The 8 Best Podcasts for Your Self Development and Mental Health Journey
In the journey toward self-actualization, I’ve learned that it’s absolutely essential to get out of your own head.
Experiencing other realities, points of view, and perspectives helps you step outside of your comfort zone and look at things differently.
Not everyone can travel to a foreign country to experience other ways of living or take the latest college courses in sociology, psychology, and philosophy.
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One simple way to open your mind and learn to think differently is through podcasts.
Something that makes podcasts great is they’re so accessible: they’re mostly free, you can find just about any perspective, and they’re often presented in a way that feels more like a conversation with a friend than a lecture.
The shows below are some of the top podcasts out there for mental health support, self-development tips, and inspiration to generally be a good human.
Therapists in the Wild
Therapists in the Wild is hosted by two friends and colleagues, Dr. Molly St. Denis and Dr. Liza Pincus, two millennial psychotherapists who started the podcast in response to COVID-19 to provide accessible, down-to-earth information about dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT).
Similar to but distinct from cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), DBT involves learning skills to navigate life, and Dr. Molly and Dr. Liza provide a roadmap for using it to increase mindfulness, emotional regulation, and distress tolerance, as well as improve communication in relationships.
At the same time, they relate the theories and practices back to their own experiences for an accessible, down-to-earth approach.
On Purpose with Jay Shetty
Jay Shetty’s stated purpose for making a podcast is to “make wisdom go viral.” To that end, he interviews some of the most insightful and inspirational people in the world on topics from finding love to making a difference.
As a “purpose” coach, Jay became inspired to help others find direction in their lives after years living as a monk and later working in an unsatisfying corporate environment. He shares his experiences and invites his guests to do the same.
He’s interviewed Jane Goodall, Tony Robbins, Alicia Keys, Kobe Bryant, and Kloe Kardashian, just to name a few. If you want to get inspired, this podcast is for you.
The Black Girl Bravado
Black Girl Bravado is a timely podcast aimed at encouraging and motivating women of color through heartfelt, funny, and sometimes downright moving dialogues.
Hosts Germani Manning and Brittany Lackey are real life best friends with great chemistry, and they tackle everything from self-care and relaxation to health and wellness to entrepreneurship and spirituality.
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Recent episodes include coping with racial trauma and destigmatizing mental health to cultivating healthy relationships and maintaining deep friendships.
Manning and Lackey bring a fresh, personal perspective to the topics they cover, drawing in listeners with their authenticity, warmth, and no-nonsense approach.
The Happiness Lab
The Happiness Lab features Yale professor Dr. Laurie Santos as she unpacks the latest scientific research about how to be happy.
The show draws from the life-changing curriculum of Santos’ “Psychology and the Good Life” class at Yale, covering topics from “How to Kick Bad Habits” to “How to Be a Better Ally.”
The podcast includes a “Happiness Lessons of The Ancients” series that includes the insights of the Buddha, Confucious, the Stoics, the Torah, and more.
Storyteller and researcher Brené Brown has spent her life studying vulnerability, shame, and empathy, and the Unlocking Us podcast is a testament her work. In it, Brown invites conversation about the “deeply human” to inspire listeners to live, love, and lead with more courage and heart.
Brown emphasizes that courage comes from walking through vulnerability and encourages listeners to “embrace the suck,” i.e. the discomfort of growth, to become more of who they are.
She interviews authors like Susan Cain, NHL linebacker Emmanuel Acho, and animator/director of Turning Red fame, Domee Shi. Each conversation is heartfelt and engaging, inviting the listener into the human experiences of both Brown and her guests.
You’ll finish each episode with an open mind and a full heart.
Good Life Project
The Good Life Project asks, “What does it mean to live a good life?” and leaves no stone unturned in finding the answer.
The project itself consists of media, education, and community to spread the message of living a good life on a global scale. They also offer international retreats, strategy sessions, masterminds, and even an adult summer camp.
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Episode topics include “How to Turn Passion and Play Into Impact and Success” and “How to Activate Your ‘Ease’ Button,” and run the gamut from business inspiration to coping with anxiety.
Guests include greats like Elizabeth Gilbert, Tim Ferriss, Austin Channing Brown, and Tony Robbins.
The Minority Trailblazer
The Minority Trailblazer offers expertise from a wide range of guests, from entrepreneurs and business moguls to actors and artists. Topics covered include travel, fashion, real estate, social justice, tech, and digital media.
Host Greg Hill went from fortune 500 financial analyst to motivational speaker and author, traveling the country speaking to adults and children alike.
He interviews experts like non-profit leaders, wellness professionals, comedians, and more, inviting them to share their stories of success, failure, and turning failure into success.
Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday
A list of inspiring podcasts wouldn’t be complete without mention of Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday. This powerful, uplifting podcast is meant to help listeners “awaken, discover, and connect to the deeper meaning of the world.”
As usual, Oprah delivers. The show features interviews with guests such as Buddhist nun Pema Chödrön, author and speaker Byron Katie, doctor and humanitarian Deepak Chopra, and former first lady Michelle Obama.
Topics include the spiritual purpose of relationships, healing through kindness, embracing mess, and manifesting your dream life.
Open Mind, Open heart
If you want to get inspired on the journey of life, podcasts are one of the most accessible ways to do so.
Whether you’re on your morning run or your evening commute, all you need is your phone and the willingness to open your mind to a new perspective.
Podcasts are a powerful way to reprogram the mind toward positivity, resilience, and motivation, but they offer even more than that: they’re a way to see through the eyes of another and open yourself to a whole new perspective.
Changing your mind is only a few degrees away from opening your heart, and in a world where listening can often be a lost art, that’s a powerful thing to do.
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