Photo: Instagram/Sophia Amoruso

Chances are you’re already subscribed to a few trending podcasts but cutting through the dense library of options (660,000 and counting) takes some curation chops.

Whether you’re into travel, fashion, food, love, beauty or looking to improve your career, the general equaliser is we’re all searching for motivation and ways to improve our lives.

Some of these podcasts will give you quick, actionable tools, while others will appeal to your soul, giving you something deeper to chew over. Whatever it is, we hope these six podcasts will give you more reason to take time out for yourself and leave you with some (audio) food for thought.


1. Happier with Gretchen Rubin

If you’ve read (and changed) your life thanks to her book The Happiness Project or Five Minute Journal, Happier will resonate with you. Co-hosted together with her younger sister Elizabeth Craft, the thought-provoking podcast – in both 30+ minute bits, and smaller bite-size chunks, some less than three minutes – covers a range of topics.

These include things such as why not throw a celebratory party especially during stressful times; navigating difficult family discussions; and scheduling a playdate with yourself — all good reminders that there are easy ways to handle life with a little more grace and pleasure.


How to listen: Available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Stitcher.


2. TED Radio Hour

You’re already familiar with TED Talks so you’ll know the general format of this podcast. Just shy of an hour long – so save this for the weekend suntanning session or an extended commute home – each weekly episode covers topics together with advice from a number of TED speakers or noted personalities.

Hosted by Guy Raz, the episodes point at areas of self improvement, such as how to become a better you; why practicing gratitude with a simple ‘thank you’ changes how you look at the world; the evolution of the #metoo movement; and our complicated relationship with food – is it nourishment or pleasure/guilt?


How to listen: Available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Google Podcasts


3. Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations


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The title itself is a dead giveaway but how could we talk about personal and life-changing motivations if we didn’t include Oprah Winfrey, the queen of talk shows?

Championing the concept of taking time to be more fully present, the episodes – naturally hosted by Oprah – with key opinion leaders (Suze Orman on women and money), authors (Michelle Obama on her book Becoming), wellness experts (Dr. Phil on the keys to a contented life) and spiritual luminaries (Deepak Chopra on creating harmony) all conveyed what Oprah’s famous for: That inimitable ability to create a meaningful connection through a raw and authentic conversation that leaves you feeling capable of taking on the world.


How to listen: Available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Player FM


4. Hidden Brain


This week, we talk about all the subtle ways in which we are drawn to people, places and things like us. | Ep. 72

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If you’re already a fan of NPR’s excellent content then this podcast will be a natural addition to your download list. Rather than motivating via intangible, inspirational content, episodes delve into the why, i.e. what drives motivation and what compels people to do what they do.

It’s artfully hosted by NPR’s Shankar Vedantam who uses a digestible blend of science and storytelling to engage listeners. Tune into the popular You 2.0 summer episodes that explore everything from dream jobs, getting unstuck (who doesn’t need that) and other more thought provoking topics such as innovators and what it takes to be an original and the issues surrounding modern day marriage (spoiler alert: you might need to ask less of it).


How to listen: Available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Google Podcasts


5. The One You Feed


Dr. Tererai Trent @tereraitrent is an inspiring and dynamic scholar, educator, humanitarian, motivational speaker, author and the founder of Tererai International. Dr. Trent is one of the most internationally acclaimed voices for women’s empowerment and quality education. Named by Oprah Winfrey as her all-time favorite guest, Dr. Trent’s latest book is called The Awakened Woman: Remembering and Reigniting Our Sacred Dreams. She tells her incredible story in this episode and you will be so deeply moved, so deeply touched, and so deeply inspired by it. We’ver never heard anything like it and are honored that she would tell us about her astounding life. In This Interview, Dr. Tererai Trent and I Discuss… Her book, The Awakened Woman: Remembering and Reigniting Our Sacred Dreams The two hungers in our life – the little hunger and the great hunger The hunger for a meaningful life Asking yourself, “what breaks my heart?” The rural community she grew up in The wisdom of her grandmother That her grandmother was defined by her wisdom Her answer to the question she was asked – what are your dreams? The moment she was told that her dreams were achievable When her mother said to write down her dreams and bury (i.e. plant) them in the ground. How she broke the cycle of poverty The baton of poverty, illiteracy, early marriage, and abuse that she redefined The baton of wisdom, that she received The four dreams she wrote down When her mother said, “your goals in life will be more achievable when connected to the greater good of your community” The difference between culture and customs The 8 years it took for her to graduate high school Getting into Oklahoma State University but not having enough money to fly to America Feeding the deep hunger that says – you can achieve your dreams . . . . . #TOYF #inspiredlife #liveauthentic #lifeqoute #livelifetothefullest #qeuoteoftheday #goodvibes #inspiration #wordstoliveby #authenticity #lifelessons #lifepurpose #instadaily #instagood #empowerment #live #justdoit #instahappy #qotd #lifelesson #inspirationalquotes #mindfulness #lifeskills #wisdom #lifeadvice #podcast #PicOfTheDay #InspiredDaily #Meditation #Buddhism

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Created by Eric Zimmer and Charles Forbes, this self-help podcast aims to inspire, motivate and leave you with tools to conquer life’s challenges — all with the ultimate goal of inspiring you to live better.

Using the parable of the good and bad wolf (and which you choose to feed), episodes (ranging from 30 to 45 minutes) are composed of conversational teaching-style interviews with well-known authors and professionals who aim to enlighten through stories, scientific research, and applicable techniques on topics such as time management, mindfulness, procrastination, success and happiness and meditation.


How to listen: Available on Stitcher, Apple Podcasts and Spotify


6. Girlboss Radio with Sophia Amoruso 

You know you’ll get a morning dose of honesty with former Nasty Gal CEO Sophia Amoruso behind the mic. Each week the OG #girlboss talks to fellow power women such as Glossier founder Emily Weiss, Goop’s Gwyneth Paltrow and Ouai Haircare’s Jen Atkin on their personal #girlboss moments and what makes them feel empowered.

The episodes vary in length (from 20 minutes) and the roster of power women is certainly impressive. But what we like are the topics touched on: such as how/when to strike out on your own, navigating working with family and more water cooler topics (with Michelle Phan no less) on the difference between an influencer and creator and why bravery is better than perfection. Definitely a must-listen.


How to listen: Available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Stitcher