How To Be Sad with Helen Russell

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

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

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

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