Whether you want to learn how to manage your moods or understand human behaviours, these podcasts will deepen your understanding of the psychological forces that shape our lives and experiences. Dive in.
One of the best NPR podcasts among a host of excellent NPR podcasts, Invisibilia, initially hosted by Alix Spiegel and Hanna Rosin and now by former producers Yowei Shaw and Kia Miakka Natisse, is one of those shows that you find yourself getting lost in. Using first-person accounts of real people who have experienced something extraordinary or transforming, the podcast hosts talk about “unseeable forces that control human behavior and shape our ideas, beliefs, and assumptions”. With compelling narrative storytelling married to solid science, Invisibilia tackles themes like grief, loss, fear, love, and although it is not strictly a mental health podcast in the sense of telling you how you can improve your life, it does shine light on many areas of our thoughts and emotional landscape that might puzzle us.
Must-listen episode: The Secret History of Thoughts, The End of Empathy
The Hardcore Self-Help Podcast with Duff the Psych
Dr Robert Duff is a psychologist from Southern California who thinks that the field of mental health has a big problem: It is scary and intimidating. “Why? When you are already struggling with emotional difficulties, the last thing that you need is some huge psychobabble manual thrown at you. My specialty is taking complex psychological issues and breaking them down into plain language,” says Duff on his podcast. Released every Thursday morning, on this podcast you will find information about everything from how to deal with anxiety and depression, to relationships, addiction, and life in general. The best thing about the podcast is how open and vulnerable Duff is, himself. For instance, in the episode about imposter syndrome, he starts by talking about how he is going through a tough time himself in terms of mental health and lays open his own fears and insecurities before talking about helping others. Give it a listen.
Must-listen episode: All About Imposter Syndrome
Decoding Our Emotions
We experience powerful emotions all of the time, but what are they? Where do they come from? In this short series of talks, part of NPR’s TED Radio Hour programme, TED speakers invoke history, language, science and music to help us think about the way we feel. Hosted by journalist and podcaster Manoush Zomorodi, the speakers on this show have included American conductor Michael Tilson Thomas, who talks about why music is so good at conveying emotion; neuroscientist Lisa Feldman Barrett, who talks about empathy and if we can really tell what others are feeling; and linguist John Koenig, whose project The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows aims to put a name to nameless, fleeting emotions.
Must-listen episode: What if There Were a Word for Every Emotion in the World?
The Savvy Psychologist: Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Mental Health
Jade Wu is the ‘Savvy Psychologist’ who helps listeners “meet life’s challenges with evidence-based research, a sympathetic ear, and zero judgment”. In her podcast, Wu tackles instantly relatable subjects like ‘how to prevent compassion fatigue’, ‘how to find the right therapist for you’, ‘how to let go of resentment’ and ‘how to deal with entitled people’. Wu, a sleep psychologist and researcher at Duke University School of Medicine, has a fun, solution-oriented, DIY approach to solving specific issues that we all face, even if we don’t have diagnosable mental health issues.
Must-listen episode: Why negative emotions aren’t all bad
Mental Illness Happy Hour With Paul Gilmartin
The Mental Illness Happy Hour is a weekly podcast, during which American comic and television personality Paul Gilmartin interviews comedians, artists, friends, and the occasional doctor, each episode exploring mental illness, trauma, addiction and negative thinking through the experiences of (mostly) professionals from different spheres of life. For instance, actor Catie Osborne opens up about living with ADHD and depression, comedian Nikki Glasser talks about battling anorexia as a teenager, actor Jameela Jamil talks about society’s influence on self-image, and psychologist and writer Dr. Jill Stoddard talks about different types of anxiety and how to recognize and unpack your triggers.
Must-listen episode: What A Body Remembers with Karen Stefano
All podcasts are available on most podcast platforms like Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher and Spotify