There are so many things going on each day and we get so caught up with everything that life throws our way that it is hard to live mindfully and feel at peace. Concerns about our relationships, careers, responsibilities, current news affairs and the future are constantly hovering in our minds. These thoughts can put us in a constant state of worry and sometimes leads to distress, anxiety and/or depression. Mindfulness can be an antidote to the constant busyness and high stress of our modern lives.
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the conscious act of focusing our minds on the present, enabling us to remove any judgment and attachments we might have regarding a situation. It is an integrative approach to help us manage our thoughts and feelings as well as the negative perceptions we might have regarding ourselves, other people and the world around us.
Simply put, mindfulness is about living in the moment and not letting the future steal the present. This moment that we have now will never come again. I know we’ve all heard this mantra again and again but in reality, it is easier said than done. Our minds are in a perpetual state of thinking thoughts, many of which we seem to have little control over which is why learning how to be present and aware of the ‘now’ can help us become aware of these thoughts, ease our negative emotions and strip away some of life’s complexities to help us live a more conscious life.
Why be mindful?
There are so many benefits to practicing mindfulness. It empowers us to regulate our own thoughts and emotions. It helps us become more focused and less agitated. It can also lead to improved relationships because one is able to respond better and communicate emotions more effectively, thereby minimising ongoing conflict. Mindfulness can also reduce feelings of stress, anxiety and depression and improves our overall well-being.
How to be mindful?
There are different ways to be more mindful. Breathing exercises, yoga and meditation are all effective ways to cultivate mindfulness.
And if you don’t have time to physically attend a mindfulness or meditation class or are on a strict budget, there are a growing number of podcasts devoted to the subject of mindfulness that can help you live a more mindful and stress-free life without costing you a cent.
Here are 10 mindfulness podcasts we recommend you tune into:
1. Mindfulness for Beginners
If you’re just starting your mindfulness journey, this is the podcast for you. Get to know the basics of self-awareness practice and how it will lead you to be a calmer and happier version of yourself. The first episode titled “Introduction to Mindfulness: Reducing Stress and Living a Happier Life” will help guide you on how to be fully present in the moment.
2. Mindfulness in 8 Weeks
This podcast is the accompaniment to Michael Chaskalson’s book bearing the same title. There are eight episodes of short and sweet meditations with Michael’s soothing voice in the background to help you relax your body, mind, and soul. You can easily follow these mindfulness exercises at home.
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3. The Happiness Lab
If you’re ready to feel better and enjoy life, you can’t go past this podcast. The Happiness Lab is hosted by Yale professor Dr Laurie Santos who shares the latest science behind finding true happiness. (Hint: You can’t find happiness in what the media tell you but you will find true joy within yourself.) Take it from someone who teaches one of the most popular courses in Yale’s history, Psychology and the Good Life. The podcast features episodes that talk about history, culture, personal rituals, forgiveness, kindness, helping others, sleeping and rest, and many more. Dr Santos inspires us to find joy in our everyday lives – and shares convincing scientific research that shows it’s possible and doable.
4. Secular Buddhism
They say mindfulness traces its roots from the ancient Indian philosophy of Buddhism. An important part of Buddhist teaching is to overcome suffering through becoming aware of the causes and sources of suffering without ego and judgement. Secular Buddhism isn’t about converting listeners to become Buddhists but rather how to use the teachings to become more mindful and become better versions of ourselves. According to podcast host and author Noah Rasheta, this step is crucial if we are to make this world a better place to live in.
5. The Mindful Kind
Hosted by Australia-based Rachael Kable, The Mindful Kind is one of the top-rated mindfulness podcasts that everybody should subscribe to. With hundreds of short and succinct episodes to listen to, you can very well be on your way to a stress-free life and see great improvement in your well-being and mental health. As one listener puts it, “Rachael helps me approach each day in the office with a more positive attitude and with the skills to be proactive and mindful in difficult situations.” Be prepared to kiss your stresses and anxieties goodbye when you listen to this podcast.
6. Mindfulness Mode
Hosted by Bruce Langford, this podcast features inspiring interviews from people who have taken journeys to self-awareness. They have come from all walks of life so this is definitely a “treasure trove of good information” and a “mindfulness goldmine” as some listeners attest to. This show is oozing with positivity with the end goal of helping listeners live happier lives through the practice of mindfulness. And the best part is that as of this writing, there are almost 700 episodes with thought-provoking and practical content so you can go on a mindfulness binge whenever you’re ready.
7. On Being with Krista Tippett
This is another popular podcast among listeners simply because Krista Tippett is a great host who knows how to ask the right questions and turn conversations into moments of discovery. No wonder it has received the Peabody Award. Tippett is a guru on spirituality and offers nuggets of wisdom in every show to help us understand our humanity and purpose in the grand scheme of things.
8. Practicing Human
This is a daily podcast that won’t take up too much of your time. Each episode runs for about 10 minutes, just enough for you to be reminded every day to live a fulfilling life. Hosted by Cory Muscara, this podcast will challenge your perspectives and expand your understanding of yourself and the world around you. By practicing mindfulness and positive psychology, you will discover that there’s so much more you can do and so much goodness around you. Go ahead and listen to unleash your fullest potential.
9. Technology for Mindfulness
There is no doubt that many people in the modern world have become slaves to technology. This podcast will help us use technology to bring out the best in us. In almost 100 episodes, host Robert Plotkin gives us tips and strategies in navigating the digital age. You will learn how to practice mindfulness in the workplace to reach the highest level of productivity and realise your full potential.
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If you’re still having doubts about whether meditation and mindfulness will work for you, this podcast will help enlighten you and gives you the confidence that it will. Hosts Patricia Karpas and Ariel Garten interview mindfulness experts weekly to help you see the usefulness and benefits of mindfulness practice. You will find yourself with a heightened sense of self-awareness and be amazed at how it can change your life.
Bringing humanity back
What this all boils down to is to bring us back to our humanity so that we can be more conscious in making better decisions especially where other people and our planet are concerned. It is about conquering ourselves – our thoughts, emotions, feelings, judgements, ego – so we can become the best that we can be and in turn, we can bring more of our humanity to the table, and our positive thoughts and actions, when building a better, more just, more sustainable world.
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Cover image by Georgia de Lotz.