With the new year comes scads of resolutions to live a healthier, happier life. If you’re someone invested in making healthy choices, that decision should extend beyond what you put in your body to what you put in your mind. Actively choosing rousing, risible entertainment is a powerful way to take control of your own well being. Try one of these enriching radio shows to combat that frustrating rush hour traffic.
Peter Sagal’s fun-loving wit and unparalleled sarcasm makes this program a bright spot in NPR’s classically earnest lineup. The quirky Chicago-based quiz show airs weekly and catching it depends entirely on your timezone. Each week features a panel of three comedians, journalists or celebrities competing with one another in categories such as “This Week’s News” and “Listener Limerick Challenge.” Many of the categories encourage listeners to participate, as panelists’ answers are typically misguided in the best way. If you’re looking for an uplifting, bookish morning-pick-me-up, consider tossing Wait Wait into your podcast lineup.
Chances are you originally heard of Ted Talks from your mother-in-law on Facebook, but the podcast is much more than the occasional self-help gimmick. For a dose of inspiration, TED Radio Hour features powerful stories and ideas from dynamic characters you’ve probably never heard of. Whether you’re interested in dark matter, or what the inventor of the spreadsheet has to say, TED delivers. Topics include entertainment, science, technology, activism, and bullying — and although the topics are not always traditionally happy ones, they’re sure to keep you humble, educated and moving forward.
The former Saturday Night Live head writer and Weekend Update alum took on the Late Night desk in 2014 and abruptly repealed and replaced Jimmy Fallon’s slapstick demeanor. Meyer’s comedy is biting and calculated, and his podcast is no different. The show’s podcast features Colbert-esque interviews with notable celebrities and politicians, although Meyers uses his sovereignty as a comedian to ask questions other variety-show hosts find too somber for late night. It’s highly recommended to anyone interested in satirical political comedy.
The Greater Good Science Center is a University of California, Berkeley-based organization exploring the science of well-being. Using social sciences and neurology, the center educates and equips communities with the tools to take charge of their mental and emotional health. It’s primary mission is to determine what happiness means to any given individual, and how to utilize compassion and empathy. The center’s podcast features breakthroughs in health research, interviews with professionals, and supportive advice for those struggling to stay positive.
Chris Hardwick’s Nerdist isn’t just for nerds, but it helps. The podcast features a number of sister-shows, including You Made It Weird, where host Pete Holmes invites celebrities and comedians to share well-kept idiosyncrasies with the audience. Hardwick’s conversational and relatable tone covering an umbrella of topics related to pop culture makes The Nerdist a staple for movie, television and comic book fans.