Just before Christmas I was sent a copy of ‘The mindfulness guide for the frazzled’ (Ruby Wax’s new book) with a selection of lovely de-stressing bits and bobs and asked to review it. I was a little bit dubious to start with – I mean who is Ruby Wax to write a mindfulness guide, but I was really pleasantly surprised.
What is it about?
Pretty much what it says on the tin – a mindfulness guide full of Ruby’s trademark wit, snippets of her life and well-rounded information on mindfulness. Like Ruby I am a bit of a pragmatist. I want to know how things work in order to fix them, so her whistle-stop tour to why we become stressed and how mindfulness physically rewires our brains was probably what made the book so much more interesting to me as well as stand apart from others I have read.
With the help of neuro scientists and other clever bods she explains what stress is, what it does to the body and what happens if we don’t tackle it. All interspersed with her silly comments, searing honesty and uncomfortably negative view of herself.
Focused attention helps us to redirect our thoughts and feelings rather than being driven by them ~ Dr Daniel Siegel
The message I got was a simple one – mindfulness is not attached to a religion, it is not sitting cross legged on the floor for half an hour everyday or even trying to be less stressed. It is simply paying attention to what you’re doing ~ being in the zone.
What did you think of it?
For what it is – a guide – I think it’s a little long. To me it reads a little like a thesis without the references (although that is probably me projecting my assignments onto everything I read ~yawn). Still I have to say I love it. There are sections where Ruby opens up about her own experiences, thoughts and paranoia’s and honestly all I want to do is give her a big squeeze and tell her that she’s not the only one that gets like that.
It’s a very easy book to read but it’s also very informative – Kudos to Ruby Wax, it shows what a good writer she is – but not only that, it’s something that you can keep on the shelf to refer back to whenever you feel your motivation slipping or you want to remind yourself of something. In that sense it truly is a guide.
Has is altered your view of stress?
Yes and no. I knew stress was bad, I mean I’ve experienced enough of it. I also knew that it was my own fault that I was stressed (learn to switch off every once in a while) but what I didn’t realise was just how bad an effect stress can have on you physically. I mean we all know people who get stressed about being stressed – it’s a viscous circle – but being stressed can literally delete your memory too – I’m serious!
What have you taken away from it/is there anything you will change?
I was already a fan of mindfulness although I didn’t practice it nearly as much as I should. Now that I have an overview of the health issues it can exacerbate (yes really!) it’s encouraged me to pick up my practice again and keep it more regularly. For me what I have really taken away is this:
If you want to be happy, learn to pay attention.
Would you recommend it?
Yes. 100%. It’s the first guide to mindfulness that I have read (in all honesty I’ve only tried about 3) that hasn’t been a wishy-washy hippy type book (not that there’s anything wrong with that) or a book so filled with facts and figures and doctors recommendations that I haven’t been able to read an entire sentence without breaking my flow. I know it won’t be for everyone and a lot of people will be a little dubious about it, but give it a go, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
But before you run out and buy a copy or wage war with my opinion, let me ask you one question ~ do you know when it’s time to #defrazzle?
*this was sent to me by bloggeration in return for a MH bloggers take on the book