A couple of weeks ago in a Vlog I shared how important walking is to my physical and mental health. When I consciously quit smoking nearly thirty-five years ago, walking was the replacement and ever since I’ve been getting up and walking every morning. I can’t even conceive of how I would have gotten through 2020 without that activity. And yes, having a walking buddy like Kloe my dog to join me is encouraging. But someone asked me how I can walk the exact same route each and every day—isn’t it boring!?! The answer to that is I have been saved by podcasts. In this post I decided it might be good to share some of my favorites with you in case you too would like some free inspiration, new and intriguing conversation ideas, and if you’re a writer a wealth of topics to explore.
Back 33 years ago when I started walking I mainly listened to music on my cassette deck—remember those? Tina Turner, Bruce Springsteen, yeah it was that decade. Then I discovered that I could listen to audio cassettes on different topics that caught my interest. Unfortunately it was relatively expensive and I was thrilled when I found out I could borrow some from the library. Fast forward a good twenty years and I discovered that with my hearing aids I can now stream a virtual avalanche of topics off of my iphone in the form of podcasts. The hardest part is deciding what topic to listen to on any given day.
With so many options I’m a bit picky. While you can find full length books, mysteries, comedies, news, science and just about everything to listen to, I nearly always devote my precious walking time to SMART ideas that capture my interests. If you read my short descriptions I’m guessing you can tell why I follow these great podcasts. While I don’t listen to every episode of every one of them, and occasionally I’ll try new ones, these are the ones I consistently seek out.
Unlocking Us with Brene Brown—If you’ve been reading SMART Living for any length of time you know I’m a big fan. In this podcast Brene does her best to share ideas about how we are all hardwired for connection and that requires courage, vulnerability, and conversation. Each episode is a “conversation with the people who are teaching her, challenging her, confusing her or even ticking her off a little.”
Insights at the Edge with Tami Simon—Tami is the founder and producer of Sounds True which offers transformational programs that “help people live a more genuine, loving and meaningful life.” On her podcasts she interviews those who are doing work on the “growing edge of their inner inquiry and outer contribution to the world.
The Good Life Project with Jonathan Fields—Is a podcast that is “inspirational, intimate and disarmingly-unfiltered conversations about living a fully-engaged, fiercely connected and in a meaning-drenched life.” Jonathan interviews fascinating people from all areas of life and nearly always makes me glad I listen.
Happier with Gretchen Rubin—Author Gretchen Rubin wants all to be happier and gets “more personal than ever as she brings her practical, manageable advice about happiness and good habits to this lively, thought-provoking podcast.”
The Goop with Gwyneth Paltrow—on this podcast Gwyneth and her podcast partner “chat with leading thinkers, culture changers and industry disruptors—from doctors to creatives, to CEOs to spiritual leaders—about shifting old paradigms and starting new conversations.”
On Being with Krista Tippett—Offers “groundbreaking conversations about the big questions of meaning—spiritual inquiry, science, social healing and the arts.”
Magic Lessons with Elizabeth Gilbert The podcast comes from Elizabeth Gilbert following the publishing of her book Magic Lessons. Her intentions is an effort to help a “batch of aspiring artists overcome their fears and create more joyfully.” No new podcasts since 2016 but her channel contains 22 great episodes from the past. Plus I often search her name and find more current interviews of Elizabeth on other podcasts.
Experts on Expert with Dax Shepard—I first started listening to Dax with his podcast “Armchair Expert” which has mostly morphed into Experts on Expert (although both podcasts are still available.) I love many of the interesting “experts” that he interviews where he celebrates “above all, the challenges and setbacks that ultimately lead to growth and betterment.”
The Tim Ferriss Show and Tribe of Mentors hosted by Tim Ferriss—I listen occasionally to Tim Ferriss because his interviews offer an intriguing blend of fascinating people, cutting edge ideas and practical hacks. Not all of them interest me but those with captivating topics nearly always prove to be fascinating.
Being Well with Dr. Rick Hanson and Forrest Hanson—I started listening to this podcast about a year ago after reading a book by Dr. Hanson. Along with his son Forrest, this podcast has a focus on “how we can become happier, build better relationships and get the most out of life.”
Obviously there are thousands of other podcasts available if you look. And again, I don’t listen to every episode in these ten podcasts. Some of them are a little heavier than others with advertising by their “sponsors.” But hey, I realize that the content they are sharing is free to me so I either listen or fast-forward through the commercials.
I also want to do a “shout-out” to a new friend named Mary I met online who is just starting a podcast with her husband Kevin. Their podcast named Growth Minded Marriage is, from what I can tell, a podcast with an emphasis on personal growth, living a rightsized life, and creating a healthy and happy marriage and family. If you want to support someone new to the experience, I invite you to check it out.
Of course I still like to read as much as possible. But let’s face it, reading takes a bit of time and definite attention. On the flip side, because I walk every single day I have approximately 30-40 minutes open to listening to ideas that educate me, ignite my imagination, and help me grow. What a gift! So even if you aren’t a walker but instead have a time in your life (commuting to work, driving any distance, cycling, running, exercising, etc.) where you can listen easily, I invite you to give it a try.
When I take the time to think about it, my world is filled with so many great things that bring me joy, educate me, encourage me and provide meaning and purpose. And yes, I think it is the same for most of us as well. Surely the SMART perspective is one where we share what works for each of us and offer it freely to one another. After all, we are all in this together.