I think most of us would agree that an ideal world would be a stress-free world, but in reality, that doesn't always happen. Between work, school, and personal obligations, life can get pretty darn stressful and overwhelming. You might be wondering: What are the best podcasts to listen to when you're feeling stressed? For a lot of people, music is a quick choice when you're feeling a burst of anxiety; for others, silence is the key to gathering your thoughts and calming your heart rate; and for others, podcasts might fit the bill.
Personally, I use both music and silence as methods to calm myself depending on my mood, but I've recently begun to enjoy podcasts as a way to destress, as well. There is a huge variety of podcasts out there, ranging from ones created by licensed medical health professionals to ones that are made from people who also suffer from mental illness.
Depending on your stress level, you might want to turn on a podcast that helps you unwind and leave the past in the past, or you might need a podcast that's more guided and focused toward healthy coping mechanisms. With a little bit of digging, it's totally possible to find a podcast to fit your specific need, and tuning in can be as subtle and quick as plugging in your headphones. I suggest checking out the following six podcasts, depending on your stress level and your needs, as a new method for coping with life's stressors:
1. Imperfect Relations From Modern Love
Do you need to tune out your own world for a while and focus on someone else's problems? Check out The New York Times' Modern Love column. No, seriously: In their Sunday issue, the Times publishes a gorgeous essay related to love in any form. If you haven't read them previously, get ready, because they can be really emotional and intense. If you don't have time to read at your desk, or you're just looking for some background noise while you close your eyes, you can now listen to the Modern Love podcast right at your desk. Sometimes nothing relieves stress better than listening to other people's problems — and how they worked them out, to boot.
Ah, yes. Serial. If you haven't already listened to the podcast that took the country by storm, I suggest tuning into Serial next time you need to get immersed in someone else's drama. Without revealing too much, both of Serial's seasons cover true stories and illuminate many complexities of human nature and the criminal justice system. If you've already listened to Serial and crave similar podcasts, there are tons of podcasts about murder mysteries you can plug into, too!
If you're feeling stressed and want something more specific to stress-relief, meditation is always a good move. For example, the podcast Managing Stress from Johnson and Bartlett offers guided meditation aimed towards stress management and healthy coping mechanisms. This self-help podcast is connected to a book you can purchase to learn more about stress management, but the podcast itself is free.
The Tapping Solutions podcast focuses on the way stress impacts your body, and highlights the importance of stress relief and stress management for both your physical and mental health. The Tapping Solutions has an enormous list of individual episodes, so if you know what area of your stress you want to target, this podcast is definitely a good place to begin.
Want to unwind with a glass of wine and listen to experts talk about wine without the stereotypical snobbery attached? Definitely give Wine For Normal People a listen! It's an educational podcast that talks you through the basics of wine in terms of taste, history, cooking versus drinking, and so forth. If you're feeling stressed, sometimes nothing is better than sitting back and relaxing with a glass of wine, so if that's your style, why not focus your brain on the history of your favorite wine? That makes it educational, right?
When I'm feeling stressed, nothing relaxes me more than hearing about how other people overcome their obstacles. Sometimes I seek out people who I know have faced similar battles to what I'm working through at the time, but other times I just need to hear from people that they faced some stressful stuff and made it through in one piece. If you want a soothing, but funny and encouraging, story, definitely tune into Gretchen Rubin. She shares the specific details of how she makes her life work, and while your life (probably) isn't exactly like hers, it's actually really refreshing and soothing to remind yourself that no matter your method, you can make it all work out OK eventually.