As a podcaster, you’ll probably always feel busy. There’s just a lot that goes into podcasting – oftentimes much more than we anticipate when first starting. That’s why it’s essential to make sure that we check in with ourselves and make sure we’re not on the way to burnout or developing an analytics addiction.
You have probably found yourself repeatedly refreshing your analytics page to see the downloads come in. While watching the boost in listenership with each new episode is rewarding, it can also be very frustrating when your audience isn’t growing as quickly as you’d hoped. Luckily, growth isn’t the only measure of podcast success.
There are many ways to stay motivated and on track with your podcasting journey, even if you don’t go viral overnight. And one of those things you might not have expected. But as it turns out, creating a podcast is heartily good for your brain and mental health!
Talking to yourself
Especially for all those solo podcasters out there, you don’t have to worry about the fact that you’re talking all by yourself all the time. It’s good for your mental health. “It is completely within the norm. In fact, we talk to ourselves constantly,” says Dr. Jessica Nicolosi, a clinical psychologist based in New York.
“If we speak out loud (hello podcast!), it forces us to slow down our thoughts and process them differently because we engage the language centers of our brain,” explains Dr. Nicolosi. “By talking to ourselves, we become more deliberate, and this creates a slower process to think, feel and act, instead of being bombarded by our thoughts.”
Sounds pretty amazing, right? Of course, when you’re recording an episode for your podcast, you’re talking to your listeners. But you’re probably alone in your studio – or bedroom. Dr. Nicolosi adds, “Self-talk should be thought of as a healthy way of giving ourselves the support we need to get through a moment. As showing up for ourselves and being the friend we need.”
Talking through your concerns can also be a great way to vent and release stress. Just getting the problem out of your system through talking about it can help you feel better. Do you recognize that feeling of relief sometimes after recording a podcast episode? This is precisely what happens to you then!
How it benefits your brain
But it’s not only the part of creating a podcast. Even taking the time to listen to one also benefits your brain. A 2016 study out of UC Berkeley concluded that listening to narrative stories (much like podcasts) can stimulate multiple parts of your brain — so whether it’s that adrenaline rush you get from true crime podcasts or a comedy podcast that boosts your endorphins, there’s truly something out there for everyone.
“Your brain is a complex organ,” explains materials scientist and engineer Titi Shodiya, who hosts the podcast Dope Labs alongside molecular biologist Zakiya Whatley. “At any given moment, various parts of your brain are firing off different messages.” Scientifically speaking, consuming information can activate your mesolimbic pathway, also known as the “reward pathway,” releasing dopamine throughout the brain. This “feel-good” chemical is responsible for pleasure and lighting up your mind’s reward centers. Hello, happy feelings!
In the end, it doesn’t matter if you’re creating a podcast or listening to one. Both will make you feel good. When you make a podcast, you’re mainly venting stress, talking about your problems, or giving yourself the support you need. Listening to a podcast mostly makes you produce happiness hormones. In both cases, you feel relieved, happy and probably your head is empty after the time.
What will you do next after reading this article? Record an episode or listen to your favorite podcast?