How To Be Sad with Helen Russell
Season 4 #7 Whitney Goodman

Season 4 #7 Whitney Goodman

March 2, 2022

Whitney Goodman is the radically honest psychotherapist behind the hugely popular Instagram account @sitwithwhit and the author of Toxic Positivity – something she describes ‘as a form of gaslighting’. Here, she explains how meeting struggles with platitudes can shut us down, make us feel shame, or even that we are no longer allowed to feel at all. I wanted to speak to Whitney now, more than ever, at a time when the world is experiencing so much hurt that the idea of burying our heads in the sand and just ‘looking on the bright side’ feels unfathomable. So forget ‘good vibes only’, we’re here for ALL the vibes as we talk about:

 

  • exaggerated claims about positive thinking
  • happiness and health: causation vs coronation
  • the physical impact of suppressing our emotions
  • the shame spiral
  • why we don’t always have to be grateful
  • how ‘manifesting’ can be damaging
  • when affirmations don’t work
  • toxic positivity and discrimination
  • radical acceptance and how to reach it
  • why we’re more creative and more successful when we face up to problems

 

Follow Whitney @sitwithwhit on Instagram and Twitter, and check out her new book Toxic Positivity.

 

Share your thoughts on social media @MsHelenRussell and if you’d like more, the paperback of How To Be Sad is out now - wherever you get your books.

 

Thanks as ever to Joel Grove for production and Matt Clacher at HarperCollins – and I would love it if you could rate, review, subscribe, share, tell anyone who might need to hear this so that we can spread the message: feeling ALL our feelings is OK.  

Season 4 #6 Laura Friedman Williams

Season 4 #6 Laura Friedman Williams

February 23, 2022

My guest today met her husband when she was 19. Three kids and 27 years later, he fell in love with another woman. For several months after finding out, she did little aside from scrape herself off the floor and care for her kids, through their misery and her own. She says of this time: ‘I felt like I was either going to die or learn how to live again’. Laura chose life – as well as learning to sit with pain as a lifelong optimist. Laura Friedman Williams is my guest today - the author of Available: A Memoir of Sex and Dating After a Marriage Ends.

 

Here, we talk about:

 

  • Feeling invisible
  • Losing the future we planned
  • The shame problem
  • Learning to grieve
  • Being ‘good enough’
  • What family means now
  • Starting over (& ‘sex treadmills’)

Follow Laura @laurafriedmanwilliams on Instagram or @LauraFWInNYC on Twitter and Available: A Memoir of Sex and Dating After a Marriage Ends is out now.

My book, How To Be Sad – the key to a happier life – is now out in paperback wherever you get your books. Get in touch @MsHelenRussell and or howtobesadpodcast@gmail.com

 

Thanks to Joel Grove and Matt Clacher at HarperCollins for production.

Season 4 #5 Tova Leigh

Season 4 #5 Tova Leigh

February 16, 2022

Tova Leigh is a writer and performer with a global community of 1.6m fans worldwide. Born in Israel, where she practised as a lawyer, Tova moved to the UK to study acting before becoming a household name with her hilarious and honest takes on parenthood, marriage, body confidence and sex. Through her Amazon Prime documentary Mom Life Crisis, bestselling books and podcast, she speaks with frankness and vulnerability about the pressures of modern life as well as ‘the crisis’ years that many of us will face and the normal sadness of just being human.

Here, we talk about:

-       ‘The crisis’ and losing your identity

-       Overcoming fear

-       How to have a difficult conversation (spoiler: have it more than once)

-       hiding our true selves when we’re younger 

-       social media and mental health

-       monogamy and other myths

-       how to be sexual in your 40s

-       secrets, confessions and shame 

Follow Tova on Instagram @tova_leigh or Facebook @mythoughtsaboutstuff

Follow Helen @MsHelenRussell and the book, How To Be Sad is out now IN PAPERBACK!

Thanks to Joel Grove for production and Matt Clacher at HarperCollins.

Reviews really help others find us and help us to make more episodes – and you can email the show with any issues you’d like us to cover or guests you’d like to hear more of on howtobesadpodcast@gmail.com

Season 4 #4 Mark Rice-Oxley

Season 4 #4 Mark Rice-Oxley

February 9, 2022

From the outside, life looked great for Mark Rice-Oxley - an editor on a national newspaper – The Guardian - with a happy marriage and three children. But in 2009, he suffered a major episode of depression that took him away from his work, leaving him reliant on medication and professional help for months. He wrote about his experiences in Underneath the Lemon Tree: A Memoir of Depression and Recovery and says now: life is not a linear chart that goes up. It’s a messy scatter graph of moments and experiences, some joyful, others painful. Here, we talk about:

  • preconceptions about mental illness
  • triggers and burnout
  • being ‘good enough’
  • prevention vs cure
  • psychological flexibility
  • the joys of hobbies (& singing whenever possible…)

 

Follow Mark @markriceoxley69 on Twitter, see more of his work at https://www.theguardian.com/profile/mark-rice-oxley

 

Follow Helen on social media @MsHelenRussell and the paperback of How To Be Sad is out now https://bit.ly/howtobesadpaperback - or wherever you get your books.

 

Thanks as ever to Joel Grove for production and Matt Clacher at HarperCollins – and if you like the podcast, rate, review and subscribe so you never miss an episode.

 

BONUS! Helen Russell on The Happiness Lab Podcast

BONUS! Helen Russell on The Happiness Lab Podcast

February 2, 2022

This is a special, bonus episode where the tables are turned and I’m the one interviewed by none other than Laurie Santos, Yale professor and host of The Happiness Lab podcast.

 

On The Happiness Lab, Dr Laurie Santos shares evidence-based research that challenges what we think it means to live a happy life. This season, she’s helping listeners navigate something most of us avoid: so-called ‘bad’ feelings – with guests including the wonderful Julia Samuel, Brené Brown, Adam Grant and…me!

 

In this episode, we talk about:

  • why our view of sadness needs to be rehabilitated
  • how we react to sadness in a variety of unhelpful ways
  • why we try to suppress sadness
  • experiencing guilt - and apologising for feeling

…because, spoiler alert, sadness will touch us all - so to be happier and more resilient we need to accept the emotion. You can hear more episodes of The Happiness Lab at https://link.chtbl.com/helenrussellhappinesslab @lauriesantos on Twitter and @ lauriesantosofficial on Instagram.

Follow me @MsHelenRussell - and the book, How To Be Sad is out now in the US (hardback, HarperOne) and the UK (in paperback! @4th Estate)

 

I’ll be back next week with another very special guest for more on how learning to be sad may be the key to a happier life. If you enjoy the podcast, I’d be utterly delighted if you could rate, review and subscribe so you never miss an episode.

 

Thanks so much to Joel Grove for production and Matt Clacher at HarperCollins for making the podcast happen.

Season 4 #3 Jo Piazza and Christine Pride

Season 4 #3 Jo Piazza and Christine Pride

January 26, 2022

My guests today are Jo Piazza and Christine Pride. Jo is a bestselling journalist and author, Christine is her esteemed editor and a publishing veteran. Working together, the pair became friends and now they’ve written a novel together.

We are Not Like Them is the story of a lifelong friendship between a Black woman named Riley and a white woman named Jen. When an event throws their friendship into turmoil, they have to do a lot of racial reckoning and coming to terms with the blind spots that they - and many of us – have around race. At How To Be Sad we are all about learning to handle sadness, better, learning to tolerate discomfort and get better at difficult conversations. And We Are Not Like Them is a masterclass in difficult conversations – not only for its characters Jen and Riley, but for its authors. Here, we talk about:

-       Why it’s hard to talk about race

-       Interracial friendships

-       Cancel culture

-       Having difficult conversations (more than once)

-       The mental load of ‘double-consciousness’

-       Exceptionalism

-       Formative female friendships

-       Infertility

Follow Christine Pride @cpride on Instagram and Jo Piazza @jopiazzaauthor (Instagram) or @jopiazza (Twitter). Their thought-provoking, compelling, page-turner We Are Not Like Them is out now.

Follow Helen @MsHelenRussell and How To Be Sad, the book, is out now in the North America and out in paperback in the UK.

 

Thanks to Joel Grove for production and Matt Clacher at HarperCollins. If you like the show please tell your friends, rate and review to help us attract more great guests!

Season 4 #2 Mitch Albom

Season 4 #2 Mitch Albom

January 19, 2022

My guest today is Mitch Albom - American author, journalist, and musician - whose books have sold 40 million copies worldwide. Having achieved national success as a sports writer in his early career, in 1997 he published Tuesdays With Morrie, an account of the weekly reunions with his old college professor Morrie Schwartz.

Morrie was dying when Mitch made contact with him and the book is a poignant recollection of the wisdoms passed down from teacher to former pupil. It went on to spend four years on the NYT bestseller list, became the bestselling memoir of all time and was made into an Emmy Award winning film, produced by Oprah Winfrey.

Mitch went on to write nine more bestsellers including his latest, The Stranger in the Lifeboat. He’s known for the inspirational stories and themes that weave through his work. and says: ‘I like to say that I don’t write about death, I write about life. Death just gets your attention’.

 

Here, we talk about:

-       The lessons he learned from Morrie

-       How a loss is an opportunity to wake up (and show up)

-       Why we should all slow down

-       ‘Losing your cynicism’

-       Howling at the moon and hard feelings

-       How death ends a life not a relationship

-       Giving back and acts of service

 

Follow Mitch on Instagram and Twitter @MitchAlbom and The Stranger in the Lifeboat is out now.

 

Follow Helen @MsHelenRussell and the paperback of How To Be Sad is out TOMORROW - January 20th - and you can pre order/pick up a copy wherever you like to get your books.

 

Thanks as ever to Joel Grove for production and Matt Clacher at HarperCollins – and if you like the podcast, please do rate, review and subscribe so you get a lovely ping from us each week when a new episode is released.

Season 4 #1 Emily Dean

Season 4 #1 Emily Dean

January 12, 2022

When writer, radio presenter and podcaster Emily Dean lost her sister to cancer, her world caved in. Within three years, both her parents had died too. She felt as though she’d never be able to move on with such grief – but then along came a shih tzu called Ray and some surprising ways to keep going and find joy again. Emily is a total delight to spend time with, as well as warm, wise and hilarious – as listeners of her radio show with Frank Skinner will know.

Here, we talk about:

- Unusual upbringings and family roles

- ‘Being’ versus ‘seeming’

- survivors guilt and limitless grief

- how to support someone who’s grieving

- running away from sadness … and how to sit with it

- therapy and The Hoffman Process

- writing her own story

 

Read Emily’s brilliant book, Everyone Died So I Got A Dog and follow Emily on Instagram @emilyrebeccadean or Twitter @Divine_Miss_Em

Follow Helen @MsHelenRussell and the book, How To Be Sad, is out in paperback January 20th available to pre-order now.

Thanks to Joel Grove for production and Matt Clacher at HarperCollins.

Reviews really help others find us and help us to make more episodes – and you can email the show with any issues you’d like us to cover or guests you’d like to hear more of on howtobesadpodcast@gmail.com

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.

Podbean App

Play this podcast on Podbean App