5 Podcasts That Changed the Way My Brain Works

Fun fact about me: I listen to a lot of podcasts. And I’m ashamed to say that I never took advantage of the pure gold mine that is the Apple Podcasts app up until a few years ago.

Most of the people close to me don’t know that I spend many of my lunch hours, rain or shine, sitting in my car in a parking lot down the street from work listening to something. And, for the record, the rainy days are my favorite. Just sayin’.

Why am I sitting alone in a car instead of mingling with friends at work? The answer is simple: My job is mentally demanding on so many levels. When you’re expected to write about things all day, every day, you really can’t afford to have writer’s block. So I often find myself needing a break from the thoughts and the words. Instead, I thoroughly enjoy filling my car with smart ideas from interesting people who are doing cool things. I find that listening to other people’s stories makes me more in-tune with my own stories. It helps me find the inspiration to write and set realistic goals for what kind of storyteller I want to be.

Here are my five favorites and why I love them so much.

1. Your Favorite Thing Podcast with Wells & Brandi

This podcast is one of my favorite things! *DING* Perfect for when things are stressful and you need a break, Wells Adams and Brandi Cyrus (yep, Miley’s sister!) are fun and down-to-earth. Wells is a Nashville radio host and Brandi is a traveling DJ, and together they are intriguing and completely hysterical.

Why It Made My List: The whole idea of the pod is to talk about their favorite things (and sometimes their not-so-favorite things). From music to movies to things happening in the news, Wells and Brandi are honest and authentic. As a listener, their show makes me want to explore all of the things I genuinely enjoy and not be ashamed of anything. (Also, Wells is a #BachelorNation alum so you can bet I was a huge fan of his before this pod existed.)

 

2. Armchair Expert 

Another fun fact about me: I am OBSESSED with Kristen Bell (like, really, I want to be her). When I saw on Instagram that not only was Dax Shepard starting a pod but Kristen Bell was going to be his first guest, I immediately knew I needed to get on board. After listening to Kristen’s episode (and feeling so inspired by how incredibly amazing she is), I continued to listen to Dax, who took me by surprise. Insanely honest and open, Dax is more than Kristen’s husband; He’s ridiculously smart, intuitive, and well-rounded. On the pod, he shares the mic with real experts and public figures, each of whom has an amazing story to share.

Why It Made My List: Listening to Dax has made me a genuine fan of his. I watched Parenthood when it was on and I loved him, but I never took him for the smart-guy type. (Sorry, Dax!) I am so happy to say that I was dead wrong. This man is smart, witty, and incredibly in-tune with the world. This pod, which never fails to interest me and take up all of my free time, creates a safe space for thought and authenticity. The people he interviews, from Ellen DeGeneres to child psychologist Dr. Wendy Mogel, are real, with real stories and perspectives on the world. Also, his co-host Monica fact-checks him at the end of every episode which is refreshing in the current state of the world.

3. Lore

Lore is one of the first pods I listened to continuously, and it really sparked my regular listening habit. I can’t remember how I even came across it. One day, I just listened to the first episode and it was about Mercy Brown (Google her). Being a lifelong Rhode Islander, I was immediately captivated by the local tale I knew so well and needed to hear more. Lore, unlike the other pods I love, is about the truth behind our favorite folklore tales. Written and told by Aaron Mahnke (a mastermind, by the way!), Lore is incredibly engaging, interesting, and downright freaky. Another fun fact: I love creepy things.

Why It Made My List: Lore makes me want to be a better storyteller. Aside from being a successful podcaster (Lore has since been turned into an Amazon show), Aaron is an author of horror novels based on history. His novels are chilling and so, so good. I want to write the way he does, and I admire the work ethic it takes to research and write such terrifying stories so effortlessly.

4. Houston, We Have a Podcast 

When people find out I listen to this pod, which is about NASA and the international space station, it always blows them away. I’m the first to admit that I’ve never really been a cosmo-loving space cadet. Actually, I’m terrified of space. But this pod, which was suggested to me by my boss, is so cool. With episodes on what it takes to become an astronaut, how ISS inhabitants work out in zero-g conditions, and what is on the horizon for “deep space” missions, this podcast is the coolest.

Why It Made My List: Literally, this podcast is out of this world. It’s interesting and different and puts a lot of things into perspective. The possibilities for stories are endless, and when I find myself stuck in a place of procrastination or am lacking inspiration, I just jet off into the universe with NASA. That usually solves the problem.

5. Magic Lessons

This is the pod I’ve most recently started obsessing over. Elizabeth Gilbert is the author of Eat, Pray, Love, and Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear. For my birthday last year, one of my forever friends gifted me a copy of Big Magic. Let me tell you, it is life-altering.

Why It Made My List: An in-depth extension of Big Magic, Magic Lessons provides massive amounts of inspiration for an aspiring creator like myself. Her advice to other writers on how to find your passion and make it matter are incomparable. I’m going to keep listening and see how much I can learn about myself and my craft.

 

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