How To Be Sad with Helen Russell
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.

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.

Podbean App

Play this podcast on Podbean App