It’s a brand-new year, a time for resolutions and new beginnings – but it’s hard to remain upbeat these days with a tough 2 years behind us and an unknowable year ahead. So, this week, I want to highlight a podcast that focuses on mental health and hope that someone can take some relief from the information shared.
Owning It: The Anxiety Podcast hosted by Caroline Foran focuses on mental health and teaches listeners a little about how to best cope with everyday struggles, with a particular focus on anxiety and anxiety disorders. Whether you are a long-time sufferer of anxiety or anxiety is something that hits you out of the blue, Owning It talks through the overwhelming thoughts that can impact our life. Not just that, but the host takes the time to explain the science behind such feelings and discusses the research on the many causes, effects, and possible aids.
Initially, I came across this podcast after reading Caroline’s book (also called Owning It). The podcast expands on many of the themes and topics explored in the book and, although I am an avid reader, I found it easier to digest the information in podcast form.
The show is at the end of its sixth season, with plenty of episodes focusing on topics from panic attacks to the harmful effects of social media. Owning It offers tools, tips, and tricks to help take charge of anxiety in a variety of different situations.
But as I said, the host doesn’t just offer solutions or quick fixes. Caroline explores the chemicals at work causing various disorders, anxieties and psychologies which contribute to mental illness. In doing so, she has spoken to a range of experts, including behavioural scientist Katy Milkman, Johan Hari and Dr Judson Brewer.
I found the host’s approach to be extremely helpful as she takes the time to explain each problem and offers solutions and examples of how such solutions work, making it easier to incorporate into your everyday life.
The various types of anxieties she covers throughout the show include catastrophic thinking, happiness anxiety, anxiety at work, and toxic positivity. Other topics she covers include how to handle unexpected change, is curiosity the key to calming anxiety, a deep dive into hormones and more. She further explains how to manipulate negative thinking into helpful coping mechanisms like using “fear hacking” and “anchoring” against catastrophic thinking.
She talks about fear hacking as a way of calming worrying thoughts when we visualise worst-case scenarios. Instead of worrying over every worst-case, fear hacking enables you to challenge your fears by working through every eventuality and finding an alternative or backup so you couldn’t possibly have anything left to worry about because you have prepared for every single scenario. While she points out this is not an ideal solution in the longterm, it is certainly a worthwhile short-term hack that might help us along the way to further combatting our anxieties.
For example, if you are going to give a presentation from a series of slides, you might worry that your computer won’t work when you need it – instead of worrying about that happening, come equipped with a set of back up slides which can be used on a different device or make sure you have your notes printed or written out on cue cards so that you are still capable of carrying out your speech.
But don’t worry, Owning It doesn’t spend each episode spewing scientific facts and research at you. There is a personal side to it as well. Caroline is not afraid to draw on her own experiences, or to share her feelings around her own overwhelming thoughts. Her experiences are relatable and whether you suffer with anxiety or experience moments of anxiety from time to time, this podcast has certainly helped me get a better grasp on how to cope in certain situations. Even if you don’t always suffer from anxiety, this is a great podcast to educate yourself if you ever do face moments of despair, and learn about the struggles other people face within their own heads.
Looking for other informative podcasts to start off the new year? Why not give Fad Camp a try? Fad Camp is a comedy podcast about diet culture and the ridiculousness of fad diets. Ever brought a baked potato to a pub to stay ‘on plan’? Ever gotten a hypnotic gastric band to reduce your appetite? Well Fad Camp hosts Grace Mulvey and Conor Dowling have. In each episode myself, Grace and Conor tackle a new aspect of diet culture through funny and vulnerable personal experiences, interviews and much more.
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