How to be Sad

by Helen Russell

Popular science Mind & Body - books to help you be better Health & Fitness

LoveReading Expert Review of How to be Sad

How to be Sad by Helen Russell is part memoir and part exploration of sadness and grief. It’s written in a chatty style and is well researched.

How to be Sad by Helen Russell is part memoir and part exploration of sadness and grief using expert sources. It is split into three parts – looking after ourselves when we’re sad, how to talk about being sad, and what to do when you’re sad (including the benefits of reading). It isn’t an obvious self-help book, focusing a lot on the science and psychology of how and why we feel sad, and why this emotion shouldn’t be a taboo topic. But it’s written in a chatty style and is well researched, featuring interviews with scientists and journalists and with an extensive list of references at the end. Helen Russell discusses key events in her own life that have led to sadness, including the cot death of her baby sister, and how perfectionism and expectations have led to eating disorders and addictions. Her book is personal, reflective and insightful; following her research into happiness for a previous book, she realised that many people are phobic about being sad (or admitting to being sad). Here, her message is that sadness and tears are an important part of life and shouldn’t be held back.

Victoria Goldman

How to be Sad Synopsis

We live in an age when reality TV shows climax in a tearful finale. But feeling sad - genuinely sad - is still taboo. Yet, sadness happens to us all, sometimes in heartbreakingly awful ways. If we don't know how to be sad, it can be isolating for those experiencing it and baffling for those trying to help others through dark times.

Today, most of us know intellectually that 'sad' is normal. But we're not always brilliant at allowing for it, in practice. Sadness is going to happen, so we might as well know how to 'do it' right. And it's time to start facing our problems and talking about them. Positive psychology may have become more accepted in mainstream culture, but rates of depression have continued to rise.

We're trying so hard to be happy. But studies show that we could all benefit from learning the art of sadness and how to handle it, well.

We cannot avoid sadness so we might as well learn to handle it. Helen Russell, while researching two previous books on happiness, found that today most of us are terrified of sadness. Many of us are so phobic to averse to negative emotions that we don't recognise them.

About This Edition

ISBN: 9780008384562
Publication date: 4th March 2021
Author: Helen Russell
Publisher: Fourth Estate Ltd an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
Format: Hardback
Pagination: 384 pages
Primary Genre Popular science
Other Genres:

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Helen Russell Press Reviews

'This is such an important subject and we would all be better off if we absorbed Helen's robust research and kind advice and allowed ourselves to be sad.' Cathy Rentzenbrink

'In any human life there are going to be periods of unhappiness. That is part of the human experience. Learning how to be sad - is a natural first step in how to be happier.' Meik Wiking, CEO, The Happiness Research Institute

'I didn't think I wanted to read this book until I read it. Then I couldn't stop. An absolutely gorgeous and insightful and intelligent and necessary book'

Hollie McNish

'A very persuasive account of how accepting sadness as a key part of our human experience can lead to more fulfilment and ultimately more happiness. Full of moving personal insight and brilliant research. This book reframes feeling sad.' Anna Jones

On The Atlas of Happiness: the global secrets of how to be happy by the same author:

'A DELIGHT' Grazia




On The Year of Living Danishly by the same author:

'A hugely enjoyable romp through the pleasures and pitfalls of setting up home in a foreign land' PD Smith, Guardian

Other editions of this book

ISBN: 9780008384593
Publication date: 20/01/2022
Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9780008384562
Publication date: 04/03/2021
Format: Hardback

ISBN: 9780008405311
Publication date: 04/03/2021
Format: Paperback

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About Helen Russell

Helen Russell was formerly the editor of, writes for the Guardian, as well as writing a longstanding column for The Telegraph. She now writes for magazines and newspapers around the world, including Stylist, The Observer, The Times, The Sunday Times, Grazia, Metro, Stella and The i Newspaper. Russell's first book, The Year of Living Danishly - Uncovering the Secrets of the World's Happiest Country (TCM c.50k) became an international bestseller and has been optioned for television. She's spent the last eight years studying cultural approaches to emotions and regularly speaks about her work around the world, ...

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