MY FAVORITE PODCASTS

I am a music person, always have been. I love listening to playlists curated for specific moments, capturing the exact mood in a way words simply can’t. However, over time, I have also come to find the beauty in podcasts. The simplicity of hearing someone else’s voice brings a type of comfort, and can even make you feel less lonely in situations where all you are left with are the thoughts in your own head. Unlike music, the purpose of a podcast is not to drown out the thoughts, but to allow you to lean into them, analyzing the way you think in the stagnant, mundane moments; realizing how this shapes the way you view yourself and the world around you.

Podcasts are like any other form of entertainment. Whether a book, T.V. show, or a podcast, they fall into various categories. If we divide it into the two main ones, we can place almost any podcast into the category of either “brain fuel” or “brain candy”. Essentially, are you just listening or are you listening and learning? Now, there is nothing wrong with either type of podcast. At times, we all need a little brain candy to get us through the day. Personally, though, I actually find myself gravitating towards the “brain fuel” podcasts because when I am just listening, without a visual aid, I am usually looking for something a bit more stimulating. It has taken me a while to find my favorite podcasts, the ones that continue to change my life, but with a lot of experimentation, I have finally compiled a list that I can return to again and again, whether for some fuel or candy.

Today, I thought I would share my list with you. Please bear in mind that these are my favorite podcasts because they cover topics I find interesting and beneficial to my personal growth. Mostly, they focus on areas of life where I feel in need of advice or aid, and this is going to be completely unique for each individual. Nonetheless, if any of these peak your interest, I would highly recommend you check them out. All of these podcasts can be found on a number of streaming platforms including Spotify and Apple Podcasts.

#1: FOR THE DAILY NEWS: UP FIRST, NPR

I guess everyone has (or should have) an avenue through which they get their daily news. In the past, I was always a ‘show’ person; watching daily coverage on some type of news station while I ate breakfast before school. Nowadays, I have started turning to podcasts for my daily dose of worldly happenings… and they are perfect. By listening to a compressed version of important events on my drive to school, I now have my mornings to practice mindfulness, thinking about the day ahead instead of submerging myself in the anxiety and negativity the politics of news reporting often brings. In 10-15 minute episodes, posted every day around 6AM, Up First brings me the most pressing stories of that day ranging from American politics to up-and-coming scientific innovations. Hearing the latest on COVID-19, local elections, and natural disaster updates, I get everything I need from a reliable source while still having the ability to do further research at my own convenience.

#2: FOR THE HISTORY BUFF: STUFF YOU MISSED IN HISTORY CLASS, IHEARTPODCASTS

I actually never considered myself a “history buff”. I can’t name every single US President in order, nor can I recall the dates of each battle in WWII. Still, I would like to say that despite years of having the same events and dates drilled into my head, I can still claim some interest in history — how the world we know became what it is today. That is why I absolutely love Stuff You Missed in History Class. Instead of covering the same tired topics, it comments on things that actually spark my interest outside of the classroom. Whether you love cooking or dancing or sports, Stuff You Missed in History Class dives into the history of any topic you can think of. It almost feels like the history we usually learn is the main play, and this podcast allows you to peek behind the curtain and see all the fascinating minutia that lies behind it.

#3 FOR THE SCIENCE BUFF: SCIENCE VS, GIMLET

Like with Stuff You Missed in History Class, Science Vs appeals to those looking for something beyond textbook information. In short, easy-to-comprehend episodes, Science Vs speaks on various topics. Often debunking common myths, it is perfect for anyone. Since everyone finds some part of science interesting (because everything is scientific in nature), I guarantee you will find an episode of this podcast that catches your ear. Moreover, Science Vs does a great job of keeping up on current events like Monkeypox, Abortion, and even the War on Ukraine. Putting a fact-based, scientific spin on these things helps me to better understand the world around me and work through the mass of misinformation out there.

#4 FOR THOSE LOOKING TO GROW: ON PURPOSE WITH JAY SHETTY, JAY SHETTY

Hosted by a former monk and author, On Purpose is truly the podcast for anyone looking to develop their mindset. What I love about this podcast is although it is hosted by Shetty, his is not the only opinion you are hearing. As he puts it, the purpose of On Purpose is to “make wisdom go viral” — interviewing well-known people and sharing these insightful conversations for us to learn from. From Alicia Keys to Kobe Bryant, Shetty is able to cover a wide range of topics and get expert opinions on each. In recent years, his podcast has become wildly popular and with one listen, you can learn a wealth of information and techniques to implement in your daily life.

#5 FOR THE GYM-GOER: FUN AND GAINS, BRITTANY LUPTON

Britanny Lupton began her career in health and fitness as a media influencer on Instagram, TikTok, and Youtube. To me, this makes her extremely relatable and gives me the opportunity to learn new information about strength training, confidence, and holistic health in an approachable way. Like Shetty, Lupton focuses her episodes on including the stories, opinions, and advice of other fitness influencers such as Libby Christensen and Whitney Simmons. On the other hand, she also has many solo episodes where she talks about her personal routines and things she has learned over time. To me, hearing a normal girl, with a normal life talking about her own health and fitness journey is incredibly inspiring. I enjoy listening to this podcast while I’m working out; it gives me a workout buddy while still letting me focus on my own goals and progress. Lupton’s comments are always focused and bring great perspective to all the ideas about fitness in today’s media.

#6 FOR THE UNDECISIVE: ANYTHING GOES WITH EMMA CHAMBERLAIN, EMMA CHAMBERLAIN

This podcast is so popular, most people have probably already listened to Emma Chamberlain’s hilarious and heartfelt commentary on … well, just about anything. As the name suggests, Anything Goes is a podcast where Chamberlain gives herself complete freedom to speak freely about anything on her mind. Seemingly a public-spoken journal, this podcast is probably the most personable on the list. In it, we see Chamberlain laugh, rant, and even get emotional as she speaks to you directly. It is a podcast that is difficult to describe, one you simply have to experience yourself to understand the greatness in anything.

#7 FOR SCARY STORIES (BECAUSE… HALLOWEEN): SCARE YOU TO SLEEP, SHELBY SCOTT

I was debating what my last category should be. As I mentioned, there is a plethora of podcast genres out there. After much consideration, I finally landed on a good, scary podcast. With it being spooky season, I wanted to provide you with an option that is great for listening to on a brisk fall walk or curled up by the fireplace. Scare You to Sleep is just that. Shelby Scott’s eerie storytelling skill makes each of her episodes more captivating than the last. Although she provides a short synopsis with each episode, the endings are always shocking and satisfying. So, this Halloween season, enjoy the soothing, yet somewhat unnerving, stories of Scare You to Sleep.

There you go — my guide to podcasts. I believe that slowly but surely, I am becoming converted into a podcast addict. The way that I have unlimited access to captivating, everyday conversations brings me both knowledge and reassurance. It may take a few listens, but I feel that there are podcasts out there for everyone, and with their increasing accessibility, they are bound to only grow in popularity.

“I ran out of any type of persona. I just had to be me.” -Emma Chamberlain, Anything Goes

Happy Living

OTHER HONORABLE MENTIONS 🙂 —

  • TED Talks Daily
  • Moments Podcast
  • The Mindset Mentor
  • Mind Pump
  • Private Parts
  • The Pen Pals Podcast
  • On my Mind with Ava Jules
  • Real Girls Radio
  • Maintenance Phase
  • Serial
  • Inside Anna’s Mind

Published by Ria Pai

Hi let me introduce myself. I was born and have lived my entire life in a beach area as a child of two amazing parents who immigrated to America from India. I love art, music and writing so I try to combine the three. I enjoy deep conversations on a number of topics from politics, to friendships, to fashion. I’m a natural perfectionist, but sometimes find this to be a bit overwhelming. I love mangos, dark chocolate and tea. I make art whenever I get the chance…painting, songwriting, dancing, and writing are all forms of art to me. Since I live in a warm area, I cannot stand any weather that is below 60 degrees Fahrenheit and always find a way to swim in anything from pools to the ocean. I have one dog, a Lhasa Apso who I am envious of because he does nothing but eat, sleep, and lay around all day. I experiment with my style. I am horrible at geography and sitting still, and it’s not uncommon to find me with paint all over my hands. I like to wear bold clothing and I always find a way to wear the same white sneakers with any outfit I can. Hi, my name is Ria, nice to meet you.

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