10 of the Best Mental Health Podcasts and Apps
If Covid – or anything else for that matter – has you feeling anxious, you’re not alone. Luckily, there are lots of tools available to help maintain good mental health in trying times like these – many of which you’ll find right there in your pocket! Here are ten of the best apps and podcasts to help focus the mind and remain positive.
1. Happy Feed
Want to bring a little more positivity to your day? Happy Feed is a simple (and beautifully designed) gratitude journal that helps you to create a space on your phone that sparks joy. This app makes it easy to build a bit more gratitude into your life which, in-turn, trains your brain to focus more on happy moments. Quickly log three things you’re grateful for each day - you can attach a photo reminder too if you like. Whenever you need a bit of a boost you’ll have all those lovely little moments to look back on.
Probably one of the most well-known meditation apps on the market, Headspace is both popular and easy-to-use. Full of brilliant guided meditations, it allows you to choose a ‘pack’ at a time. For example, there’s a starter pack, a 10-day pack, various themed packs and so on. Right now, they’re allowing free access to a selection of meditations called ‘Weathering the Storm’; find out more here.
3. Smiling Mind
While many meditation apps carry a monthly usage fee, there are some great free options out there too. Smiling Mind is billed as Australia’s leading wellness app, and offers a great way to dip your toe into the world of meditation. It’s flexible too, with hundreds of meditations suitable for almost any situation. So whether you’re stressed out at work or want to take some me-time on your daily commute, you’re sure to find something to suit you. Most of the meditations are under 10 minutes, so they’re easy to build into your day too.
If you’re struggling to sleep, this might be the app for you. As well as a whole host of guided meditations, breathing exercises and relaxing music, the Calm app features some incredibly soothing 'sleep stories' from well-known actors like Matthew McConaughey (listen for free here) and our very own Cillian Murphy, who invites you to cross Ireland by train with him - swoon! They’re also offering a selection of tools in response to coronavirus; all the resources on this page are available for free.
5. Healthy Minds
Irish Life Health members get free access to our Healthy Minds app. If there’s something bothering you, the app is a brilliant source of expert advice and information. It provides access to articles, toolkits and assessments that are designed to help you to understand a wide range of issues. If you need to chat to someone, you can also live chat with an expert directly from the app.
6. Sleep With Me
The Sleep With Me podcast takes a slightly different approach to the ‘sleep story’ mentioned above. In each episode, creator Drew Ackerman tells a nonsensical story designed to distract your mind and bore you sleep! The podcast is a great solution for people who find it hard to switch their mind off at bedtime. Be warned, it’s a ‘love it or hate it’ sort of thing. But, with over 1.3 million downloads a month and plenty of raving followers, it’s worth a try!
7. Ten Percent Happier
American journalist and former ABC News anchor Dan Harris is the charming host of Ten Percent Happier, a podcast that explores the often confusing world of meditation. Dan is the author of the brilliantly titled ‘Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics’, and completely understands that it can be daunting to begin a practise from scratch. The podcast is completely accessible, and sees Dan speak to coaches, gurus, scientists and even the odd celebrity about how they came to meditate and what benefits they get from it.
8. The MyLife Podcast
Through in-depth discussions with well-known names from all walks of life, Irish comedian Jarlath Regan hosts inspiring conversations around developing healthy habits to improve your overall wellbeing.
Episode 1: Jarlath chats with All Ireland Football Champion Oisín McConville, one of Ireland's strongest advocates for mental health. Oisín speaks about his recovery from gambling addiction, a struggle he faced for 16 years, and shares his journey towards establishing healthy mental & physical wellbeing. Listen Now!
9. Owning It: The Anxiety Podcast
Ireland is also home to some amazing podcasts and this one is no exception. Owning It: The Anxiety Podcast is the brainchild of bestselling author Caroline Foran. In each episode, Caroline shares her own experience with anxiety and the tips and techniques that have helped her overcome it. Expect inspiring interviews with prominent names who share their own journey with anxiety as well as more intimate episodes where Caroline candidly shares what’s on her mind.
10. Breath with Niall
Another fascinating Irish pod is Breathe With Níall, hosted by Níall Ó Murchú - a wellness expert and instructor of the famous Wim Hof breathing method. Níall posits that stress and fatigue can be alleviated by learning to use the breath in new ways and (this is the biggie) gradually exposing yourself to the cold. Discover more about Níall’s work (which includes workshops and retreats) and how you can apply this interesting method, in the podcast.
Those are just some of the apps and podcasts available that will hopefully help you stay present as you make the transition back to some sort of normal! Remember though, if you’re feeling very overwhelmed by Covid - or anything else - be sure to reach out to a friend, family member of healthcare professional.
MyLife is provided by Irish Life Financial Services. MyLife is not a regulated financial service.