My name is Abby and I’m a podcast addict. If I’m not sleeping, working, or with my family—and sometimes, gulp, even when I am—I have a podcast playing in the background. Moving to L.A. and becoming a mother has only intensified the addiction; what else would I do with all those endless hours on the freeway? Or while I hike? Or while I shop for and cook yet another dinner? My obsession runs the gamut—from listening to the news to literary conversations to good old fashioned advice—but I also love any and all podcasts related to living a healthy life. Here are a few favorites:
Not a podcast, but a whole app! Learn to meditate wherever you are, any time of the day or night. Host Andy Puddicombe has the most soothing, reassuring voice, and once you’ve completed the initial 30 days of basic mindfulness meditation, there are dozens of programs to choose from including meditations on self-esteem, productivity, and calming down. Note that you can try Headspace for free, but will have to pay for a monthly or yearly subscription once the trial’s ended.
Renowned meditation teacher Sharon Salzberg’s podcast isn’t a how-to. Instead, it is a platform for thoughtful conversations with today’s leading Buddhist and mindfulness meditation practitioners. My favorite episode: this conversation with writer and senior Buddhist teacher Ethan Nichtern.
Who doesn’t need a little more Oprah in her life? The entire premise of this show is to live a more inspired, connected existence. Although the conversations are rarely about, say, eating more vegetables (although sometimes they are!), they always tackle some aspect of leading a more meaningful, whole, healthy life. Oprah interviews everyone from Buddhist nun Pema Chodron to President Jimmy Carter to Brené Brown.
Meet the queen of happiness hacks! Gretchen Rubin is obsessed with living a happier, healthier life. Every week she and her sister Elizabeth Craft explore how to do so, making suggestions from fitting in daily exercise to steering clear of the cookie tray at work. You can also crack open Rubin’s latest book, The Four Tendencies, in which she analyzes four different personality types and examines what helps each of us stick to our habits.
Hosted by yoga teacher Andrea Ferreti, each pod features an interview with a different giant from the yoga world and covers many aspects of the practice including poses (of course!), body image, positive thinking, and self-acceptance. Ferreti has a super sweet, relatable persona that makes for easy listening.
Who doesn’t love a good TED Talk? This series features all the best talks on health, covering topics including the benefits of sleep, how to cope with depression, the secrets to living a longer life, and even…quinoa.
Are you a meditation skeptic? So was Dan Harris when he had an anxiety attack on air. This embarrassing moment prompted him to deal with his anxiety through meditation. The journalist interviews a different guest every week, and their interests and backgrounds represent a wide range—from Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche’s worldwide network of meditation centers to Moby’s music and activism. Harris’ smart, no-nonsense style can make even the most cynical person curious about the benefits of sitting down on the cushion.
8. Bite by Mother Jones
Did you read Eating Animals? Or The Omnivore’s Dilemma? If yes, this lovely podcast, hosted by Mother Jones editors and food and farming blogger Tom Philpott and billed as being for people who “think hard about their food,” is for you. During each interview, we learn about a different aspect of food production. Recent episodes have covered raw water, Brussels sprouts, and how you are what you eat. This is a wonderfully entertaining and informative listen.