There are so many podcasts out there, how can we cut through the noise and get to the good stuff? Each week, I'll be covering all things podcasts and celebrating audio that makes us all feel that little bit more connected to incredible stories and conversations.
And the concept of "connection" is a funny old thing in 2020, isn't it? In so many ways, we should be more connected than ever - whether we're engaging via endless zoom calls everyday, whatsapp messages or scrolling through social media. The reality is that this doesn't always equate the kind of meaningful connection that fills you up or expands your mind to new ways of thinking. It was World Mental Health Day a few weeks ago, and it prompted me to reminisce on the podcasts that have made me feel a little less alone in my most uncertain moments this year (and there have been many, many wobbles over the past few months) and a little more courageous in being able to admit this.
This new mental health and wellbeing podcast series launched last week and went straight to number 10 on the Apple Health charts. Is it any wonder with the first guest being the national treasure that is Stephen Fry? In this episode, Stephen shares his experience of living with Bipolar, and how this developed along the course of his life. He said: "Some of the most remarkable, fulfilled, and inspiring people who have ever lived have had a mental illness." I find this idea pretty comforting.
Who better to teach us how to find calm in chaos than a Buddhist nun who channels mindfulness and compassion as her life’s mission? One of the most recent episodes welcomes Emma Slade, a former financial analyst who's world perspective was transformed when she was held at gunpoint in Jakarta whilst on a business trip, which prompted her to re-evaluate her life and become a Buddhist nun. The host Roann Ghosh launched the podcast during the pandemic to encourage new ways of thinking and living. And if the events of 2020 aren’t making you think about throwing out the rule book and reconsider what’s really important in your life, I don’t know what will.
Mo Gawdat (former Chief Business Officer for Google X) is on a mission to bring happiness to people all around the world via his #onebillionhappy campaign, as a tribute to his son who tragically passed away. Mo's podcast Slo Mo is a massive part of this mission - as Mo explores the profound obstacles we all face in the pursuit of happiness and purpose in our lives. Guest insights I loved in particular include British-Swiss philosopher Alain de Botton, Dr Edith Eger, Buddhist monk Haemin Sunim and Arun Gandhi, the fifth grandson of India's legendary leader, Mohandas K. “Mahatma” Gandhi. What ties every episode together is the incredible bravery in each conversation which, I believe, is a result of Mo’s gentle and open interviewing style.
The conversation around loss feels more relevant than ever, and death still remains a taboo in today’s society. Griefcast is an important, award-winning podcast that navigates this very subject, examining the human experience of grief, expertly facilitated by host Cariad Lloyd. The latest episode marks Baby Loss Awareness Week with an incredibly moving episode with Sarah Brown about her baby daughter. Sarah says on the podcast about experiencing her loss “my instincts were to try and be the same person I was before. I don’t know what made the penny drop but, at some point, I realised I didn’t ever need to be the same person again. And it was like a weight was lifted”.
If you’re a fellow podcast addict, I’d love to hear you. Share your favourite podcasts by emailing [email protected].