious drunk who moved from one volatile destructive relationship with another celebrity to the next. This Russell Brand will explode your brain. I sometimes have to listen to an episode a couple of times in order for the depth of concepts to truly ‘land’. These conversations with Brand’s guests get very intellectual and deep. If I could recommend just one episode to you it’s the one with Dr. Gabor Mate (renowned addiction and childhood trauma specialist) discussing what happens when damaged, traumatised people lead the world and alludes to a certain US president. It’s a fascinating episode and well worth making time for.
3. Magic Lessons with Elizabeth Gilbert: If you haven’t read “Eat, Pray, Love” then you’ve probably watched the movie I’m guessing. Author of “Big Magic” and “Eat, Pray, Love”, Elizabeth Gilbert hosts a brilliant, inspirational podcast where she helps aspiring creatives to overcome their fears, their creative obstacles and empowers them to “create more joyfully”. There is a little magic in every episode for everyone. This podcast really helped me to “show up for myself” as I moved into private practice, which was what my heart was calling me to do.
4. Kind World: This is a gorgeous, uplifting podcast with short 5-10 minute episodes featuring stories that will remind you that the world is a good place (something we need to remind ourselves of when we are in a bad space in our own lives). When I listen to short stories of the kind, selfless and caring acts of complete strangers, then I feel inspired to shine my light and be an active participant in this “Kind World’. A delicious podcast for people who feel they don’t have much time for podcasts!
5. Live Awake: I just need to say; I am SO in love with Sarah Blondin creator of Live Awake. Once when my friend an I were trapped in a 75 minute post Ed Sheeran concert traffic jam with our tween daughters, I put on a couple of episodes of this exquisite guided meditation and everyone (apart from me as I was driving) was lulled into a blissful sleep. Sarah has the voice of an angel. She composes gentle spoke word reflections alongside grounding music and guided meditation in order to bring you back home to yourself. If you struggle to unwind at night with too many thoughts and inner critic dialogue pushing you down, then you need this podcast in your life. Of “Live Awake” Sarah says: “It is a place where one can come to close their eyes and rest a while on their breath, and see all they trouble and toil alongside is truly a gold lined cloud, holding a message of great hope and learning cradled within it”. Ahhhh, divine!
6. Low Tox Life with Alexx Stuart: If you would like to improve your health and wellbeing whilst being ethical and sustainable, then this podcast is for you! Host Alexx Stuart is down-to-earth, warm and just so real. Her podcast rejects the notions of perfection (yay!) and is a relaxed and curious dialogue with guests rather than a “this is the right way to live” approach. I love the way you don’t have to be a complete vegan hippy to get something out of this podcast in order to start feeling more awesome about your health and wellbeing. The topics covered are fascinating and vary from mind happiness to fashion, life coaching, sustainable foods, inflammation to energy healing and modern mystics – this podcast is never dull.
7. All in the Mind ABC RN: I am fascinated with the mind/brain/body relationship and the connections with our behaviours. The therapist in me is drawn to this radio programme podcast as a passive form of continued professional development. Some episodes are highly scientific, some are very personal but all are very interesting. Some very important topics discussed include; The art of empathy, mothering and mental illness, preventing suicide and the mental health of refugees, which is a topic very close to my heart.
8. Where Should We Begin with Esther Perel: I’m new to this podcast and I love it. A friend with great taste recommended it to me. If you’ve ever had a problem with a relationship (and who hasn’t?) then Esther is your go to therapist. Esther is a Belgian psychotherapist who explores the tension between the need for security and the need for freedom in human relationships. She is recognised as one of “the most insightful and original voices on modern relationships”. In her podcast “Where should we begin”, Esther lets us listen in on couples’ real and unscripted consultations – hmmm, a bit voyeuristic I hear you say? It says more about me than it does about you really! Needless to say, this makes for juicy listening especially when couples learn new things about each other during a session! I think this podcast allows us to feel less alone in the world and that we are not the only one out there with relationship issues. Perel is a master in what she does and she inspires me to be a better therapist.
9. The Art of Authenticity with Laura Coe: I know the word “authentic” has become a bit of an annoying buzzword, but it’s what I’m striving for in this world – the quest to be more honest, more vulnerable, and more REAL in my life. The Art of Authenticity is “a real-world guide on navigating a life of meaning and success, despite what life throws at you”. This is also the intention behind my private practice, The Inner Shine Clinic in many ways. Laura interviews many amazing thought leaders, authors, entrepreneurs and CEO’s on what being authentic means to them. Guests speak to their failures as well as their successes and there are subtle lessons for all of us to take into our own lives. Some great episodes include: “Can a single act of compassion make a difference? The answer is yes”, “Are you racing through life without experiencing stillness” and “Are you afraid that you will be Self-Absorbed if you are true to yourself”.
10. The Tapping Solution with Nick Ortner: As an EFT Practitioner I get so much value from this podcast for myself as well as recommending it to my clients. In this podcast Nick covers topics such as Tapping for clearing a traumatic event, Tapping for loss and Grief and many other important issues. In between coming to clinic for 1:1 support, you can tap along with Nick as he guides you through meditations and conversations on relevant issues. The Ortner family are doing great things for spreading the word on how life changing and helpful Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) can be for people wanting to make significant, long lasting changes in their lives.
So there you have it, my top ten podcast picks, for the moment! If you have any suggestions or recommendations for podcasts that have inspired you or supported you through tough times, then please reach out to me at: [email protected]