Podcasts are one of the most accessible and effective technological tools to help us nurture connection in our busy daily lives. These free, easy-to-access audio recordings can help us learn, laugh, feel, empathize, and motivate – some of our favorite connection-promoting activities!
The podcast format makes engaging in these activities easier because shows are free, take up no physical space, and can be accessed almost anytime and anywhere we like, thanks to hands-free connections and headphones. We can listen as we’re driving, walking, riding the bus, exercising, cooking, cleaning, or doing our least favorite solo tasks. A good podcast can often make the difference between doing the task and not doing the task – and often transforms the “chore” into a delightful, savored part of our day we don’t want to miss.
In addition, there is an unbelievable variety of educational, entertaining, emotive, and encouraging podcast material out there, with more coming online every day from every corner of the world. Whether you want to work on your management skills, listen to French radio about cooking, dive deep into obscure historical events, or get tips for your daily workouts, there is a podcast for every taste and interest.
Some Specific Suggestions for Great Podcasts
Interested in expanding your creativity? Try listening to one of the many shows that interview successful professional creatives, like Design Matters with Debbie Millman…or one that shares tips of your favorite craft. A simple internet search for podcasts about your topic will yield plenty of “best of” lists for you to start with. Once you find one you like, it will be even easier to find others as they often cross-promote one another – podcasters have beautifully embraced the concept of abundance! As will you, sharing in the warmth of all this free, shared knowledge and encouragement.
If you’re struggling with a romantic relationship, you may find great insights in the amazing Where Shall We Begin? with Esther Perel. Perel is a preeminent couples counselor who started a podcast that literally listens in on her sessions with a variety of different couples (with their consent, of course, and without using any identifying information). The raw, vulnerable intimacy of these couples, and Perel’s masterful guidance may help you process experiences of your own through greater empathy and mindfulness of your (or your partner’s) romantic situation.
Podcasts can also be very helpful at supporting meditation or spiritual practice. There are dozens of free guided meditations available from leaders like Tara Brach, and even podcast-formatted talks by the Dalai Lama himself. If you want to explore a variety of spiritual traditions, check out Interfaith Radio‘s podcast, which was launched three days after 9/11 by a feisty nun looking to promote greater understanding across differences.
A Note of Caution, However
The easy availability and endless variety of podcasts that make them such useful connection tools also make them very tempting for procrastination and numbing. Be mindful of when and how often you’re listening to them, and ensure they’re not blocking connection in the world you are actually inhabiting.
Like most activities involving cell phones, podcasts are generally best listened to when you’re not in the company of your loved ones…unless they’re listening with you. And if you find yourself binge-listening to a new favorite show through more than one or two different activities, you should probably hit pause and reconnect to your priorities for that day.
When used mindfully and for purposes that are meaningful to you, podcasts can bring immense richness of culture, learning, and joy. They are one of the best examples of how technology can help promote connection, rather than disrupting it.