If you’re a podcast fan with anxiety, you may have wondered if there’s any value to listening to an anxiety podcast.
People absorb information in many different ways, and while bookish people may want to read about their mental health condition and visual people may want to head to YouTube, people who prefer auditory means of absorbing information might prefer to go with something like an audiobook or a podcast.
Anxiety podcasts could have the potential to offer you help, information, knowledge, personal and medical advice and a sense of community around a very consuming mood disorder.
They may likewise lead you astray with misinformation, should you choose a less-than-reliable podcast.
If you’re seeking the best podcasts for anxiety, there’s a lot of room for interpretation on what that means. Let’s start with the basics.
Anxiety podcasts aren’t, surprisingly, meant to cause you anxiety (though we’re sure one exists somewhere). Instead, they’re arguably designed to help you understand anxiety better.
An anxiety podcast may go about this in a number of ways: it may be a medical expert talking you through science, or a long-time anxiety sufferer sharing their personal experiences. It may be a combination of the two.
There’s really no official organization of how or what or who can make a podcast about anxiety.
Nevertheless, some studies have shown that educational material presented as a podcast can be beneficial in limited circumstances.
One study published in 2022 suggested that podcasts can help mental health professionals learn and expand their comfort with general knowledge on a subject.
The study mostly focused on students and professionals, but researchers found that educational podcasts were rated as helpful by 100 percent of the respondents in the study as either helpful or very helpful.
These respondents further found that case-based, narrative and conversational materials were the most useful.
That may not necessarily seem like it correlates with the average person’s experience, but if a student can learn about it for grades, you might find it useful for understanding yourself.
Telling whether an anxiety podcast is good or not is going to be a very subjective process.
In the first place, there’s not a whole lot of data out there about the big-picture benefits of things like podcasts and other “self-help” materials to your mental health on their own.
One review explored studies of self-help materials and their efficacy in the management of depression and anxiety and found that, while these materials could make other forms of treatment more “cost-effective” if used as supplements, they didn’t afford stand-alone treatment benefits that were measurably useful.
In other words, there’s no rating system — and no data suggesting one might be possible yet. So you’re left with your own tastes to determine the utility of anxiety podcasts.
Ask yourself basic questions:
Does this podcast keep my attention?
Do I feel entertained?
Do the topics being discussed resonate with my experience?
Does this podcast make things simple to understand?
Find out where the podcast host is getting their information — whether the hosts are experts in their field or are getting their information from experts and expert sources.
Above all, make sure that if something sounds fishy, you’re doing some background research to determine the difference between opinion and medically proven facts.
So, what does the right podcast for anxiety look like? Well, it’s kind of up to you.
You may have to try some things out to find a podcast that supports your goals and feels like a good fit for your needs.
Here are the categories we think the best podcasts for anxiety should fit into, though:
One obvious place to start your anxiety podcast journey is with a meditation or mindfulness podcast focused on calming.
There are many such podcasts out there, and while the data isn’t voluminous about podcasts in general, there’s plenty of data to suggest that meditation and mindfulness are part of an effective treatment for anxiety.
Sometimes, all you need is information provided with a little commentary — concise, efficient and straight to the point.
A good educational podcast can cover studies, basic topics and trends in mental health care and anxiety disorders generally, and that can be a great way to supplement your other treatments.
Self-help podcasts and other anxiety help podcasts where the hosts are sufferers themselves can be a great way to feel less alone in your symptoms of anxiety.
Whether it’s a host, a couple of hosts or the guests on the show, hearing about someone else’s struggles and how they handle them can be a great way to grow and find your own sense of control.
Mental illnesses can feel very big, but they’re often easier to unpack when you view them from a single perspective.
Whether it’s from the viewpoint of a single anxious person, through a case study or other research program, anything that tells a concise story can be a great and entertaining way to explore the nuances of anxiety disorders without getting bogged down with the technical stuff.
Podcasts hosted by experts or talking with experts about anxiety can be a great way to get the best info straight from the source.
A professor of psychiatry, researcher, doctor, therapist or even a journalist who writes about anxiety can provide you with great, useful, contextual information that can help you thrive.
There are many ways to treat anxiety disorders that have scientific proof and decades of research backing their legitimacy. While we’re always down for a little self-help podcast here and there, it might not be where you want to start your journey.
A healthcare provider is likely to point you in the direction of one of three forms of treatment that have been proven to be effective in treating anxiety disorders: therapy, medication or lifestyle changes.
There are a lot of things that therapy can do for your anxiety issues (and mental health issues, generally), but cognitive behavioral therapy is arguably the most effective type of therapy for anxiety today.
This form of therapy helps people learn to identify those anxious feelings, thoughts and emotions as they’re happening, and with time, rewire their brains not to let it take control of their mood.
Over time, this can reduce once-crippling anxiety symptoms to blips on the radar of someone’s day.
Another form of treatment is medication. These days, antidepressants are seen as the most effective form of medication for anxiety for their ability to influence the neurotransmitters associated with mood imbalances like those seen in anxiety.
Finally, lifestyle changes like better diet and more exercise, as well as things like reducing your caffeine intake and coping with external stressors can all make a difference in the fight against anxiety.
You may not be able to focus on your podcasts as early in the morning if you’re cutting back on your coffee intake, but you might sleep better with a lifestyle that supports better mental health.
If you’re looking for anxiety podcasts to fill your phone for the workday, consider using that phone to call a healthcare provider instead. There may be many roads to overcoming anxiety, but they all start with a professional conversation.
If you’re planning to solve your anxiety problem, a healthcare professional is the only kind of person qualified to help you design a tailored solution for your symptoms and struggles — something you won’t get from an anxiety coach on a prerecorded episode.
If you’re ready to talk to someone today and get practical advice, we can help — our mental health resources include online therapy, so you can get started right now. Our resources also include more information about antidepressants for anxiety, anxiety treatments, the types of anxiety and more.
Whether you’re ready to take action or still gathering information, feel free to make podcasts part of the plan. Just make sure they’re not the only plan — you need and deserve more. To keep reading, you can read our post on depression podcasts.
Kristin Hall is a board-certified Family Nurse Practitioner with decades of experience in clinical practice and leadership.
She has an extensive background in Family Medicine as both a front-line healthcare provider and clinical leader through her work as a primary care provider, retail health clinician and as Principal Investigator with the NIH.
Certified through the American Nurses Credentialing Center, she brings her expertise in Family Medicine into your home by helping people improve their health and actively participate in their own healthcare.
Kristin is a St. Louis native and earned her master’s degree in Nursing from St. Louis University, and is also a member of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. You can find Kristin on LinkedIn for more information.
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