How to be Sadn in a Healthy Way

How to Be Sad on a Healthy Way

How to Be Sad on a Healthy Way

Helen Russell is known about happiness and she is a prolific writer, author of several books, TED talker and speaker of all things happiness.  I am talking with Helen about How to be Sad in a healthy way. Her new book explores sadness and how Helen has learned how to be happier by being sad.

Is Denmark still a Happy Place to Live? 

Sadness quote Helen

Helen laughs that often people take her books Living Danishly and the Scandinavian happiness out of the context. “I think Denmark is facing many of the same challenges as other countries. There are massive challenges and it has been largely homogenous until recent years. Denmark has faced reckoning with instances of racism, sexism belated #metoo movement.”

Even with all these changes due covid Heles says ” There are things that makes it special and some things that we can learn from other cultures.” Although life is slightly difficult at the time ” You can study for free, you can move around and change jobs, have time with your family and leisure activities.. There is high level of trust with your neighbors and in society. It is a more outdoorsy lifestyle, the Scandinavian rough and ready with emphasis on nature and getting your Friluftsliv daily.”

[bctt tweet=”It is a more outdoorsy lifestyle, the Scandinavian rough and ready with emphasis on nature” username=”thenordicmumpodcas”].

When talking about does Helen feels more Danish or British she says she does feel British as her customs and culture are from there. But she is used to the Danish way of living and her kids speak Danish so part of her does feel Danish as well.

How to Be Sad the Healthy Way

Helen Russell Book CoverHelen has been researching happiness for the past eight years and, reading academic literature speaking with experts, following the movement of what we can do by observing our culture and other cultures around the world for keeping our mental health intact and keep us upbeat daily basis.

“There was so much anxiousness about not being happy. The pursuit of happiness had been all-encompassing and people being phobic of being sad. This seems a problem as of course, we cannot be happy all the time. We can put structural things in place, lifestyle things in place to try to look after ourselves.”



[bctt tweet=”No one is happy all the time, sadness is a normal part of life.” username=”thenordicmumpodcas”].

Helen talks about how sadness can bring benefits and how cultural approaches in UK and US there is especially reluctance of dealing with sadness. She talks about how we need to be okay with being in tune with sadness and anger and there is lots of that in the world but we need to able to deal with these emotions as well.

“I wanted to explore this from a cultural perspective, historic perspective and talking with neuroscientist, psychologist, geneticist and understand the processes going on and normal phases we go to when we try to deny our sadness. How to deal with them and how to be sad in a healthy positive way.”

What Can We Do to Be Sad in a Healthy Way?

Helen says that it is normalizing it by talking about it. “It’s about showing children it is okay to be sad and that they will be sad one day. Not trying to minimize it. We should not deny kids feeling and learn how to model the right way of dealing with emotions. ” It has been tuned to the sadness that we have been learning as kids.”

Adults defer the sadness, the world has slowed down for many people and people have had come to terms with many things that they have been not dealing with for a long time.

We know that exercise is good for our mental health and our bodies. We know that not doing it is bad for us. People are who are feeling sedentary for more than seven days start feeling low. [bctt tweet=”We can stop normal sadness from tipping to more serious by allowing for it and handling it in a more helpful way.” username=”thenordicmumpodcas”].

Happy as sad

Talking About Sadness and Why It Is Good for Us

When talking about crying as a release for our emotions Helen says that it was Charles Darwin who denied the usefulness of tears. He just said they just occurred without any reason. Then it was thought the tears actually had a substance on them that was the stress. “Now we know that we feel better after we cry. Because we are expressing our sorrow…We reduce our cortisol levels by expressing our sadness.”

Famous sportspeople cry, crying has been around forever and it is normal. We should not be ashamed about crying.

Why in Some Cultures Hiding Behind Smile is the Norm?

I was very curious about this Helen says. She had spoken to the leading researchers about this and she said in US it was about the early settlers putting a smile and more forward-facing attitude leaving a bad situation behind. People could make a living in this new culture by being more happier than dealing with sadness.

In US study shows that if you only feel happy or sad, people choose happy all the time there is no room for sadness in US culture.

In Portugal, there is an example of ” Melancholy and nostalgia of bittersweet pleasure of in the pain of recalling past happiness.” [bctt tweet=”Nothing too good or too bad.” username=”thenordicmumpodcas”].

Healthy sadness

Mental Health with Men and Lack of Showing Your Emotions

There is a study that shows that by age 10 that boys should not cry but for girls, it is okay to cry. It becomes a toxic circle of shame to boys. We should allow boys to cry and girls to access their anger as a tool.

Women often cry by frustration and Helens recalls her own moment of powerless on a recent trip with her son and women seem to be able to find an outlet for these emotions when boys do not.

We talk about Moomins and how Tove Jansson’s books have lots of well-researched stereotypes in her books and how the characters have two stories, one for the kids and one for the adults on them.

Tove was famous “Of having a lover in later years and how she introduced her slowly to the books and makes her come alive and how things make sense when you are allowed to be your true self.”

Do We Need to Learn to Be Sad to Be Content?

Helen Russell being happy

“Absolutely,” Helen says.  We will be sad and anxious about being happy, the cheerful stiff upper lip is the happy girl and a people pleaser like in the traditional UK culture. That helps nobody.

The subtitle of the book : Everything I have learned about getting happier by being sad better. This comes from research Helen has done and her observations of how we are more clear-eyed, we are more kinder as people when we experience sadness.

[bctt tweet=”We cannot avoid the pain of being sad so we should learn how to deal with it.” username=”thenordicmumpodcas”].

We are happier people when we deal with sadness.

How to Be Sad Podcast

Helen is starting a podcast on the same name coming out 17 Feb 2021. It deals with experiences of sadness, what helped them to overcome it and what they have learned, and sharing their experiences and how this can help other people. There is talk about the tools people have used that could help other people of handing their sadness or sorrow.

“Nothing is all good or all bad. There are moments that can make you laugh. All of these things are our experiences of life.” Helen sums up the podcast.

Why Helen Choose Podcast as the Medium

Helen says she loves doing research and talking to people. Not being able to connect with people. This is a great way to have these conversations and felt like a great fit for her.

Where is Helen in Next Two Years Time? 

She says she looks at people who have lots of plans. She is not one of them. Life can change so fast and she kind of feels bad about not having plans. She is trying to be a little less apologetic about it. She says as Denmark is more about plans she feels the need to have plans but she is resisting and staying on her own lane.

Connect With Helen

Website: Helen Russell
Order Book: How to be Sad
Twitter: @MsHelenRussell

Connect With Me

You can connect with me on the following social platforms.

Facebook: @NordicMumSusanna
Instagram: @thenordicmum
Twitter: @NordicMumPodcas

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