To say this year has been a challenge for everyone is an understatement. Nevertheless, it is in these times of difficulty and uncertainty where the need to grip onto positivity and wisdom are even more crucial. As such, we've compiled a list of some of our #SkinFood favourite podcasts that have been played on repeat throughout the last few months and have either created a shift in our mindset or helped to infuse us with a much needed dose of optimism. These are all easily accessible from either your Apple Podcast or Spotify app. Keep reading to see which podcasts made it to our #SkinFood favourites and why.
How to Fail with Elizabeth Day -
Mo Gawdat on How to Cope to with Anxiety in a Time of Coronavirus
Author and journalist Elizabeth Day's highly regarded How To Fail podcast series has one core objective; to sit and interview household names, delving into some of the biggest failures they have experienced throughout the course of their lives either professionally or personally. The concept of the show is brilliant in and of itself, as of course most traditional interviews focus only on an individual's highlights as opposed to exposing the inevitable struggles and low points they will have experienced. Mo Gawdat, former Chief Business Officer at Google X joins Day for a second time on her podcast in the early weeks of lockdown, March 2020. Their conversation unfolds into both an enlightening and uplifting discussion.
An adult mind is made up of 60 - 70% negative thoughts. "Becky" the nickname for Gawdat's brain (a name which reminded him of the annoying girl at school) speaks to him on a daily basis often bringing up negative thought patterns and beliefs which simply aren't true. It is for this reason that Gawdat performs a daily ritual where he challenges his thoughts, forcing him to dispel pessimistic and otherwise useless belief patterns, providing him with the opportunity to meet himself head on in a deeper way.
Gawdat, author of Solve For Happy, has come up with his own happiness equation. In his words, "happiness is greater than, or equal to, your perception of the events in your life minus your expectation of how life should be." This equation provokes the more meaningful question that if happiness is rooted in our expectations of how things should be, perhaps what needs to shift is our outlook so that it can be more fluid and leave more room for the inevitable; things will not and do not always go according to plan.
Oprah's Super Soul Conversations-
Brené Brown: The Power of Vulnerability
Oprah says herself that her life's work is dedicated to opening up the heart space and raising the level of consciousness in the world. Her series Super Soul conversations is a manifestation of this purpose. Interviewing a range of celebrities and icons from JLo to Nelson Mandela, this podcast covers everything from humorous insights into these figures' lives to sharing some real gems of wisdom that we can all take away with us. Dr. Brené Brown is as qualified as they come on the subject of Social Work. With a P.h.D and years behind her as a social worker one of her major breakthroughs came when she realised the importance of one key human emotion: vulnerability. Her TED talk, The Power of Vulnerability went viral hitting 14 million views and counting. Vulnerability, she argues, underpins human connection, the feeling of personal belonging and all of our greatest achievements, as it requires us to be authentic and to have the bravery to be seen for who we really are.
Vulnerability, an emotion which Dr. Brown is a huge champion of, is not, she argues, a wasted emotion. Neither is it a sign of weakness. In her own words, "most of us are brave and afraid every minute of the day at the exact same time" without even realising. Many of us stay small and refuse to let ourselves really be seen because we're afraid to be judged for who we really are.
Once Brené's TED talk went viral she made the honest mistake of reading online comments about herself from viewers, only to be faced with some truly hurtful and disparaging remarks. After feeling sorry for herself and binging on 8 hours of Downtown Abbey and a jar of peanut butter, she began to research who the President of the United States was at the time the show was set. What she found was a riveting quote from late President Teddy Roosevelt.
"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
She highlights that at the heart of vulnerability comes the willingness to be exposed and seen in our everyday life for who we really are, and to act from a place of courage and authenticity; this practise is at the core of her motto (and book title), Daring Greatly. With this approach we run the risk of being criticised, but no disapproval can overshadow the undertaking and initiative of the (wo)man in the arena. Furthermore, Brené argues that if your critics are not also willing to show up and be seen in their own space, their opinion is irrelevant.
The Michelle Obama Podcast-
President Barrack Obama
Neither host nor guest are in need of a formal introduction. However, to cover the basics, after the huge success of her first book, Becoming, former First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama launched her own podcast in order to be able to reflect on key themes relating to family, relationships and women in depth. Guest appearances feature on each episode with various members of her inner circle. Former President Barack Obama, her husband, joins her in the inaugural episode to cover the subject of community and one's relationship to their country.
Barrack and Michelle both advocate that receiving help from extended family members or one's community create a feeling of shared responsibility. This lessens the load on individual family units where someone might be raising their children as a single parent, or in situations where both parents have to work and have little time.
One of the important matters discussed was that Barrack's childhood, where he was raised by a single mother, was significantly impacted by his grandparents who helped to look after him. His grandparents additionally took some of Barrack's friends under their wings, as they came from homes where their parent lived far from school or were singlehandedly managing everything on their own. What it boils down to is that, helping one another whether it be within a family, a friendship group or a community, is vital as it helps to reduce the burden of everyday life, making it a shared effort.
Michelle echoed "it is not enough that I succeed on my own, I have to care about what happens to the kid in the desk next to me at school because he's just as smart, but his mom works. My father always taught us to take in everybody's full story. Not to judge people for their drunk uncle or their cousin out of work, because you don't know what had happened to them. We weren't special and as a result, if something good happens to you or you have an advantage, you don't hoard it, you share it, you reach out, you give back."