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Feel-good UC podcasts for your winter break

Red over-ear headphones

Whether you’re prepping for guests (or cleaning up after them), going for an invigorating walk or simply looking for some off-screen entertainment, podcasts are a great way to connect while disconnecting.

There are many amazing UC-based and -affiliated podcasts — start here for recommendations — but since we could all use a bit of a break, we’ve chosen to highlight our favorite happiness-inspiring and motivating episodes.

Happy listening!

Jon M. Chu on growing up in the Bay and his award-winning films
Celebrities – they’re just like us! Director Jon M. Chu — of “Crazy Rich Asians” and “In the Heights” shares personal stories from growing up in Los Altos (where he boozily met Steve Jobs), filming in freezing water, his Chinese-American experience and more. (Remarkable People)

The journey from a $16 keyboard to a symphony
Listen to the heartwarming story of Joshua Kyan Alampour, a Berkeley student, piano-whiz and symphony composer who was once told he’d never learn to play. (Berkeley Voices)

Metta Sandiford-Artest aka Metta World Peace on self-care
Advocating for mental health in professional sports was not the norm when Metta first became an advocate. Hear from the first NBA World Champion on how helping others by sharing his life story has brought great meaning. (LiveWell UCLA)

Straight talk from fitness expert Jillian Michaels
If you were ever encouraged to leap off the couch after an episode of “The Biggest Loser,” Jillian may be just who you need to hear from to kick off those new year’s resolutions. The fitness guru shares advice on motivation, leadership and more. (Thirty Minute Mentors)

David Byrne on how music connects us
Calling all Talking Heads fans: Hearing David Byrne explore his feelings about life, music and connection is an absolute delight. “Where do you think we’re on a road to? Where are you on a road to?” (The Science of Happiness)

Find out why that song is stuck in your head
Feeling annoyed by that song on repeat… and repeat? UC Davis scientists share what “earworms” mean for our memories and how the brain works. (Unfold)

The fascinating science of bats
You may not start off this podcast being enthralled by bats, but it’s hard not to be captivated by Dr. Alexa Sadier’s enthusiasm. Along the way, you’ll learn fascinating scientific tidbits about our shared biology. (Radio Bio)

Tod Goldberg’s gangster stories
The author of the “Burn Notice” series and many other crime fiction sensations shares his inspirations and why we sometimes want to root for the bad guy.

How sloths inspired a new kind of robot
On a family vacation, Dr. Magnus Egerstedt was fascinated by “tasty seeming,” lounging sloths — so much so that he developed a fascination with all slow-moving things. Learn how this perspective changed his research on robotics. (UCI Podcast)

Did a podcast make you smile this year? Share it with