“A neurologist might say that someone is stuck in a state of ‘frazzle’. They mean that, for this person, constant stress is overloading their nervous system, flooding it with cortisol and adrenaline; their attention is fixed on what’s worrying them and not the job in hand, which can lead to burn-out.” Ruby Wax, A Mindfulness Guide for the FRAZZLED
I was so surprised to find out that frazzle was a ‘real’ word. It’s a term many of us have used, assuming it to be slang, and modern as it may sound it’s actually been around since the early 19th century.
Look it up in a dictionary (yes it does appear in the Oxford Dictionary) and you’ll find that ‘I’m completely frazzled’ could be translated to ‘I’m completely exhausted’. Or perhaps you’re burnt to a frazzle – shriveled up and fried to a mental crisp? Sounds about right when we’re talking about stress and how to manage your own mind!
I often seem to end up recommending books to people and this one is definitely going to be high on my list when it comes to an entertaining, informative read about mindfulness. Oh and have I mentioned that the book includes a free gift in the form of an easy to follow 6 week course where you can test out various mindfulness exercises for yourself?
This isn’t just another celebrity holding forth about a topic of the moment. Ruby has real credibility and completed a Masters in Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy at Oxford University. I don’t think there’s anyone else that can write with such energy and enthusiasm, and don’t forget humour, about this kind of topic. She manages to meld: easy to understand explanations of mindfulness; the science of the mind; and personal stories in an engaging, easy to understand way. And yes there are a few laughs included.
Nor is Ruby a total novice when it comes to books related to mindfulness having written Sane New World: Taming the Mind, which she has followed with a stage-based book tour over the past 6 months. When someone meanders on to the stage with a steaming cup of tea (or perhaps coffee) in their hand, and then reclines on a chaise langue, you are on a good bet that you’re in for an interesting evening!
So what’s in the book? As you’d expect she opens with an explanation of our state of frazzle. Our internal chaos, often covered by a shiny veneer, that we work like crazy to hide and the modern stresses we all create for ourselves. We all waste masses of time and energy worrying about the future. Ruminating anxiously on past events. And sleeping at the wheel as we speed through our present – our only reality.
She explains what ‘mindfulness’ is, and what it isn’t, and explains some of the science and history of why the brain works as it does. Then comes the freebie as an easy 6 week course for you to try out. There are a host of exercises that you can test and see what fits for you. Perhaps in the order she suggests or just play with whatever resonates for you or takes your fancy.
She outlines practical applications of using mindfulness to improve your relationships, fix yourself as a parent, and have fun with your kids. She covers utilizing mindfulness with other species, namely teenagers, and neatly rounds off with some additional science and testing of her brain pre- and post- a silent mindfulness retreat.
And the whole lot is liberally interspersed with lots of authentic personal stories and anecdotes. All written with the usual Ruby Wax verve and enthusiasm.
Here’s Rubys own 2 minute summary of the book if you’d prefer to hear it from her direct – beware of the wind chimes!
So highly recommended if you want an easily accessible book on mindfulness. But me, I’m still stuck in a state of frazzle after finding out ‘frazzle’ is a real word …