Relaxing podcasts that will reduce stress, soothe anxiety and help you unwind

Experts share their top relaxing podcasts and how to make the most of your podcast experience

woman wearing headphones listening to podcast
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Relaxing podcasts make a great addition to your daily routine, encouraging you to take time for yourself, slow down and unwind whether you listen to them on your morning commute to the office or as you snuggle up in bed at night.  

Often hosted by wellness experts, relaxing podcasts combine soothing music with uplifting topics or mindfulness techniques. The best relaxing podcasts will not only encourage you to indulge in some R&R, but will also provide you with tools and techniques you can use to reduce stress and boost feelings of calm anytime, anywhere. 

Like with the best podcasts for self-improvement, to help you find the most relaxing podcasts we've called on the experts to share their top picks, from holistic wellness coaches to yoga practitioners and psychologists. Plus, how relaxing podcasts actually help to reduce stress levels and their advice for making the most of your listening experience. 

Our edit features much-loved podcasts from bestselling authors, to lesser-known shows that are sure to be on rotation on your smartphone from this moment forward. 

The most relaxing podcasts

1. Mindful in Minutes

Mindful in Minutes Podcast

(Image credit: Apple Podcasts)

Only got a few moments to yourself? Let us introduce you to the Mindful In Minutes podcast, one of the most relaxing podcasts for those of us who are time-poor. Hosted by the founder of Yoga For You Kelly Smith, episodes are short and simple guided meditations and released on a weekly basis. 

"These podcast episodes are perfect when I don't have much time, but want a short guided meditation," health coach and menopause wellbeing practitioner Sally Sidani-Wilkinson from Re-Balance By Sally tells us.

Each guided meditation is 20-minutes or less, and focuses on topics such as anxiety, insomnia and manifestation. Kelly's soothing voice and relaxing soundtracks will have you tapping into your inner Zen in minutes.

2. Meditation Minis

Meditation Minis podcast

(Image credit: Apple Podcasts)

The Meditation Minis series is another great relaxing podcast for those who find meditation difficult and are short on time. Wondering how to relax your mind? These 10-minute or less guided meditations will help soothe anxiety and reduce stress. 

"This is a great podcast for those that find it hard to focus, or live with an over-analytical mind," says global skin and wellness expert Marie Reynoldswho also hosts the Good Vibes Only podcast. "Each episode provides bite-sized exercises that are great for beginners or people who find it really difficult to concentrate."

Guided by hypnotherapist Chel Hamilton, episodes include meditations for reducing anxiety, letting go, sparking joy and releasing pain. 

3. Good Vibes Only

Good Vibes Only Podcast

(Image credit: Apple Podcasts)

From wellness expert Marie Reynolds, the Good Vibes Only podcast explores the world of wellness with the help of other leading holistic experts. 

In each episode, Marie speaks with guests about everything from stress and anxiety to sleep and skin issues. Not only is it a great podcast to unwind to at the end of the day, but you're certain to learn something new about holistic living and gain hacks you can incorporate into your own lifestyle. Previous guests included celebrity astrologer Israel Ajose and host of podcast Skincare Anarchy, Dr Ekta Yadav.

4. Soul Music

Soul Music podcast

(Image credit: Apple Podcasts)

If you find it difficult to relax or struggle to meditate, let me introduce you to BBC Radio 4's Soul Music.

A podcast series diving into the powerful emotional impact of music, Soul Music will help you relax and unwind at the end of a long day. It features insider information on the stories behind iconic tunes such as Prince's Purple Rain, Ray Charles' Take Me Home, Country Roads and David Bowie's Life on Mars? 

The perfect soundtrack to a Sunday reset, enjoy the journey through soulful hits and their emotional impact as you prep for the week ahead. 

5. Sleep Meditation

Sleep Meditation podcast

(Image credit: Apple Podcasts)

The Sleep Meditation podcast by counselor and meditation teacher Lauren Ostrowski Fenton will help you master how to fall asleep fast and sleep better. The guided sleep meditations are designed to help you unwind at night and encourage a peaceful night's rest. 

"These calming guided meditations really help me fall asleep faster and sleep more deeply," Sidani-Wilkinson tells us. Each episode has a theme, with guided meditations to boost resilience, soothe an anxious mind, manifest your biggest dreams and more. Most episodes are around one to two hours, and it's one of the best podcasts to fall asleep to.

6. The Calmer You

The Calmer You Podcast

(Image credit: Apple Podcasts)

Hosted by hypnotherapist, coach and author of The Anxiety Solution and The Confidence Solution Chloe Brotheridge, The Calmer You podcast helps to reduce anxiety, quieten your inner critic and life a calmer, more confident life - and, it's one of the best podcasts for mental health

"I love this podcast because Chloe shares real tools and techniques for relieving anxiety and burnout, managing stress, boosting confidence and finding balance in life," says Sidani-Wilkinson.

In each episode, Chloe explores a wellbeing topic alone or with the help of experts in the wellness space. Past guests have included mindfulness author Dr David Hamilton, and relationships speaker and Sunday Times bestselling author Toni Tone. 

7. The Awaken Podcast

Awaken Podcast

(Image credit: Apple Podcasts)

The Awaken Podcast is a weekly series, hosted by mindfulness teacher Angus Ford-Robertson. It's like listening in on a chat between friends, as Angus sits down for a Q&A with experts in the wellbeing field to discuss everything from meditation and mindfulness, to the importance of kindness and how to let go of difficult feelings. 

"I like listening to The Awaken Podcast, because I can just switch it on and not think too much about it, the topics aren't too heavy," explains Reynolds. 

8. Reset

Reset Podcast

(Image credit: Apple Podcasts)

Reset with Liz Tran is described as a "wellness podcast for those who want to learn and grow". Liz is an executive coach to founders and CEOs, and attributes her success to her mindfulness and Buddhist practice. 

The Reset podcast is a favorite with mindset coach and yoga practitioner Maud Eeckman, and it's not hard to see why. In each episode, Liz combines spiritual lessons with professional advice to help her listeners live  in a more meaningful way.

Previous episodes include The Anti-Anxiety Toolkit, Habits That Help You Love Yourself and The Joy Of Imperfection - all of which will help you switch-off at the end of the day, while learning science-backed tools you can implement into your own life to reduce feelings of stress. 

Do podcasts help reduce stress?

It might surprise you, but there are lots of benefits of listening to podcasts for your overall wellbeing - from improved focus to increased productivity and even a reduction in stress levels. However, it's important to note that the impact a podcast has on your body and mind will depend on the type of podcast you are listening to. 

For example, if you're listening to a true crime podcast and stimulating your brain it's likely to trigger the 'fight or flight' response and boost adrenaline in the body as you listen in anticipation of what will happen next. But, when it comes to relaxing podcasts, thanks to the chilled music, sounds or stories, the brain releases feel-good hormones that are known for their stress-reducing effect.

Reynolds explains: "Podcasts can calm the analytical mind, encourage oxytocin production that brings about relaxation. When you feel calm and relaxed, neurotransmitters in the brain engage calming hormones, which help to reduce stress-inducing cortisol and increase those oxytocin levels."

The soothing sounds and narratives in relaxing podcasts bring the body into a state of calm and help to soothe an anxious mind.  

But, it's not just about feeling calm, relaxing podcasts like those listed above, can also help bring you into the present moment and broaden your perspective. “These podcasts offer a chance to welcome new ideas and opinions on wellness, and get you out of your head and what you do on autopilot and into the story or lesson within the podcast," adds Eeckman. 

Tips for getting the most our of your relaxing podcast

  • Be fully present: “Try not to do anything else that involves cognitive functioning while listening to your podcast. Be fully present and practise active listening,” says Eeckman. 
  • Journal after listening: Often when we take time to pause, thoughts or feelings under the surface may start to bubble up. If this happens, Eeckman suggests journalling after the podcast and reflecting on what has come up for you. 
  • Put your phone on aeroplane mode: “This is a must,” says Reynolds. This is your time for you, to relax and be present. You don’t want phone calls or notifications distracting you, so make sure to put your phone on silent or switch to aeroplane mode. 
  • Get comfortable: Reynolds suggests finding a warm, quiet and comfortable place to listen to your podcast. Make it an experience you'll really enjoy.
  • Don't force yourself to feel relaxed: This is key. “You should allow your breathing to be organic,” Reynolds adds. “Forced breathing may actually bring on anxiety for some people, so it is better to be aware of your breath rather than force big gasps of breath, once the organic breathing is in the consciousness, then you can direct the breath deeper and slower.”
  • Enjoy this time: “You have nowhere else to be, nothing else to think about. This time is for you, so relax and enjoy it,” encourages Sidani-Wilkinson. We’re often rushing around supporting other people, but it’s important we take time to look after our own wellbeing, too and a listening to a relaxing podcast could be just the ticket. 
Ciara McGinley

Ciara McGinley is a meditation practitioner and health journalist. She qualified as a meditation teacher with the British School of Meditation in 2020 and is the founder of Finding Quiet, a series of classes, workshops and retreats that combine meditation practices and mindfulness techniques to make mindful living realistic in an always-switched-on modern world. She is all about bettering that mind-body connection but believes wellness looks different to everyone.

Ciara is also the former Health Channel Editor at woman&home and has covered all things health and wellbeing for years, from fitness to sleep to relationships.