“Headline stress disorder” — it’s a thing. Coined in the Washington Post by psychologist Steven Stosny to describe the collective unease we felt helplessly watching the tumultuous politics of 2016. Fast-forward to 2020, and the news has not felt this anxiety-inducing in my lifetime.
It’s useful, interesting, and even responsible to stay updated on current affairs, but I like to catch the bare minimum from non-sensationalist sources. Beyond that doesn’t make for a happy life — research shows watching the news negatively impacts our mental well-being.
Instead of wallowing in worry, I joined the podcast party (admittedly late) in lockdown. I find it inspiring and informative to hear what some of the world’s greatest interviewers and their subjects have to say about their life stories, the workings of the world and our potential future; often in a far more honest, astute and creative way than the average politician, and in a neat 30–90 minute package.
Just like Medium articles can provide an insightful break from mainstream news when you want decent topical reading material, high-quality podcast episodes make great walking, tidying or cooking companions if you live alone (or need a break from your housemates!).
Here are five podcast series that have lightened up my lockdown:-
1. The Tim Ferriss Show by Tim Ferriss
Wildly successful author, entrepreneur and investor Tim Ferriss’ well-established podcast is frequently ranked at the top of the business charts, but has amassed over 500m downloads interviewing fellow great minds on a vast range of holistic topics including mental well-being, psychedelics, investing, personal growth and sustainability. Ferriss has gotten cosy with the likes of PayPal Founder Peter Thiel; best-selling author Malcolm Gladwell; spiritual thought-leader Jack Kornfield; and actor Jamie Foxx.
Pandemic-era episodes include an excellent, practical overview of “Tactics for Relationships in Quarantine” with top couples’ therapist Esther Perel. I also enjoyed Ferriss’…