How To Be Sad with Helen Russell
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.

Season 2 #6 Sophie Walker

Season 2 #6 Sophie Walker

May 26, 2021

Sophie Walker is a journalist, activist and former politician. She spent 20 years at Reuters and after a long and trying journey supporting her daughter through a diagnosis of autism, started campaigning for disability rights. She went on to help create the Women’s Equality Party and ran for London Mayor in 2016. Sophie now works for the feminist law firm, McAllister Olivarius and is the author of Five Rules for Rebellion, Let’s Change the World Ourselves. Sophie says now: ‘We can only do this together.  Our plan to save the world has to ensure that you can keep going when I’m flagging, - and that I can keep going when you’re flagging.’

Here, Sophie and Helen talk about:

  • Burnout, bravery and being ‘good enough’
  • The power of anger (in a society that doesn’t like angry women)
  • How bad we are at accepting difference and SEN (special educational needs)
  • ‘The realisation that no one is coming to your rescue’
  • …and how to roll your sleeves up and get on with it
  • Finding a community
  • Activism and how to be a part of it
  • The importance of hope

Follow Sophie @SophieRunning on Twitter and @sophiewalker_official 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 #5 Jody Day

Season 2 #5 Jody Day

May 19, 2021

Jody Day is the founder of Gateway Women, the global support network for childless women - now celebrating its 10th Anniversary. Jody is also a psychotherapist and author of Living the Life Unexpected: How to Find Hope, Meaning and a Fulfilling Future Without Children - the book The British Medical Journal now recommend to patients coming to terms with unavoidable childlessness.  Jody says of childlessness: ‘in no way do I wish to diminish the heartbreak you might be feeling right now - I’ve been there; it’s the darkest place I’ve ever been. You never ‘get over’ childlessness, it’s not the flu, but it is possible to heal around it.’

Here, Jody and Helen talk about:

-        Jody’s journey

-        How IVF isn’t a magic bullet

-        PTSD and fertility treatment

-        Childless or child free - how the terms aren’t interchangeable

-        Unhelpful cultural ideas around not having children

-        Painful things people say

-        …and what to say back (‘I’m not ‘childless Google’!’)

-        ‘Pronatalism’ and how it does all women a disservice

-        Disenfranchised grief and how to heal it

-        Finding a new purpose – a ‘good’ plan B

Triggers include childlessness not by choice, infertility, IVF, abortion.

It’s a very powerful episode where we talk about a lot of extremely painful things (there are tears). It’s difficult but important and that’s what learning how to be sad is all about – so I hope you’ll join us on this one and do get in touch at howtobesad@gmail.com if you would like to discuss further or visit https://gateway-women.com/.

Follow Jody @gatewaywomen on Twitter and 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 #4 Xand van Tulleken

Season 2 #4 Xand van Tulleken

May 12, 2021

Dr Xand van Tulleken is a much-loved medic, broadcaster and someone with first hand experience of the impact of covid 19. In spring 2020 Xand contracted Covid while preparing to film a documentary about the virus with his twin, Dr Chris van Tulleken. Xand isolated at home for two weeks but continued to experience strange symptoms, including heart palpitations. When these worsened he rushed to University College Hospital, where his twin was working on a Covid ward, and had to have his heart ‘shocked’ back into a normal rhythm with an electric current. Xand talks about his experience of going so publicly from presenter to patient.

 

He’s also someone who has witnessed more than his fair share of sadness on a global scale, having worked during the genocide in Darfur and in various humanitarian crises all over the world.

So here, we talk about all he’s learned to date and how he copes now. Xand and Helen discus:

  • Sadness and the medical profession
  • Watching your heart stop on national TV
  • The isolation and loneliness of covid
  • Working in disaster zones
  • Getting teary and talking about feelings when it’s not your MO
  • How understanding our body helps (and how, some days, it doesn’t)
  • The vagus nerve and why ‘what happens in vagus doesn’t stay in vagus’
  • How to sneeze paint out of your nose (you’re welcome)
  • Missing someone so hard it hurts
  • Why we all need ‘an emotional support dog’
  • Love, loss and why heartache isn’t the worst thing in the world

Follow Xand @xandvt on Twitter or @avantulleken 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.

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