Ruby Wax on the life-changing benefits of mindfulness
A bit about me
Seven years ago when I had a period of depression, I said to myself, ‘Now this is when you walk from television’. On TV, you’re supposed to be dead by the age of 30, anyway. Somehow I found myself on an eight-week mindfulness course – I showed up in my pyjamas. My mission to get into Oxford University to study Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy was more intense than trying to get into the Royal Shakespeare Company.
Are you frazzled?
A lot of us are addicted to that adrenaline kick. Sometimes I order a taxi for the airport and when it arrives, I start packing. When you’re under stress, one of the first things to diminish is your memory, because the neurons are burning out. Remember that!
Putting it into practise
Begin with the mundane:
Next time you brush your teeth,concentrate on your movements and bodily sensations. You’ll feel like an idiot at first, but try to be fully present for that time.It takes daily practise.
For a stress-free commute:
When you’re crammed in a stuffy carriage and your flesh is melting, send your focus to your feet. Your mind will be saying ‘I hate this’ but you’ll calm down your nervous system.
With your kids: Lie downalongside your baby and try to synchronise your breathing with theirs through practising a full body scan. Slowly move your attention from your head all the way down to your feet. They’ll pick up on its calming effect.
Make everyone like you
The greatest form of flattery you can give anyone is your full attention – they’ll give you the keys to their car, they’ll marry you, they’ll do whatever you want…
‘Mindfulness stops your mind from going flabby. It can also improve your relationships, as you’ll be calmer. Otherwise a war starts – that war is a metaphor for how the world is.’
Read more: Who are millennials and are they really more mindful?
5 REASONS TO BE MINDFUL
- It works Mindfulness reduces the recurrence rate of depression and can treat anxiety, OCD, eating disorders and improve wellbeing.
- You can change your brain The mind flits every 1.2 seconds. Keep it focused for three seconds and you’re training it.
- Take a real snapshot of your life Why spend all that money on food and holidays, if you have to look at a photo or video to appreciate it?
- Be your own container Notice yourself. Face the monster, it goes away.
- Learn to self-regulate Know when to walk away, breathe and get your heartbeat down.