How To Be Sad with Helen Russell
Season 3 #8 Kate Bowler

Season 3 #8 Kate Bowler

November 10, 2021

Kate Bowler is a NYT bestselling author; history professor; and ‘an incurable optimist’. Host of the podcast Everything Happens, her TED talk has more than six million views and her book, No Cure for Being Human is a must-read for anyone wanting to find out more about how to be sad, well.

When Kate was just 35 years old, thriving in her career and mother to a very young son, she was diagnosed with incurable colon cancer. This forced her to completely recalibrate and focus in on the things that really mattered: what it means to live life well – particularly when you find you’re approaching its end – sharing the impact that her diagnosis had on her relationship, career, parenting, faith and all the everyday stuff that many of us take for granted. Here, we talk about:

  • navigating life with the knowledge it could end any moment
  • what to say and what not to say
  • financial pressures
  • ‘emotional tourism’
  • faith and loss
  • bucket lists and why Kate won’t be making one
  • how some pain is just for no reason
  • …but life’s still beautiful

Follow Kate on Instagram or Twitter @KatecBowler and check out No Cure for Being Human.

Follow Helen on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook @MsHelenRussell

The book, How To Be Sad is out now in North America and the UK.

Thanks to Joel Grove for production and Matt Clacher at HarperCollins. If you enjoy the show, do leave a review – it really helps us to be able to make more podcasts.

Season 3 #7 Joshua Becker

Season 3 #7 Joshua Becker

November 3, 2021

Today’s guest is Joshua Becker – author, philanthropist, pastor and minimalist.  After a personal epiphany, Becker found that when he began owning less, he had more time. He also had more focus, less stress, fewer distractions and more freedom. Because, he says, ‘every added possession increases the worry in our lives.’ Today, he has two million followers at Becoming Minimalist; he’s the author of five bestselling books; and he’s here today to share his insights about how to be sad, well – and live with less. 

 

Here, we talk:

  • unhelpful motivations (& sibling rivalry)
  • the misconceptions about minimalism
  • Joshua vs TV
  • The Hope Effect
  • Restoring sanity to gift giving
  • Decluttering our goals and habits

 

Follow Joshua on Instagram or Twitter @joshua_becker, visit becomingminimalist.com and hopeeffect.com

Follow Helen on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook @MsHelenRussell

The book, How To Be Sad is out now in North America and the UK.

Thanks to Joel Grove for production and Matt Clacher at HarperCollins. If you enjoy the show, do leave a review – it really helps us to be able to make more podcasts.

BONUS! How to be Sad audiobook extract

BONUS! How to be Sad audiobook extract

October 27, 2021

To celebrate the publication of How to be Sad in America and as a special thank you to listeners of the podcast we are delighted to share this exclusive extract from the audiobook. We will be back with a new episode of How to be Sad with Helen Russell next week.

An expert on the pursuit of happiness combines her powerful personal story with surprising research and expert advice to reveal the secret of finding joy: allowing sadness to enrich your life and relationships.

Helen Russell has researched sadness from the inside out for her entire life. Her earliest memory is of the day her sister died. Her parents divorced soon after, and her mother didn’t receive the help she needed to grieve. Coping with her own emotional turmoil—including struggles with body image and infertility—she’s endured professional and personal setbacks as well as relationships that have imploded in truly spectacular ways. Even the things that brought her the greatest joy—like eventually becoming a parent—are fraught with challenges.

While devoting a career to writing books on happiness, Helen discovered just how many people are terrified of sadness. But the key to happiness is unhappiness—by allowing ourselves to experience pain, we learn to truly appreciate and embrace joy. How to Be Sad is a memoir about living with sadness, as well as an upbeat manifesto for change that encourages us to accept and express our emotions, both good and bad. Interweaving Helen’s personal testimony with the latest research on sadness—from psychologists, geneticists, neuroscientists and historians—as well as the experiences of writers, comics, athletes and change-makers from around the world, this vital and inspiring guide explores why we get sad, what makes us feel this way, and how it can be a force for good. 

Timely and essential, How to Be Sad is about how we can better look after ourselves and each other, simply by getting smarter about sadness. 

Follow Helen on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook @MsHelenRussell

Read more about Helen’s new book, How To Be Sad at Waterstones, Amazon or Apple.

Get in touch with the show at howtobesadpodcast@gmail.com

Thanks to Joel Grove for production and to Matt Clacher at HarperCollins for making this podcast happen.

 

Season 3 #6 Nathaniel Herr

Season 3 #6 Nathaniel Herr

October 20, 2021

Nathaniel Herr is a Professor of Psychology at American University in Washington DC, and an expert in ‘emotional regulation’ – something we should learn in childhood but that many of us miss out on. But by getting better at experiencing, labelling and expressing our emotions as adults, we can ultimately get happier and lead more fulfilled lives. Nathaniel says: “We try to fight sadness: to lessen discomfort as a society, almost on autopilot. Only by doing so, we’re all worse off.” So here, we talk about:

  • why sadness matters (and even spurs creativity)
  • the gendering of sorrow and anger
  • how Baby Boomers changed the way we view emotions
  • where the Pixar film Inside Out got it right – and where it didn’t
  • how to cope during a global pandemic
  • plus why acknowledging – and allowing for –all of our emotions is key

Find out more about Nathaniel’s work at https://www.american.edu/cas/psychology/interpersonal/

Follow Helen on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook @MsHelenRussell

Read more about Helen’s new book, How To Be Sad (Waterstones , Amazon UK or anywhere you like to buy books)

Get in touch with the show at howtobesadpodcast@gmail.com

And as ever, BIG thanks to Joel Grove for production and to Matt Clacher at HarperCollins for making this podcast happen.

Season 3 #5 Dr Julie Smith

Season 3 #5 Dr Julie Smith

October 13, 2021

Today’s guest has 2.8M Followers on TikTok, 420 thousand on Instagram and 30.5M Likes but she’s not your typical social media influencer. Dr Julie Smith is the first mental health professional to start using TikTok as a platform for therapy. She’s the clinical psychologist and former NHS staffer who now works as an online educator - and her daily posts have become a lifeline for many during the pandemic.

She says now: “while there are lots of ways to reduce the intensity of anxiety, you must be willing to experience it. When you can’t stop fear, take it with you. That thing you want to do? Do it scared. Because, she says: The things you do the most become your comfort zone.”

Here, we talk about:

  • how to cope with anxiety and ‘keep standing’ in the waves
  • why therapy should be accessible to all (and funny!)
  • the four signs of loneliness and what to do about them
  • busting therapy jargon (from CBT to ACT, SFBT, Motivational Interviewing and Dialectical Behaviour Therapy)
  • what we can do now to be sad, well

Follow Dr Julie @drjuliesmith on Tik Tok or @drjulie on Instagram and look out for her debut book, published January 2021, entitled (excellently): Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before?

Follow Helen on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook @MsHelenRussell

Read more about Helen’s new book, How To Be Sad (Waterstones , Amazon UK or anywhere you like to buy books)

Get in touch with the show at howtobesadpodcast@gmail.com

And as ever, BIG thanks to Joel Grove for production and to Matt Clacher at HarperCollins for making this podcast happen.

Season 3 #4 Alex Soojung-Kim Pang

Season 3 #4 Alex Soojung-Kim Pang

October 6, 2021

“We all learn the value of rest the hard way,” says today’s guest - a former Silicon Valley tech consultant, visiting scholar at Stanford, and author of Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less. Alex Soojung-Kim Pang argues that the perils of overwork are being woefully overlooked, and they’re making us miserable. He says: ”We’re hitting the wire now - it’s crazy to think how much more work we do than our parents or grandparents did.” In his latest book, Shorter, he also makes a powerful case for the four day week. Since to be sad, well – and live a full life – we need time for reflection. So here, we set the record straight on rest and the dangers of overwork.

 

We talk about:

  • the problems of overwork (and how it makes us ‘bad’ sad)
  • the cult of busyness
  • the truth about the 10,000 hours rule (as feat. in Malcom Gladwell’s Outliers)
  • the pressure to be happy at work
  • how we get more done when we work less
  • boundaries and how to set them
  • why dogs, books and dads help

Find out more about Alex @askpang on Twitter and Instagram and read Rest and Shorter (they’re great!).

Follow Helen on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook @MsHelenRussell

Read more about Helen’s new book, How To Be Sad (Waterstones , Amazon UK or anywhere you like to buy books)

Get in touch with the show at howtobesadpodcast@gmail.com

And as ever, BIG thanks to Joel Grove for production and to Matt Clacher at HarperCollins for making this podcast happen.

Season 3 #3 Ingrid Fetell Lee

Season 3 #3 Ingrid Fetell Lee

September 29, 2021

Many of us these days are getting the memo that a meaningful, fulfilled life comes only from letting go of our attachments to worldly things, but my guest today has other ideas. Ingrid Fetell Lee is a designer and writer whose spent ten years studying the relationship between design and joy. The author of Joyful, and the blog, Aesthetics of Joy, Ingrid argues that a few moments of joy can lift us and help us to be sad, well. She says: “I don’t need to be happy to feel joy…I don’t have to worry about making everything awesome in my life.”

 

Here, we talk about out:

  • how many of us find joy in the material world
  • why colour, bubbles and tree houses matter
  • risk and the vulnerability in pursuing joy
  • how many of the aesthetics of joy have been traditionally viewed as ‘feminine’ – which does all of us a disservice
  • diversity in aesthetics

Find out more about Ingrid at aestheticsofjoy.com, follow her @ingridfetell on Twitter or @ingridfetell on Instagram

Follow Helen on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook @MsHelenRussell

Read more about Helen’s new book, How To Be Sad (Waterstones , Amazon UK or anywhere you like to buy books)

Get in touch with the show at howtobesadpodcast@gmail.com

And as ever, BIG thanks to Joel Grove for production and to Matt Clacher at HarperCollins for making this podcast happen.

 

Season 3 #2 Tracii Guns

Season 3 #2 Tracii Guns

September 22, 2021

This episode is something of a departure - how often do you hear a happiness researcher in conversation with a heavy metal icon? Not often enough, we decided. So today’s guest is the man who put the gun in Guns ‘n Roses and LA Guns. He’s had 10 studio albums with LA Guns, two with Brides of Destruction, he’s worked with them all – oh, and he used to play golf with Eddie Van Halen. His music has been described as sounding like ‘the score to some pagan ceremony, or maybe the music they play on the elevator that takes you down to hell’ and he has, he says, always been ‘attracted to the darkness’.

 

Here, we talk about:

  • how Guns ‘n Roses came about
  • the joys of sex, pizza, rock and roll
  • being an 80s glam metal survivor
  • experiencing the ‘Hollow Ghost’
  • agoraphobia and expectations
  • living Danishly
  • what a good life looks like, now

Follow Tracii on Twitter and Instagram @traciiguns

Follow Helen on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook @MsHelenRussell

Read more about Helen’s new book, How To Be Sad (Waterstones , Amazon UK or anywhere you like to buy books)

Get in touch with the show at howtobesadpodcast@gmail.com

And as ever, BIG thanks to Joel Grove for production and to Matt Clacher at HarperCollins for making this podcast happen.

Season 3 #1 Dr Tal Ben Shahar

Season 3 #1 Dr Tal Ben Shahar

September 15, 2021

Psychologist and New York Times Bestselling author Dr Tal Ben-Shahar taught the most popular course at Harvard on Positive Psychology – but he’s also the perfect guest to help us navigate how to be sad, well.

From a dashed career as an elite squash player to navigating the perils of perfectionism, the fallacy of arrival and the importance of feeling all of our feelings – Tal has explored highs and lows both personally and professionally.

Now, Tal says: ‘One of the major obstacles to becoming happier is the belief that life can and ought to be free of painful emotions.’

 

Here, we talk about

  • positive psychology vs toxic positivity
  • arrival fallacy
  • perfectionism (aka sunk cost’)
  • why we need to embrace ‘wholebeing’
  • the SPIRE model for living and being sad, well
  • what advice Tal would you give to his 21 year old self

Find out more about Tal’s work @TalBenShahar on Twitter or @happiness.studies.academy on Instagram - and his new book, Happiness Studies, is out now.

Follow Helen on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook @MsHelenRussell

Read more about Helen’s new book, How To Be Sad (Waterstones , Amazon UK or anywhere you like to buy books)

Get in touch with the show at howtobesadpodcast@gmail.com

And as ever, BIG thanks to Joel Grove for production and to Matt Clacher at HarperCollins for making this podcast happen.

Season 2 #10 Daisy Buchanan

Season 2 #10 Daisy Buchanan

June 23, 2021

Daisy Buchanan is an award-winning journalist, chart topping podcaster, author of How To Be A Grown Up, The Sisterhood and her latest, Insatiable. As well as being one of the funniest women in print, Daisy has also written incredibly movingly about her own experiences with anxiety, with disordered eating, about her relationship with her body after abuse, as well as many of the agonies of modern life that too often go unexamined – or are met only with shame. Daisy is very good on shaking off shame

and how to be sad, well. She says of sadness now: ‘the worst thing you can do is distract yourself from it. A lot like thrush…’

Here, we talk about:

-       Owning your story
-       How therapy helps
-       Epilepsy and uncertainty
-       Growing up one of six sisters
-       Experiencing abuse
-       The ‘M’ word (money)
-       The joys of Jilly Cooper
-       …plus what advice Daisy would give to her 21 year old self

Follow Daisy @NotRollergirl on Twitter and @thedaisybee on Instagram and check out Insatiable via Bookshop.org link in bio (where you can also find How To Be Sad, the book, plus a host of other podcast guest book recommendations!)Follow Helen on social media @MsHelenRussell

How To Be Sad, the book, is out now.

Thanks to Joel Grove for production and to Matt Clacher at HarperCollins for making this podcast happen.

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