A Mindfulness Guide for the Frazzled – Ruby Wax


Published December 29th 2016 by Penguin Life
Format: Paperback
Author: Ruby Wax
Genre: Non-fiction, mental health, psychology, self-help
Pages: 259
Star rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️
Opening line:

“We are all frazzled, all of us…well, most of us…well, some of my friends are.”

Goodreads synopsis:

Five hundred years ago no one died of stress: we invented this concept and now we let it rule us. Ruby Wax shows us how to de-frazzle for good by making simple changes that give us time to breathe, reflect and live in the moment.

Let Ruby be your guide to a healthier, happier you. You’ve nothing to lose but your stress…

My Goodreads review:

A Mindfulness Guide for the FrazzledA Mindfulness Guide for the Frazzled by Ruby Wax

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The reason I’ve given this 3 stars for 2 reasons:

1. I haven’t read the portion of the book covering the 6 week mindfulness course (indicated by grey page edges in the book) so I can’t review that section.

2. The second half of the book was mostly for parents wanting to teach mindfulness to their children. I’m not a parent so I was reading this section for the sake of reading it! It did have some good insights though.

The rest of the book was interesting and had exactly what I expected it to have. This is the first thing I’ve encountered by Ruby Wax (I’ve never read her, watched her, seen her, heard her before) and I really want to read her other book now!

View all my reviews

Thoughts on the book as I read it:

3.09% “I’m thinking of doing my uni project on mindfulness, slow living and incorporating that into a plan for a mindfulness magazine. So I’m reading this as the start of my research. I’m hoping to explore mental health as well.”

6.56% “Ruby Wax has broached the discussion of endless to-do lists and that they might be part of the problem of modern day life.

I use to-do lists for important things AND rest. So I’ll put ‘read more of this book’ or ‘have a relaxing bath’ and more than anything, my to-do list is just an aid to my terrible memory (which is a symptom of my anxiety).”

24.71% “If the sympathetic state persists, the neurons wither and die, especially those in the areas responsible for memory. This is why, when you’re stressed, you can’t remember anything.”
54.44% “I have skipped the six-week mindfulness course from pages 96-133 as I think it will be better to read that section when I want to make use of the course, rather than reading it passively.

So I am continuing to read the rest of the book as normal.”

My reason for reading this book is because this year I want to read more books about mental health, and I’ve been after one of Ruby’s books for a while. I still haven’t read her book Sane New World but that’s one I definitely want to get soon.

The first half of this book was exactly what I expected, and wanted, the book to be. Ruby does a brilliant job of explaining how the brain works, and how modern day stress has affected our brains and therefore our mental health.

She backs up her points and explored them further by drawing on her own personal experience with depression, and these sections were what made me love her the most! Before reading this book I hadn’t really encounters Ruby. I knew of her, but didn’t know much about her. However, one thing that I did expect was comedy.

Books about mental health might steer clear of comedy, but Ruby has got the balance between comedy and factual writing just right.

The pages between 96-133 contain a 6 week mindfulness course. I haven’t read this section because I would prefer to read it whilst actively doing the course, and as it stands I don’t have six weeks to focus my attention on it. It’s not very mindful or positive of me, but I know my own mind, and I know that I can’t dedicate myself to that portion of the book.

So I skipped those pages. It didn’t matter that I hadn’t done the course because the book just continues without really referring to the course. However, from page 152-214 it’s best if you’re a reader who has children. Ruby offers advice for parents on introducing mindfulness into their child’s life, whether they are young or a teenager. I’m not a parent, so I almost had to force myself to read these sections. I didn’t get a lot out of it, but there were some good insights.

Overall, this book offered me plenty of facts and information about the brain and mental health, which was exactly what I wanted from it. I just wish it had been less parent-centric.

It did make me want to go on a mindfulness retreat though!

Link to the book on Goodreads: A Mindfulness Guide for the Frazzled




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