43 episodes

Why do we cry? How come love hurts? And what’s a happiness researcher doing talking about sadness, anyway?

Helen Russell is a journalist and happiness researcher and How to be Sad is a new podcast based on her book of the same name - exploring why we get sad, what to do when we’re sad, and how we can all get happier by learning to be sad, better. Because let’s be honest – we are in unprecedented times. None of us are where we thought we’d be this time last year and we’re all struggling. We’re having to get better at having difficult conversations and finding ways of handling our sadness.

Join Helen as she talks to some high profile people from all walks of life who have done just that. Each week, special guests share their own experiences of everything from heartache to burnout, anxiety to addiction, the differences between sadness and depression - and how they cope.

Find out more @MsHelenRussell #HowToBeSad and order How To Be Sad at https://harpercollins.co.uk/products/how-to-be-sad-the-key-to-a-happier-life-helen-russell?variant=39445841018958

How To Be Sad with Helen Russell Helen Russell

    • Health & Fitness
    • 4.9 • 15 Ratings

Why do we cry? How come love hurts? And what’s a happiness researcher doing talking about sadness, anyway?

Helen Russell is a journalist and happiness researcher and How to be Sad is a new podcast based on her book of the same name - exploring why we get sad, what to do when we’re sad, and how we can all get happier by learning to be sad, better. Because let’s be honest – we are in unprecedented times. None of us are where we thought we’d be this time last year and we’re all struggling. We’re having to get better at having difficult conversations and finding ways of handling our sadness.

Join Helen as she talks to some high profile people from all walks of life who have done just that. Each week, special guests share their own experiences of everything from heartache to burnout, anxiety to addiction, the differences between sadness and depression - and how they cope.

Find out more @MsHelenRussell #HowToBeSad and order How To Be Sad at https://harpercollins.co.uk/products/how-to-be-sad-the-key-to-a-happier-life-helen-russell?variant=39445841018958

    Season 5 #5 Julia Samuel

    Season 5 #5 Julia Samuel

    Julia Samuel MBE is a psychotherapist, grief counsellor, and author of the bestsellers Griefworks, This Too Shall Pass. She was also one of my favourite interviewees for my book, How To Be Sad when we talked about family and relationships. With four children of her own and nine grandchildren, Julia began exploring her own family stories in adulthood and looking at how Every Family Has A Story – the title of her new book. Here, we talk about:

     

    Inherited trauma and why family stories matter
    Bias and how to overcome it
    why pain is an agent of change
    how family teaches us about love
    attachment theory
    rupture and repair
    The pros and cons of Zoom therapy

    Every Family Has A Story is out now, and you can follow Julia @juliasamuelmbe
    How To Be Sad, the key to a happier life is out in paperback and as an audiobook, read by me – and if you enjoyed this episode, give it 5 stars and I’ll love you forever.

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

    • 44 min
    Season 5 #4 Rosie Wilby

    Season 5 #4 Rosie Wilby

    Rosie Wilby is a comedian, podcaster and author of The Breakup Monologues – about the unexpected joy of heartbreak and all we can learn from it. BBC Radio 4 described her as the ‘queen of breakups’ (what an accolade!) so she was the perfect guest for a chat about how to be sad, well. Here, we talk about:

     

    - Break up grief

    - …but how we get over it twice as quickly as we predict

    - Friendship breakups

    - Why divorce rates for gay women are so high

    - Boredom in long-term relationships

    - Cheating blackbirds…

    - SSRIs and ‘anti-love drugs’

    - Hormones and attraction

    - Separate bed stigma

    - Monogamy: pros and cons

    - Finding love – and getting married!

     

    Follow Rosie on Twitter @and Instagram @breakupmonologues and check out The Breakup Monologues here. And for more on my own long (long) and illustrious history of disastrous breakups, may I nudge you towards chapters 4 and 6 of How To Be Sad…! As ever, I so appreciate your feedback and reviews so keep them coming. Until next time x

     

    • 43 min
    Season 5 #3 Marcus Buckingham

    Season 5 #3 Marcus Buckingham

    At a time when many of us are rethinking our work, searching for meaning and connection post pandemic, I wanted to speak to someone about the part work plays in our emotional life. So today we explore the connection between love and work with Marcus Buckingham, a leading expert in the world of work. British born, US bases, Marcus shares his research into how school can stifle our emotions and idioyncracies as well as his personal journey (plus his experience of the US college admissions scandal).  We talk about:

     

    Why work is making us ‘bad’ sad
    What to do about it
    Finding our ‘red threads’
    Why feedback is overrated
    Public speaking as an introvert
    The dangers of pathologising
    How we are all a category of one.

    Marcus’s new book, Love + Work is out now, and you can follow Marcus @marcusbuckingham
    How To Be Sad, the key to a happier life is out in paperback and as an audiobook, read by me – and if you enjoyed this episode, give it 5 stars and I’ll love you forever.
    Thanks as ever to Matt Clacher at HarperCollins and Joel Grove for production.

    • 54 min
    Season 5 #2 Cally Beaton

    Season 5 #2 Cally Beaton

     

    Cally Beaton was working as a senior TV exec until she was 45, when the late great Joan Rivers told her she should try stand-up. So she did. Now a successful comedian – you’ll have seen her on shows like QI and on The Apprentice You’re Fired – Cally’s nonetheless out to challenge the ageism she sees around her in the industry…an industry Cally admits she was a part of creating. She worked on MTV’s The Real World, one of the first reality shows, back in the early 90s and then later on Geordie Shore and Ex on the Beach in previous life as a television executive. She says now: ‘It’s fair to say I was a big part of the problem now biting me in the arse.’ Here, we talk about:

     

    - Ageism

    - Profound change

    - Breaking down and building back up

    - The u-shaped happiness curve

    - Invisibility

    - Imposter-offs

    - Asking for help

    - …and how there’s no prizes for styling it out

     

    For more of the brilliant Cally, check out her live dates http://callybeaton.com/ and follow her @callybeaton

     

    In this episode, I bang on about Robin Ince’s books again. They’re all brilliant (and he’s interviewed in my latest book, How To Be Sad but the one I’m talking about here is I’m A Joke And So Are You – highly recommend!

    • 55 min
    Season 5 #1 Emma Kennedy

    Season 5 #1 Emma Kennedy

    My guest today began performing at Oxford with Stewart Lee and Richard Herring. She trained as a solicitor before moving into writing, presenting, acting, stand up and…pretty much everything. She’s won a Chortle Award, she was ‘Fun’ Editor at Tatler, Celebrity Masterchef Champion and – most importantly –runner up at the World Conker championship. Described in the Independent as TV’s Swiss army knife - Emma Kennedy is also the author of a remarkable new book, Letters from Brenda - a painful, funny record of Emma’s relationship with her complex, charismatic mum, Brenda, who died of breast cancer. Revisiting her mother’s letters has also allowed Emma to process a difficult childhood and the letters chart her mother’s struggles with mental health.

     

    TW: suicide, cancer

    In this episode we talk about:

    mental health
    generational trauma
    acts of service
    the power of dogs
    …and Lego
    …and comedy

    Letters From Brenda is out now, and you can follow Emma @EmmaKennedy

    My book, How To Be Sad, the key to a happier life is out in paperback and as an audiobook – and if you enjoyed this episode, give it 5 stars and leave a review and I’ll love you forever.

    • 52 min
    Season 5 Trailer: The Best of (So Far!)

    Season 5 Trailer: The Best of (So Far!)

    Sadness happens to all of us, but in much of the world we don’t know how to handle it. Let alone talk about it. Having spent 10 years researching into happiness worldwide as a journalist and author, I began to notice that many of the people I met were so obsessed with the pursuit of happiness that they were phobic of feeling sad. As was I. 

     

    So why are we so bad at ‘sad’? 

    How is there still shame around expressing vulnerability? 

    And are there some any ‘good’ things about being sad?

     

    I couldn’t find anywhere people were having these kinds of conversations - so I started my own. 

     

    Each episode, I’m joined by a special guest sharing their own experiences of how to be sad, well with insightful and surprisingly uplifting stories of lives lived. Here are some of the highlights so far, ahead of series five, launching next week:

    - From S3E8 with Kate Bowler, NYT bestselling author and Duke history professor on being diagnosed with colon cancer at just 35 years old, navigating life with the knowledge it could end any moment, ‘emotional tourism’, bucket lists and why Kate won’t be making one. TW: cancer

    -  From S1E7 with Yomi Adegoke, award-winning journalist and bestselling co-author of Slay In Your Lane: The Black Girl Bible on how being sad and expressing grief can be political and the perils of performing our emotions online.

    - From S4E1 with Emily Dean, author of Everyone Died So I Got A Dog, radio presenter and podcaster on family roles and the different pressures these bring.

    - From S4E2 where bestselling author Mitch Albom shares a little known story about how the bestseller Tuesdays With Morrie came about.

    - From S3E5 with Dr Julie Smith, clinical psychologist and former NHS turned TikTok star and author of Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before? on what happens when we push emotions away, how the stakes get higher the longer we stay in ‘the trap’, and what we should be doing instead.

    -  From S2E5 with Jody Day, founder of Gateway Women, the global support network for childless women on unhelpful cultural ideas around not having children, disenfranchised grief and how to heal it. TW: grief, childlessness not by choice, IVF 

    - From S4E1 with Emily Dean, on how to support someone who’s grieving. TW: sibling bereavement

    - From S1E4 with Mo Gawdat, Solve For Happy author, tech entrepreneur and former chief business officer for Google X on how life is like a video game (and this is A Good Thing). TW: losing a child

    - From S4E2 Mitch Albom on the pain of losing his daughter and the impact this had on his marriage. Plus why happiness isn’t a guarantee: it’s a gift that can help us to be sad, better. TW: losing a child

    You can find all the books we talk about on the How To Be Sad podcast recommends page at Bookshop.org where you can also find the book, How To Be Sad, now in paperback.



    Keep in touch @MsHelenRussell and subscribe to join us next time. Because remember: we’re all in this together.

    • 28 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
15 Ratings

15 Ratings

ChookMcKracken ,

Entertaining from beginning to end!

I love listening to every second of this podcast. One minute I’m crying and the next catching my self laughing out loud. Absolutely the most enjoyable pod I’ve listened to in ages!

bibotep ,

Will make you laugh and cry and laugh again!

So in love with this podcast. Helen is a wonderful guest and all the conversations ranges from personal story to emotional moments to pure comedy! All with an amazing mission of learning to deal with our deepest emotions. Love it!

Steffie Limere ,

Loved every episode!

Makes you smile, reflect and calm down when feeling anxious

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