Photo from Twitter
Midterms week happened to align with Mental Illness Awareness week (sometimes dubbed Mental Health week) this year, which ran from Sunday, Oct. 4, to Saturday, Oct. 10. It’s safe to say that tensions are heightened right now — so what better time than now to find a resource to help you unwind and de-stress?
Oct. 10, is dedicated as World Mental Health Day, and with the pandemic and the upcoming election this year, it is particularly important to check in with your emotions. Before COVID-19, college students were already facing many mental health struggles. According to a study carried out by the American Psychological Association, anxiety affects over 41.6% of college students, while depression afflicts 36.4% of the same group.
It’s challenging enough navigating college through a hybrid-learning model, never mind the fact that it becomes increasingly difficult to visit friends and family because of the pandemic. This can take a serious toll on your overall well-being, and it can even affect your academic performance as well.
It’s essential to take some time to focus on de-stressing and balancing the mind. Podcasts, which are widely available on multiple platforms and are easy to take in, are a relaxing and stress-free way to learn more about mental health. Here are some podcasts focused on various areas of mental health that I found helpful, and that I hope will help you, too.
“Terrible, Thanks for Asking”
Hosted by Nora McInerny, author of multiple mental health-oriented books, this podcast makes light of the usual, “How are you?” answer many of us give without a second thought: “I’m fine.” It also discusses breaking the stigma around bottling up our emotions and learning how to deal with the discomfort of opening up to someone. If you’re looking for some top-notch advice about openly talking about common, everyday struggles combined with humor, check this one out.
“Ten Percent Happier”
In this podcast, ABC news anchor Dan Harris shares his experiences with anxiety based on the time he had a panic attack live on “Good Morning America.” Exploring the concept of happiness, he discusses the powers of meditation for the mind and putting the past behind you. This is a great podcast to listen to if you are interested in the psychology of “training the mind.”
“Tiny Leaps, Big Changes”
Host Gregg Clunis talks about day-to-day behaviors and how they affect our mental health and personal growth in this podcast. The episodes explore strategies for viewing the “little things” you do every day as “tiny leaps” that actually produce “big changes” in pursuit of our long-term goals.
This podcast, which focuses on the challenges Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) presents, is especially helpful for those who are seeking to learn strategies about how to maintain control and focus during difficult situations. It is also useful for those who are simply looking to create better habits in terms of productivity, as well as suggestions for balancing work, school and relationships.
The title may sound paradoxical, but the message is essential. For many, some stressors can cause a feeling of needing to work quickly in order to fulfill all obligations, especially if someone has overcommitted. In this podcast, host Jocelyn K. Glei creates new ideas for navigating life at a slower pace in order to become more resilient and productive. If you want some advice on how to meet your goals as well as how to budget your time for mental breaks, this is a podcast you should look into.
Hosted by Gretchen Rubin, author of the 2009 bestselling novel “The Happiness Project,” this podcast dives into healthy habits to adopt in order to maintain positivity. Recognizing that happiness is not always easily achieved, Rubin discusses tips, tricks and changes you can make in your everyday life to boost morale in these episodes.
“The OCD Stories”
With host Stuart Ralph, this podcast includes over 240 episodes documenting various experiences with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) from listeners who sent in personal stories. In addition, he interviews medical professionals to educate the audience about how to treat and overcome OCD slowly but surely.
“Just Eat Normally”
This podcast, hosted by Dr. Rachel Evans, focuses on the challenges presented by eating disorders and how to clear these obstacles in a healthy way. The National Eating Disorders Association reports that over two-thirds of people between ages 18-24 treated for eating disorders, on average, showed signs of concurrent mood disorders previously (such as anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, OCD or substance abuse disorders). In short, college-aged students are affected greatly by eating disorders. In this podcast, Evans speaks with eating disorder survivors, shares their inspiring stories and additionally provides advice for those seeking to shift their mindset and develop a new idea of what “normal eating” is.
“The Mindset Mentor”
The mindset you attain has a powerful influence on your personal growth. In this podcast, host Rob Dial gives suggestions for improving your mindset and how to find motivation to be the “best version of yourself.” It also covers methods to overcome unconscious limitations that hold us back.
Even if it’s only for a few minutes a day, remember to take some time to focus on your well-being — maybe even check out one of these podcasts, all of which are available on the pre-downloaded Podcasts app on iPhones or on Spotify. Finding mental balance amid stressful times should be a priority, and advocating for openness about mental health brings us one step closer to breaking the stigma around mental health struggles.