Emily Mason ’21 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
“Now, Listen to This” is the Web section’s monthly podcast column. Every month we will recommend a few podcasts that fit a different theme. This month is about learning more about your mind, body, and soul.
It’s easy to get lost in our own lives. Whether we feel wildly overwhelmed and find unhealthy outlets for the stress, feel as if we don’t know enough about our own minds and behaviors, or we’re simply too busy to remember to check in with ourselvesー we can all find ourselves feeling as if we are fighting through each day. These four podcasts cover our relationships with food, ourselves, the way we live, and how we make our decisions.
Each of these episodes is a stand-alone, so listeners can start with whichever one interests them most.
Psychology of Eating is hosted by Marc David, the founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating, a school designed to train people in nutritional psychology. The institute seeks to help people lose weight in a sustainable and loving way and create healthy relationships between people and food. The podcast is one of several initiatives to gain a following for the institute and create interest around David’s nutritional health training program.
The podcast series features three different types of episodes: follow-up episodes, where clients David has worked with in the past talk about the issues they have worked through with him; coaching episodes where David speaks with clients for the first time and uncovers the psychological roots of their issues with food; and mini nutrition lessons, the shortest segments, hosted by director of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating, Emily Rosen.
David’s coaching episodes provide a stage for every type of dysfunctional food relationship or nutritional issue, including the struggle many face to gain weight. He learns about his clients by asking them questions about their lives and eating habits. The time restraint causes David to be more direct in his questions, resulting in a fast-paced episode that allows the listener to gain a full view of how his client’s lives have impacted their relationships with food.
Rosen’s lesson episodes are an average of five minutes and typically 10 minutes or less. She covers the latest nutritional thinking, discusses the relationship between numbers, such as a person’s physical weight or their calorie intake, and nutrition, and gives other lessons on nutrition and the psychology behind people’s relationships with food.
This podcast provides helpful insights on how we as a society approach food and at the very least reminds us to be aware of how food is functioning in our lives and make sure that it’s nourishing and not harming.
The Psychology of Eating podcast is available on their website, Spotify, and iTunes.
2. The Heart
The Heart is an audio art project where host and director, Kaitlin Prest, and her team strive to create compelling personal documentaries about intimacy. The episodes discuss identity, sex, love, self-image, and art.
The episodes of The Heart are arranged as individual episodes or into miniseries, which are dedicated to a certain topic. “Pansy”, “Bodies”, and “Ghost” are some of the miniseries’ titles. The “Pansy” series delves into the realms where masculinity and femininity meet; the bodies series deals with how our bodies interact with the world and the problems faced; and the ghost series brings guests who remember the people they used to love.
Listeners are lulled into the start of The Heart’s episodes by acoustic, dreamy sounds, which slowly fade to the background as one of the show’s team members begins talking in a quiet, low voice. The creators play with sound to convey messages to the listener, which is how The Heart crosses over from a regular podcast into art. They may overlap speakers’ voices, or blend sounds togetherーall to create the experience they want for their listener.
Guests on The Heart range from friends and family of Prest to victims of sexual abuse to queer people to people who have lost loved ones. The variety of guests brought on to the show highlights the effort the creators are putting into accurately representing the experiences they are discussing.
The production creates a sense of intimacy that mimics the subjects they discuss. The feel of listening to The Heart is similar to the feeling of a friend telling a story; and often the stories are either shockingly relatable or heartbreakingly unfamiliar. The Heart brings the listener closer to experiences that are not their own but also explores issues that are felt widely by their audience.
The Heart podcast is available on their website, iTunes, and Spotify.
Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus host this podcast about living your most meaningful life. Their first-ever podcast episode is about decluttering, not only your possessions but also dealing with the natural loss of friends and learning to let go of the things that are holding us back. The duo delves into the question of greed in our society and tries to answer how people can gradually declutter their homesー all in their first podcast attempt.
The minimalist team has gone on eight tours to date around the world and is currently touring in Australia and New Zealand. On these tours they give in-depth talks on minimalism and on their most recent tour have begun recording live episodes for their podcast. They have written essays, blog posts, and speeches on living a more meaningful and minimalist life and also offer private coaching.
The theory of minimalism is that by living with fewer material things there are more spaces for passions and experiences and less to tie people down. Minimalist living is meant to make room for more, according to Millburn and Nicodemus.
Their podcast episodes have a casual and conversational feel as the two hosts ping off each other, while they discuss the questions they are trying to answer. The pair tackles ideas about money, mental clutter, and consumerism and how these things can get in the way of what should really be important.
The show does a good job of acknowledging that many of the things the pair deems falsely urgent are still important and necessary to everybody’s lives, but they suggest that we be aware of how these things can distract from opportunities for more meaningful thoughts or experiences.
The Minimalists’ podcast is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Spotify, Soundcloud, and YouTube.
4. Hidden Brain
This podcast began as a weekly series on NPR’s Morning Edition but has spun off into its own show. Social scientist, Shankar Vedantam, looks into unconscious patterns that drive human behavior with the purpose of raising awareness so that people can apply the knowledge to their lives and decisions.
Vedantam makes the newest neuroscience research accessible and entertaining for those who don’t have the time or capacity to read the academic journal version. His episodes span anywhere from four minutes to an hour and give a direct and insightful overview of his academic findings.
Each episode is meant to make the listener aware of a bias or societal situation that is affecting all of our lives, so we can combat them and make more purposeful, clear decisions
Hidden Brain is available on the NPR website and apps.