8 Benefits of Podcasts

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Do you enjoy podcasts yet? Here are 8 benefits of podcasts and why listening to them can greatly add to your life.

Thousands of top quality podcasts are regularly being recorded that either inform or entertain their audiences, and they can all be listened to in any type of environment you could think of.

Aside from getting informed, there are many ways to benefit from listening to podcasts so we hope you get inspired to listen!

1. They’re free entertainment (usually)

People dancing and singing in front of an illuminated Free sign.
One benefit of podcasts is they’re free (most of the time).

Podcasts are, by and large, offered for free. Audiobooks can be purchased for about $15 apiece, usually delivering between eight and twenty hours of listening.

Meanwhile, even though you can get hundreds of hours of entertainment from programs like Fresh Air or The Nerdist, you don’t have to pay a cent for podcasts.

You can contribute to crowdfunding campaigns if you want to support the shows you particularly enjoy, but you almost always have the option to listen to podcasts for free.

A good example of a free and popular podcast is The Joe Rogan Experience. You can listen to and watch it on the Spotify app for free. Joe Rogan has a focus on standup and gets over 200 million downloads each month, making him one of the top 10 podcasts in the world.

2. You can listen to them anywhere

You probably can’t watch a TV show while you’re biking. Nor can you play a video game as you’re looking at groceries. A listening device and some earbuds, though, can follow you anywhere.

Whether you’re in your home, on a walk, in your car, at a store or any number of other places, it’s easy as can be to put in your headphones and listen to the latest episodes of your favorite podcast.

3. You’ll get less bored with your music library

Even the largest music libraries on MP3 players and smartphones can get tired.

Listening to podcasts give you a breather from music. By taking a break from your tunes, you can be excited about them all over again when you return to them.

4. They’re usually conversations instead of stories

Unlike audiobooks, in which an author narrates a story, podcast episodes generally consist of conversations between two or more individuals. That back-and-forth has a lot of advantages over the typical one-person narration found in books on tape.

A conversation often feels more natural than someone telling you a story. You get to hear people bounce off each other and build off what others say. A podcast isn’t as structured as a book, so it has more opportunities for interesting tangents and divergences that make the listening more unpredictable. There is also voice inflection and pitch, which helps people interpret words differently.

Perhaps best of all, you can tune in and out of a podcast. Whereas with an audiobook, you can easily become lost if you lose your focus even for a minute, a podcast episode gives you a lot of chances to jump back into the fold. That leads to our next point…

5. They’re perfect for mindless chores

A hand washing a fork under running water.
Podcasts can make chores seem like they’re going faster.

A number of tasks don’t require a lot of brain power, such as driving to work and cleaning the house. A good podcast is a great way to help pass the time, letting you immerse yourself in an enlightening conversation over the airwaves, even though you’re scrubbing toilets or washing sinks in real life.

6. You can learn about a subject, an industry, etc.

Benefit of podcasts on a laptop while working.
You can learn from podcasts almost anywhere.

Learning new information is a huge benefit of podcasts. Podcasts aren’t only good entertainment but also a great education.

The time you’d normally spend doing those mindless chores or exercising can be used to help you prepare for the next phase of your career.There are a ton of shows out there that teach you about specific fields of study and career paths.

For example, the productivity and technology-focused podcasts Supercharged and Back to Work, both on the 5by5 network, would probably be of interest to many people reading this; nearly every subject you can think of is well-covered.

Whether you want to learn about the entertainment industry, applied sciences, theme parks or any number of other things, there’s a podcast out there to teach you.

7. Improve listening comprehension

Audio content is a great way to improve your listening comprehension and listening skills as well. You are gaining more exposure to the use of grammar, slang, and pronunciation. The more words you hear and learn, the bigger your vocabulary becomes and the easier it will be for you to speak.

8. Avoid the bias found in mainstream media

With podcasts, you are no longer limited to how you can hear the news. Podcasts introduce variety and offer more perspectives on each topic than you would get with television or radio alone. This means more diversity and the freedom of original thought.

Tuning out bias in media is also a great way to Change Your Mindset and see the world in a new light.

What happens to your brain when you are podcast listening?

According to Podcasthosting.com, at least 55% of Americans have listened to at least one podcast. More than 37% claim to listen to a podcast monthly. But how many times have you stopped to actually think about what is happening in your brain as you listen?

Titi Shodiya, one of the hosts of the popular podcast Dope Labs, says, “At any given moment, various parts of your brain are firing off different messages.”

When we consume information like we do when listening to a podcast, it activates our reward pathway and releases dopamine. Dopamine is the feel-good chemical that is responsible for pleasure.

Let’s take a quick look at what happens when podcasting listening to certain genres:

Meditation Podcasts

A meditation podcast helps power down the mind. It is soothing to the brain and helps with the release of oxytocin. This is the love hormone often associated with empathy and trust. According to Medical News Today, oxytocin can reduce anxiety and stress.

Popular Meditation Podcasts:

  • Tara Brach: You can listen to this podcast on Apple Podcasts and Spotify. Brach is a meditation teacher and author. She speaks about mindfulness meditation and self-compassion.
  • The Mindful Minute With Meryl Arnett: This meditation teacher focuses on how mindfulness can improve our daily lives. You can listen to a podcast episode on Apple Podcast, Android, and Google Podcasts.

Comedy Podcasts

We have all heard that laughter is the best medicine, right? Listening to a comedy podcast episode activates your frontal lobe and cerebral cortex. This can trigger laughter, surprise, and delight. This can lower cortisol levels, helping manage stress.

Popular Comedy Podcasts:

  • SmartLess: Jason Bateman, Will Arnett, and Sean Hayes host the SmartLess podcast. Each week they have a different mystery guest podcast interview. Each podcast episode is highly entertaining, making it stupidly famous.
  • The Adam Buxton Podcast: Adam Buxton is a Brit comic who is famous for the line of questioning he often takes with his podcast guest each week. He interviews celebrities you rarely get to hear from.

True Crime Podcasts

When you listen to a true crime podcast, you are probably on the hunt for something more stimulating and challenging. Your brain begins to process more suspenseful information, increasing adrenaline production.

When you listen to a true crime podcast, you may feel a rush that ultimately releases endorphins. It can lead to the production of serotonin and dopamine, both of which are feel good chemicals. You may be scared, but you love the feeling.

Popular True Crime Podcasts:

  • My Favorite Murder: This is a good place to start if you are a true crime junkie. Each podcast episode streams biweekly. Comedians and hosts Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark talk about the cases that often keep them up at night. Dedicated podcast listeners are referred to as murderinos.
  • Morbid: A True Crime Podcast: This podcast is hosted by Alaina Urquhart and Ashleigh Kelley. They discuss serial killers, mysterious deaths, and other subjects that fall under the true crime subgenre, including myths and spooky places.

How do I listen to a podcast?

You can find and download top podcasts from such places as iTunes and Stitcher, as well as in apps like Downcast and Pocket Casts. Once you have downloaded the app you want, you can then navigate to the podcast section and look around. Once you find something that interests you, simply hit play and enjoy the benefits of podcasts in any genre.

If you choose to use the Spotify app on your phone to listen to podcasts, your subscription carries over to that platform.

You can also download podcast episodes directly to your computer or device as MP3 files. Look at podcasts as an on-demand internet radio show. You can listen to certain episodes or subscribe to podcasts using an RSS feed. If you subscribe, you will be notified when a new podcast is available for listening.

Are podcasts free?

At the beginning of this article, we did mention how you can listen to many podcasts for free. Even if you subscribe to a podcast, it most likely remains free in many cases. All Amazon Music tiers offer a good selection of podcasts at no additional cost. They also have a live streaming partnership with Twitch.

When it comes to Spotify, the paid content will have a lock icon showing it requires a subscription. The lock button will display where you would typically see the play button. If you subscribe to a paid podcast through Spotify, you can listen to the podcast feed inside of Spotify or through a third-party podcast app.

If there is a paid podcast, you can expect to pay between $3 and $15 monthly. Apple Podcasts, for example, offer millions of episodes completely free. However, some channels offer additional content, like premium shows that can be purchased through a monthly or annual subscription.

Final Thoughts

Have you already listened to some of the top podcasts? Do you want to listen to more? We We hope learning the benefits of podcasts will have you ready to try some new ones and find a new favorite.

If you already have a favorite podcast that helps you in any way, let us know below!

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Natalie Seale

Natalie Seale is a writer and researcher with an MA, MSc, and PhD in History from the University of Edinburgh. Natalie is an avid reader, a keen traveller, and enjoys cooking and walking with her English Spaniel. Her posts focus on inspiring ideas and tips that help people learn, gro, and inspire others.

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