Mindfulness is a huge buzzword in the mental health world, but when it comes to professionals, there’s quite the divide. FYI, I’m firmly in the ‘mindfulness is a real thing and it does work’ camp, as opposed to the ‘mindfulness is bullshit, you need medicating’ camp.
In spite of this, I’ve never ‘done’ mindfulness properly. Yeah I’ve sat and tried to meditate but I’ve never made it past 5 minutes before I was hungry or bored. And I’ve tried to bring myself ‘into the present’ etc, etc but it all felt a bit like airy fairy crap.
Anyway, I was slightly sceptical about Ruby Wax’s new book A Mindfulness Guide For The Frazzled because when I’ve seen Ruby talking about mental health, she always seems to feel the need to throw some sciencey bits in to make it sound like she knows what she’s talking about. And the book kind of did do that but I got over it.
On the whole I really enjoyed the book, I skipped the parts for parents and teenagers, but I think they’d be really useful if you fit in either of these categories. My favourite part of the book though, was where Ruby actually wrote about HER experience. Being a mental health nursing student I already know a fair bit about the history and science behind mindfulness but what I really love is some lived experience and Ruby’s mental health history was no exception.
What I always like to focus on when I read is what I took from the book. Did I learn anything? Did it make me feel?
And yes to both of those things.
When I made a list of the things that make me ‘frazzled’ it turns out that a lot of those things are me. They’re not external forces, they’re my own doubts, fears and insecurities.
And the things that ‘defrazzle’ me? I made a list of those too:
- Listening to Norah Jones
- Watching old, classic films.
- Play board games.
So thank you Ruby Wax for making me realise that the things that help me defrazzle are concrete actions that I can take. And the things that make me frazzled are mostly in my own head and I’m sure that a more concentrated approach to mindfulness will help me at least begin to shift them. Because, as Ruby says in the book, mindfulness isn’t ‘becoming nothingness while sitting in your underwear.’