I listen to podcasts and audiobooks all the time. (This blog is not sponsored by audible.com, yet, but it should be.) They make boring tasks like housework go faster. I listen to them all of the time in my car and when walking or running. I feel a little anxious when I don't have anything new on my playlist.
There might be a good reason for that. I was listening to an interview on Sounds True: Insights on the Edge with Kelly McGonigal. She wrote The Willpower Instinct and also has a new audio program out,The Neuroscience of Change: A Compassion-Based Program for Personal Transformation. It's next up on my audible.com wishlist.
The thing that struck me in the interview was something I'm not sure is in the audiobook.While talking with interviewer Tami Simon, McGonigal mentioned that the brain's "default mode" when not otherwise engaged is to resort to fault-finding, of both the self and others. She said that most people think that the brain is resting when not thinking of anything, but neuroscience shows that instead, it starts picking things apart.
I thought that the fact that I do this was a flaw in my own wiring, but now I find that it's a factory-standard Screensaver of Doom. Nothing to do? What can I criticize about myself or the people and things around me? I guess evolution might have favored a mind that was always looking for things that needed to be improved or changed. When I told my husband, who's a high-school teacher, he said the kids that never seem to think are also the ones who are mean.
I wonder if I listen to audiobooks to drown out the negative noise in my head. Vickie has mentioned that she does this, and it does seem that without something to entertain me, I sometimes find it hard to get going.
McGonigal's program seems to be different. It's about learning to be more mindful and present, not tuning out. And, of course, it's about becoming more compassionate.
As I said, I can't wait to get it. When I do, you'll be the first to know.