Wellness

15 Podcasts That Will Leave You Pondering Life's Big Questions

01/08/2015 09:39am ET | Updated January 8, 2015

It's no secret that the constant connectivity made possible by technology can leave us feeling disconnected from ourselves. And there's no better time than now to re-establish that inward connection by using the powers of technology for good.

As paradoxical as it sounds, certain forms of technology, including podcasts, can help us tune into ourselves while remaining "plugged in." And in the world of podcasts, mindfulness is now a legitimate subgenre.

Here are 15 free podcasts that encourage you to think deeply, live in the moment and get to know your true self.

1
On Being
iTunes
In her podcast On Being, Krista Tippett explores life's most meaningful questions through interviews with a variety of scientists, theologians, artists and teachers. Posted every Thursday, these hour-long segments are bound to teach you something new about your existence as an individual in this world.
2
Strangers
iTunes
Described as an "empathy shot in the arm," Strangers is a weekly podcast that shares the true stories of people we meet, how we connect with them, what it's like to lose them, and the power of kindness. In listening to host Lea Thau, you just might begin to question the person you really are as well -- no matter how disquieting that might be.
3
TED Radio Hour by NPR
iTunes
From the adored video speaker series TED Talks comes TED Radio Hour, a podcast that inspires us to think and create in new ways. Based off of the show's best speakers and hosted by Guy Raz, the podcast gives listeners an hour each week to think about the progress of the past and fresh ways to address problems and ideas in the future.
4
Benjamen Walker's Theory of Everything
iTunes
With a balanced blend of humor and seriousness, Benjamen Walker's Theory of Everything podcast challenges you to really think about what's going on in the world and the role you ultimately play in it. His narrative journey works through the topics of art, culture, media and technology, connecting all the dots in between along the way.
5
Bulletproof Radio
iTunes
Tech entrepreneur Dave Asprey is the man behind Bulletproof Radio, a podcast all about streamlining your life and becoming the best version of yourself physically, mentally and emotionally. Each week he brings you the knowledge of doctors, biochemists, nutritionists and meditation experts to help you find this "bulletproof" state within yourself.
6
Stuff To Blow Your Mind
iTunes
From the makers of popular podcast How Stuff Works comes Stuff To Blow Your Mind, a conversational show about the sciences designed for those who don't necessarily have expertise in those areas but are curious to learn more. Co-hosts Robert and Julie answer some of the most curious questions each week, like "How does greed work?" and "Can money buy happiness?"
7
Mindset Zone
iTunes
The Mindset Zone is all about leaving fixed views of the world behind and cultivating what host Ana Melikian, PhD calls a "growth mindset" in their place. Her weekly podcast challenges listeners to stretch their minds, explore the realm of possibilities in their behavior, and consider who they are as individuals.
8
Here Be Monsters
iTunes
Here Be Monsters is a narrative podcast sharing the real-life stories of artists, scientists, philosopher and journalists with a unique, cerebral twist. Through each episode, which is substantially different than the next, narrator Jeff Entman exposes listeners to how life is full of opportunities and why we shouldn't place limitations on ourselves.
9
The Daily Boost
iTunes
For those who need a little extra motivation, self-help podcast The Daily Boostdelivers just what it promises. Host Scott Smith sets out with each show to help you find what makes you happy, reduce your overall stress, find new inspiration and develop skills that help you balance your life.
10
The Partially Examined Life
iTunes
For the deep thinkers without a philosophy degree, there's The Partially Examined Life, a philosophy podcast that explores a new question or concept each week and encourages amateurs to jump right in. Balancing insight with levity, the narrators pick a short text and chat about it in a way that everyone can follow as well as enjoy.
11
All Together from HuffPost Religion
iTunes
Hosted by HuffPost Religion's Executive Editor Rev. Paul Brandeis Raushenbush, All Together is a podcast that explores the roles religious ideas and spiritual beliefs play in shaping our personal lives, our communities and our world. Each half-hour session tackles a current issue in the religious world that will leave you with quite a few new things to think about after listening in.
12
Meditation Oasis
iTunes
Meditation can be one of the best ways to cultivate a sense of mindfulness, and Meditation Oasis is a great place to begin if you want to give it a try in podcast form. Co-hosts Mary and Richard Maddux help listeners relax, be more present and find their flow within life through guided meditations with or without music, as well as instructions for practicing meditation solo.
13
The Greater Good Podcast
iTunes
From UC Berkeley's Greater Good Science Center comes The Greater Good Podcast, an audio show all about the science of a meaningful life. Hosted by Michael Bergeisen, the half-hour podcasts share interviews with top researchers and thinkers discussing the roots of compassion, happiness and morality.
14
A Quiet Mind
iTunes
A Quiet Mind is designed for those looking for an inner sense of happiness, peace and wholeness. Host Robert Jackson shares lessons that are relaxing to listen to and carry wisdom for the ages for anyone hoping to improve the quality of their own life.
15
Invisibilia by NPR
iTunes
This new addition from NPR is one to look for on the mindfulness front. Latin for "all the invisible things," Invisibiliaaddresses the invisible forces in life that affect human behavior through narrative storytelling and scientific research. Co-hosted by Lulu Miller and Alex Spiegel, the podcast launched Dec. 18 with its 4-minute preview, and posts will be 60 minutes long in the future.