Press play for happiness – 8 feel-good podcasts that spark joy
This is the only place where eavesdropping is encouraged
Podcasts are infamous for being a lazy reader’s excuse to get away from reading a big fat novel – I’ve personally been on the receiving end of “Just read the actual book” scorn. But it’s just an efficient eavesdropper’s way of killing two birds with one stone – listening intently to a conversation between two people you don’t know, and stringing together pearls of wisdom you can impress people with the next time you’re met with a “So, what’s new?” And now that I have presented my case, I would also like to present a list of feel-good podcasts that will help you spark joy even when the pile of laundry threatens to engulf the entirety of your room, and designated tequila nights are spent peeling tindas.
8 feel-good podcasts to suit every personality
The Happiness Lab with Dr. Laurie Santos
When in doubt, turn to science. If there is empirical data, and spreadsheets to back something up, then the information is probably more credible than the wisdom imparted to you by an aunty in line at the bhajiwala.
Dr. Laurie Santos, a professor of psychology at Yale University, in her podcast, draws on the science of happiness, and highlights how we’re looking for happiness in all the wrong places. Her masterclass combines new-age findings with heart-warming anecdotes to help you concoct the ultimate formula to spark joy.
To say that this comedy podcast is astonishingly popular would be an understatement. It’s the antithesis of what one would do when exposed to NSFW content that has anything to do with their parents. Instead of throwing the said porno off a bridge and to its end, Jamie Morton decided to read it out to the world with a little help from his surprisingly supportive friends James Cooper and Alice Levine.
So get ready to know a whole lot about a stranger’s parent’s life through this podcast that sparks joy… and maybe a little embarrassment too.
There really isn’t a faster way to spark joy than scarfing down a delicious plate of food (except warm puppy bellies and little pink kitten toe beans, of course). And those who truly love food, don’t just like consuming it, but cooking it, reading about it, watching other people make it, and of course (since we are almost halfway through a list about podcasts) listening to other people talk about it too.
And for food lovers who relate to everything stated above, and are on the lookout for feel-good podcasts, then Gastropod is where you need to begin. Dig deep into not just a bowl full of spaghetti but also the history behind it, while understanding the science behind nailing that full-bodied arrabbiata.
Co-hosts Cynthia Graber and Nicola Twilley will take you on the ultimate food joyride. From tracing the origin of pizza to settling the wheat bread vs white bread debate – your all-you-can-listen-to buffet is all set to be devoured.
The day you fall in love, everything will automatically start looking more beautiful (even without that favourite Instagram filter). And you don’t even have to look far and wide for “the one.” She is right there staring back at you through the mirror.
For all those who’ve discovered how loving yourself can turn your life around, and even those who are just about tightening their shoe laces and getting ready to embark on this beautiful journey, this feel-good podcast will not just spark joy, but also tell you exactly how to do it.
This podcast is co-hosted by LA-based writers Doree Shafrir and Kate Spencer, who apparently “love to talk about serums.” The podcast makes up for all the girls’ nights you’ve been missing during this lockdown, and brushes up your self-care knowledge along the way.
Shafrir and Spencer will draw out a guide to the perfect affordable mascara to make your lashes look fuller than ever, and also talk you through the struggle of finding the right therapist. This interesting mix of episodes will leave you feeling content, just like you do after a night of debating and venting with the girls.
If your happy place is somewhere close to the warmth of a burner in a chemistry lab, and you’re always accused of asking too many questions, then you, my geeky friend, have found a soulmate disguised as a podcast.
This pick from our feel-good podcasts caters to all possible interests: you can choose to learn everything about the winged mammals that have recently been at the receiving end of substantial scorn – bats – through an episode about chiropterology – or make Friday nights more interesting with a lesson in mixology. No matter what you choose, you’re sure to be met with answers to questions you thought were too dumb to ask, and these responses often come with a generous helping of humour.
So, go forth and geek out to your heart’s content.
Recently, the world fell in love with Uncle Roger’s hatred for the way BBC host Harsha Patel cooked her fried rice. And his review wasn’t just for laughs but also full of deep and meaningful wisdom – “MSG make everything better. You sad in life. Put MSG. You happy in life, put MSG. You just had a baby, put MSG on baby.”
And turns out that comedian Nigel NG, who is the creator of the character Uncle Roger, co-hosts a podcast call Rice To Meet You with Evelyn Mok, a fellow UK-based comedian. In an attempt to make Asian culture more accessible, the comedy podcast gives its listeners a peephole into what it’s like to be Asian in the West. From discussing how a Korean drama might have transformed Evelyn to interviewing Asians from various walks of life to hear about their experiences, this has to feature on your feel-good podcasts playlist.
Bonus: Expect surprise visits by Uncle Roger
Sometimes, all you need to get over a bad day is to cuddle in bed with your mum as she tells you familiar fairytales from when you were younger. Nostalgia and a time machine to simpler days when both your shoe size and problems were much smaller, this is the foolproof combination to spark some joy and feel content.
Revisit the world of fantastical storytelling that came with classics like Panchatantra and Jataka, and also nurture nuggets of childhood memories that come rushing back as soon as you press play. Baalgatha is available in six languages – English, Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati, Telugu and Kannada.
If you’ve snuck into your parents’ library just to smuggle a Mills & Boon or two into your room, this podcast is basically that.
Hosts Morgan and Isabeau’s feel-good podcast is them skimming through romance novels to discuss the spicy bits, and also, bits that are just plain awkward.
Simply put, this podcast sparks joy and a whole lot of memories from your pre-teen years, a compilation of all the chits you passed around in school to your best friend after being introduced to the magical world of romantic literature, but with a dash of the wisdom that comes with adulthood and a glass or three of wine.