For a long time, I have been an admirer of Ruby Wax. As a comedian alone she is a stand-out, but since then she has become a bestselling writer, performer, and visiting professor for the incredible work she does for mental health awareness. She has been awarded an OBE for her services towards mental health and continues to strive to reach out to everyone and encourage them to be openly expressive about thoughts, emotions, and feelings affecting them.
Her first book Sane New World: Taming the Mind, was highly accredited for being a fantastic manual for mental health and being well-researched. The fantastic success from this gave a reason for her second book A Mindfulness Guide For The Frazzled to be written.
Ruby’s opening words are about how she came to write this book, taking the reader on a journey through her life so far, that gives them more of a reason to admire her honesty on what has clearly been very traumatic to experiences.
You have got to admire her commitment, passion, and determination to providing herself and others a helpful solution to their ‘frazzled’ minds. After her severe bout of depression a few years before this book she went full guns blazing and went to Oxford to gain her Masters in Mindfulness-Cognitive-Behavioural-Therapy and transformed her life into something it had never felt like before; she was unravelling her true self.
In a comedic style, she shares her tales of her unfortunate upbringing, which for as much as I did giggle at some of the anecdotes, it made me feel a great sense of sadness of what she must have endured. I could relate to the tricky schools years. Bullying both physically and mentally can create an impact that lasts a lifetime which I know all too well.
I love how Ruby broke down the chapters with her own descriptions of what they are about. It’s almost like having her in the room reeling off a synopsis of each one – in a way you could describe these parts as ‘short guides for the super frazzled’.
The incredible attention to detail is constantly there, as Ruby was super vigilant including journal articles relating to scientific research in the area of mindfulness. There is even a whole chapter dedicated to the neuroscience (the study of the brain) behind mindfulness practice and the interchangeable functioning of the brain!
The depression interlude compounded my own state into someone else’s words. The crazy thing about depression is that those who suffer from it have so much in common with how we feel and yet each person is experiencing it alone in their own mind-numbing black hole. Ruby was brutally frank about the matter, which was refreshing to read because it allowed me to relate to the words on a much more personal level. It showed that truth behind the scenes of making a book, that not all is well even when there is so much to celebrate. That is the ironic thing about mental health; it can strike without much or any reason.
It was a euphoric moment when I read about the impact that digital technology is having, and how it is overtaking the mind and how we are growing ever more reliant on it for our self-esteem. This was quite an ironic read I was reading this book, I was taking time away from social media and blogging to clear my mind and focus on the present.
Her personal definition of what mindfulness is “noticing your thoughts and feelings without kicking your own ass while you’re doing it”
I love it.
It makes you aware of the simplicity of it when you give a little more thought on how to get to the root of self-neglect and doubt. Connecting with the self and current surroundings creates space be able to consciously pick up on your thoughts and feelings right there in that moment.
“When you thoughts cause fear or anxiety, your mind gets clogged up and so you grab for safety and live on autopilot, deadlocked in your narrow views of the world” – Ruby Wax
Taking time out for you to reflect, understand, and grow is vital. In this rapidly developing technological world, there has never been more important in integrating mindfulness practice into our modern lives. We are so disconnected from reality, that we are starting to fear to be totally emersed in it.
This is highly recommended read for anyone, even the non-frazzled amongst us. There is something for everyone to take away from reading this humorous and captivating guide to mindfulness the modern world.