Anxious? Overwhelmed? Welcome to the party! Today I’m sharing a few podcasts that have helped me move past paralyzing anxiety and into a moderately functional person.
Y’all, I’ve started writing this intro 6 damn times, and nothing feels right. Normally, I’d walk away for a day then come back, but this post isn’t about what I have to say. It’s about sharing resources that I’ve found incredibly helpful and comforting with you, in the hopes that they will help you too. So let’s just get into it.
Note: I’ve linked to each podcast episode’s web page in the descriptions below, but you can of course listen to all of them on your app of choice. If that app happens to be Spotify, I created a playlist for you here.
The One You Feed by Eric Zimmer:
Self Compassion with Kristin Neff
“Self-compassion has been shown to be one of the most powerful sources of strength, coping, and resilience we have available to us. When the going gets tough, the tough get self-compassionate.”
Of the podcasts on this list, this is actually the last one I listened to, but I’m sharing it first because the idea of self-compassion comes up in all of the others. And, after listening to Kristin Neff describe self-compassion, I realized that my definition was very wrong. It’s not about “self care” in the popular sense, nor is it being overly permissive with yourself to the point where you get nothing done. And it turns out that it has more to do with how we treat other people than you might realize.
I had so many “woah” and “oh shit that’s totally me” moments while listening to this episode. I don’t want to spoil the experience for you, so do yourself a huge favor and give it a listen.
For the meditation-curious
Making Sense with Sam Harris:
Meditation in an Emergency
“An untrained mind — which is to say a perfectly normal one — can be an extraordinarily unhappy place to be in. Your own mind can be terrible company. And you can be sure that it’s less than ideal company for others.”
If you’re feeling more agitated and anxious than normal, first of all, welcome to being a human living through a pandemic. Second of all, you can fix it. But first you have to understand what’s going on in that beautiful, terrible brain of yours. Sam makes the case for how meditation helps you do that in a really practical and accessible way (and it’s not just his opinion, it’s science). So take a listen and decide for yourself.
For the creators and creative entrepreneurs
Don’t Keep Your Day Job by Cathy Heller:
My Thoughts on the Coronavirus
“If life is not happening to us but for us, what’s the gift?”
“Things are always as they are, and we can be with them as they are…when you resist what is, that’s the pain.”
The thing I love most about Cathy Heller is her ability to shine a bright, beautiful light into the darkness, without pretending that the darkness doesn’t exist. In this episode, she discusses the importance of allowing yourself to feel negative emotions without letting them take over your life. And she reminds us of our own agency to reframe how we think about the current situation, and then choose how we respond to it.
For anyone feeling guilty about their feelings
Unlocking Us with Brene Brown:
Brené on Comparative Suffering, the 50/50 Myth, and Settling the Ball
“The surest way to ensure that you have a reserve of compassion and empathy for others is to attend to your own feelings.”
“Hurt is hurt, y’all.”
Brené Brown is an emotions researcher who manages to demystify big, scary concepts like vulnerability and shame in a relatable, humorous, gut-punchy way. In this episode, she explains why everyone’s suffering is valid, how we can support (and be supported by) our partners and families when everyone’s feeling depleted, and how we can shift our mindset out of crisis mode.
For veteran meditators
Ten Percent Happier with Dan Harris:
Sharon Salzberg Makes Me Feel Better
“If we learn anything from this, it should be that we are really part of an interconnected universe.”
This is a more high-level discussion around how meditation can help us get through these tough times. It’s helpful to have a basic understanding of Buddhist meditation concepts going into this episode, but not completely necessary. Salzberg, a renowned meditation teacher, discusses how we can sit with difficult emotions, examine our minds, and find a sense of peace amidst the chaos.
Brené Brown is so damn poignant, I just have to share one more episode from her podcast.
CW: discussions of death and grieving. If you’ve recently lost a loved one or have lost a child, this episode may be triggering for you.
Unlocking Us with Brene Brown
David Kessler and Brené on Grief and Finding Meaning
“We’re not going to compare losses. The worst loss is always your loss.”
Brené and David discuss the stages of grief and how the entire world is in a state of grieving right now. As expected, they normalize and validate our feelings, and talk through how we can help each other get through this difficult time.
I sincerely hope you find at least one of these discussions helpful and comforting. These eminently wise people have certainly helped me move from a place of overwhelming anxiety to a place of acceptance and (relative) calm. We can’t control how we feel in response to trauma, but there are tools we can use and perspectives we can adopt to help us cope. Sending you love and comfort 💙