For the past 18 months or so, Librarian Trish McPherson has made a conscious effort to limit her news consumption and doom scrolling. She’s instead turned to podcasts – particularly those that are inspiring, hopeful, and happy (as the names below suggest). If you need a break, check out one of these. They might put a smile on your face. 

10 Percent Happier – Dan Harris, an ABC news journalist and anchor, hosts this podcast. This show, and Harris’s book by the same name, came about after he suffered a very public on-air panic attack in 2004, while delivering the news. That incident led Harris on a journey of self-discovery. As part of that journey, Harris sought help for depression and anxiety, gave up recreational drugs, and embraced meditation. The Apple Podcast Preview sums up the show well: “Guests include legendary meditation teachers -- from the Dalai Lama to Western masters -- as well as scientists, and even the odd celebrity. But the show also ventures beyond meditation, bringing on leading researchers in areas such as social anxiety, bias, creativity, productivity, and relationships.”  

The Science of Happiness – One recent episode featured Talking Heads front man David Byrne discussing the incredible power of music to bring happiness to individuals. He described how it helped him find comfort as an introverted youngster and joy as he brought his music to the world. According to the Apple Podcast Preview, this podcast will help listeners “learn research-tested strategies for a happier, more meaningful life, drawing on the science of compassion, gratitude, mindfulness, and awe. Hosted by award-winning UC Berkeley professor Dacher Keltner. Co-produced by PRX and UC Berkeley's Greater Good Science Center.”  

The Happiness Lab with Dr. Laurie Santos – Laurie Santos is a Yale Psychology professor (and New Bedford High School graduate) whose class “Psychology and the Good Life” became that institution's most popular course ever. In this podcast, Santos and her guests explore the science of happiness. For those interested, a version of Dr. Santos’s Yale course is available for free on Coursera.  

Films to be Buried With: With Brett Goldstein - Any Ted Lasso fans out there? You’ll know Brett Goldstein as retired AFC Richmond footballer/turned coach Roy Kent. This podcast’s format is a bit odd.  Goldstein brings on his guests, tells them that they have died, and asks them to reflect on their lives through a set of seemingly simple questions: “What is the first film you remember watching?”, “What film made you cry the hardest?”, “What movie have you watched over and over again.” The answers are anything but simple and his guests reveal a lot about themselves through their responses, leading the way to deep discussions about childhood, relationships, heartbreak, sorrow, love and happiness.  

Happy listening.