How To Be Sad with Helen Russell
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.

Season 2 #9 Rebecca Schiller

Season 2 #9 Rebecca Schiller

June 16, 2021

Writer and campaigner Rebecca Schiller moved her family to a rural smallholding in the hope of a simpler life. But she soon found that life wasn’t any simpler and was a damn sight harder in many ways. She has written movingly about how we can never escape ourselves – no matter how much we try – as well as her experiences with depression, anxiety, and living with undiagnosed ADHD until recently.

Rebecca says now: ‘everyone – including me – wants neat and happy endings to stories of chasing a dream. Society encourages us to believe that we are one thing or the other: happy or sad, good or bad, right or wrong; that we must pick an angle’. But we’re all beginning to understand that life is a little more complicated than that - and as Rebecca has also written: ‘nature is not a simple fix’.

 

Here, we talk about:

  • Neurodiversity and how it’s misunderstood
  • The positive aspects of having a ‘different’ brain
  • How at our lowest ebb, something profound shifts
  • Rejection and learning to understand it
  • Parenting and the importance of risk
  • Being kinder to ourselves. Starting now…

Follow Rebecca @schillerrrrr on Twitter and @rebecca.schiller on Instagram and check out Earthed via Bookshop.org (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.

 

Season 2 #8 Baz Ashmawy

Season 2 #8 Baz Ashmawy

June 9, 2021

Baz Ashmawy is an Irish radio and television star whose series, 50 ways to kill your mammy, won him an Emmy. He’s also a podcaster, dad of six and an outspoken advocate for feeling all the feels. Born in Libya to an Egyptian dad an Irish mum, he moved to Ireland age 6. One of the few dual heritage families in his part of Dublin suburbia at that time. His father left when Baz was just seven, an experience that had a profound effect on him and his sense of identity. He’s experienced the highs and lows of fame and family life; come back from the brink more than once; and learned a few lessons about how to be sad, well along the way. Now, he says, these experiences have helped him become who he is today

 

Here we talk about:

  • Growing up dual heritage in Ireland in the 1980s
  • His dad leaving ‘in search of happiness’
  • Ageing, fear and pushing past comfort zones
  • Taking ownership of sadness
  • Toxic masculinity
  • What happens when one of your lungs collapses on a transatlantic flight
  • Days when all you want to do is stay in bed
  • Being ‘on’ and the pressure to perform
  • How the joy of winning an Emmy only lasts for a week. After that? Is the little things, like steak for dinner or walking the dog

Follow Baz @bazashmawy on Twitter and @bashmawy on Instagram

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.

Season 2  #7 Matthew Ashton

Season 2 #7 Matthew Ashton

June 2, 2021

My guest today is the toy designer Matthew Ashton - Vice President of design at Lego; Executive Producer on the Lego Movies; head judge on Lego Masters UK; creator of Unikitty and the man behind Lego’s first ever LGBTQ+ set – the rainbow inspired Everyone is Awesome. The set represents a huge milestone both for Lego and for Matthew personally, who has spoken out about the struggles he faced growing up as an LGBTQ+ kid in the 1980s and 90s.

He says: ‘being told what I should play with, how I should walk, how I should talk, what I should wear – the message I always got was that somehow I was ‘wrong’. I wish, as a kid, I had looked at the world and thought: ‘This is going to be OK, there’s a place for me’. I wish I’d seen an inclusive statement that said ‘everyone is awesome’” - and so, he made it himself.

He’s putting it out there into the world to mark the start of Pride Month.

 

Here, we talk about:

 

- Growing up under section 28

- ‘Throwing like a girl’

- Learning to ‘breathe’ for the first time

- Lego (& other life changing moments)

- Breaking down (even when you have the best job in the world)

- …and building back up again

- Why therapy takes patience

- Finding purpose, now

Follow Matthew on Instagram @matthew__ashton or on Twitter @matthew__ashton

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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