Watch

The wisdom of others: Podcasts for existential blues

Amrita V Nair | Updated on July 05, 2019 Published on July 05, 2019

Thriving against the odds: The one sector that has thrived under the patronage of millennials is the self-improvement industry   -  ISTOCK.COM

If you’re feeling low or confused about circumstances, try listening to these podcasts on self-improvement and about living life like it matters

Millennials have been accused of bumping off a plethora of industries ranging from cable television to golf. The one sector that has thrived under them is the self-improvement industry. If the French psychologist Émile Coué were alive today, he would have been delighted by the millennial’s wholehearted efforts to live up to his famous mantra, “Every day, in every way, I’m getting better and better.” However, as is my hapless generation’s lot, our efforts at self-improvement are also disparaged. To be honest, I have never quite understood the derision this quest for self-improvement seems to attract. Life, as the cliché goes, is complicated. There are experts out there who have devoted time and resources to demystify and uncomplicate it. So, it makes sense to listen to their expertise and experiences to deal with issues that you are struggling with. And you can do just that with these podcasts that provide specific and practical advice on various issues.

The One You Feed

The premise of the podcast, reflected in its name, and derived from a popular parable, is that there are two wolves in conflict within us: A good wolf and a bad wolf. The one you feed is the one that wins and directs your life. The aim of the podcast is to help listeners reorient their internal conversations to feed the good wolf.

Hosted by author and behaviour coach Eric Zimmer, The One You Feed features weekly conversations with experts from many different fields of study including psychology, spirituality, and health. These conversations are full of actionable advice derived from their own lives and/or research. The show contends with difficult topics including mental illness and addiction, and there are numerous testimonials online from listeners who found hope and strength through the podcast. Listen at www.oneyoufeed.net/.

Ask a Manager

Drawing on her experience as a manager in the non-profit sector, Alison Green started helping people with their work woes through the Ask a Manager blog way back in 2007. She has since become a popular work advice columnist online and answered thousands of questions from people all over the world. The podcast, created in partnership with the website HowStuffWorks, ran from February 2018 to March 2019. In each episode, listeners call in with their work-related questions and Green answers them. Green’s advice is always pragmatic and empathetic. She also provides fantastic sample scripts and guidance on finding the right tone in difficult conversations at work. Listen at www.askamanager.org/category/podcast.

Awesome Etiquette

In 1922, Emily Post published Etiquette in Society, in Business, in Politics, and at Home — arguably the most influential book ever written on good etiquette. Today, her great-great-grandchildren run the Emily Post Institute she founded in 1946.

The aim of the institute is to provide guidance on manners and etiquette in the modern world. Awesome Etiquette is a flagship production of the institute where Lizzie Post and Daniel Post Senning answer questions on etiquette dilemmas and discuss emerging issues related to the role of good manners in a changing world.

While many of us think of rules of etiquette as stuffy and outdated, the hosts’ reframing of politeness as an extension of kindness to others is something that would resonate with everyone.

Rather than focussing on strict antiquated rules, they base their advice on consideration, respect and honesty — the stated values of the podcast. Listen at emilypost.com/awesome-etiquette-podcast/.

Ask a Clean Person

Hosted by The New York Times’ advice columnist on cleaning, Jolie Kerr, Ask a Clean Person is a 45-minute weekly podcast, where Kerr dispenses advice on the awkward home or personal maintenance questions that you do not know whom to ask. In each episode, Kerr is joined in conversation by other writers or columnists. Besides advice on cleaning specific items such as handbags or refrigerators, Kerr and her guests also provide great tips on making cleaning seem like less of a chore. While the topic may not seem like a big draw to the uninitiated, the jauntiness and humour that catapulted Kerr’s advice column to success also shine through in the podcast. Listeners attest to the practicality of her cleaning tips and the podcast is especially helpful for those who are managing a home for the first time . Listen at play.acast.com/s/askacleanperson.

Dear Sugar

Dear Sugar began as an advice column in the online literary magazine The Rumpus. From 2014 to 2018, the titular ‘Sugars’, Cheryl Strayed and Steve Almond, hosted the Dear Sugar podcast where they responded to emails and letters from listeners on heart-wrenching problems and complex issues. Offering what they describe as “radical empathy”, Strayed and Almond help listeners unravel incredibly difficult personal conundrums. Not ones to shy away from difficult or sensitive topics, the hosts provide advice and compassion to listeners who are at some of the most difficult points in their lives. Issues addressed include physical and emotional abuse in relationships, body image and divorce. Listen at www.npr.org/podcast/469249288/dear-sugar-radio.

Amrita V Nair is a freelance writer, public policy specialist and podcast enthusiast

Published on July 05, 2019
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor