Fly through these can't-miss podcasts as you hit the road.

By By Karla Walsh
Updated: December 04, 2017
Photo: Dmitry A/Shutterstock

Instead of scrolling through your ex's Instagram feed this holiday season (JK, we'd never do that), download an optimistic podcast to put you in a wayyy better mood.

"Social media, by definition, scatters your attention," says Samantha Boardman, M.D., psychiatrist and the founder of Positive Prescription in New York City. "It's about bouncing from one image or small packet of information to another, which is mindless." Podcasts, on the other hand, require focus. "Without visuals to help string you along, you need to be all ears. Podcasts are demanding in a good way, and the feeling of being fully engaged is satisfying."

Plus, podcasts are perfect for all that holiday travel you're about to do. Binge on one of these seven podcasts and arrive at your destination with a warmed heart and a brighter mind.

Oprah's SuperSoul Conversations

Hosted by the original talk show queen, SuperSoul Conversations focuses on spirituality, mental health, relationships, resilience, and more. Scroll through the archives to hear from Sheryl Sandberg on overcoming setbacks, Deepak Chopra about meditation, and Alanis Morissette on fame and happiness. "No matter how bad your day is, I'm convinced that a good day is a day you learn something," Dr. Boardman says. (Related: We Dare You Not to Be Inspired By These Women)

Must-listen episode: Mitch Albom: The Dying Know the Secrets to a Good Life

The Moth

You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll want to make the presenters your new BFFs; this show involves real stories shared in front of a live audience-no notes allowed. "It's a brilliantly emotional personal account of people's experiences in life, loss, and love," Dr. Boardman explains, adding that this is one of her faves. Since The Moth launched its live events in 1997, more than 26,000 people have shared tales, some of which are rebroadcast on The Moth Radio Hour. The universal issues and vulnerability of the speakers are guaranteed to make you feel a little less alone in your struggles.

Must-listen episode: The Curse

Terrible, Thanks for Asking

Grab the tissues. Created and hosted by author Nora McInerny, who had a miscarriage then lost both her dad and husband to cancer just weeks apart, this podcast highlights the toughest moments in life with an honest yet optimistic bent. Nothing is off limits-postpartum depression, drug overdoses, abusive relationships-and somehow, McInerny weaves in laughs as guests who have gone through the wringer in their own lives honestly answer the question, "Hey, how are you?"

Must-listen episode: Best Friends Forever

Story Corps

Your brother likes the Cowboys; your cousin roots for the Bears. Mom voted for Hillary while Grandpa supported Trump. We can't all agree on everything, but since 2003, these recorded conversations have been highlighting the importance of listening, even (and especially) to those who don't agree with you. Tune in and you'll be reminded that we all have more in common than not. This is a great reminder that relates well to one of Dr. Boardman's holiday happiness hints: "Reach out to someone who may be on their own this holiday season; don't assume everyone has plans. Extend an invitation and be a bright spot in someone else's life."

Must-listen episode: StoryCorps 466: Callings

10% Happier with Dan Harris

Still ignoring that Headspace meditation app on your phone? You'll be more motivated than ever to give it a shot after listening to news anchor Dan Harris' far-from-woo-woo show about mindfulness and happiness. Inspired by the panic attack he had live on TV, Harris has taken up meditation to chill the eff out. On the podcast, he speaks with relatable meditation pioneers and happiness researchers to empower you to find the joy in each day.

Must-listen episode: Gretchen Rubin: The Four Tendencies

Crybabies

If you find shedding a few tears cathartic, you'll quickly become addicted to Crybabies. Actor Sarah Thyre and writer Susan Orlean chat with creative folks, from comedian Amy Poehler to Goosebumps author R.L. Stine, about what makes them cry (and often laugh, too). Less sappy and more sentimental, each episode will make your heart grow a size.

Must-listen episode: Ruth Reichl

Let It Out with Katie Dalebout

Wellness pros, chefs, actors, and more make an appearance on this whole-body health show that Dr. Boardman rarely misses. Recorded in her home since 2013, author/journaler/self-proclaimed "enthusiast" Dalebout's podcast archives are full of more than 100 interviews with individuals from all backgrounds in this totally modern take on self-help.

Must-listen episode: Josh Radnor: On Acting, Spirituality, and Much More

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