Benjamin R Sewell, Co-facilitator of our Bournemouth and Poole Support Group, shares his review of Ruby Wax's Frazzled, her latest book tour about mindfulness.

Review: Ruby Waxs Frazzled

What a privilege it was to be part of the audience for Ruby Wax's latest Frazzled book tour performance at the Lighthouse arts centre in Poole.

Capable and inspiring, her new command of mindfulness - thanks to her Oxford University Masters degree in Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy - is a heartfelt, hysterical hula that carries a strong message.

Ruby Wax was on fine form in front of the full house, opening with a succession of fast-paced stories in response to questions previously posed online about mindfulness.

In the past I've felt that despite her profile, many interviews and talk shows on the subject, she neglected to explain clearly what mattered about mental health awareness. But at last she shines bright to her full potential and we have an articulate, authentic ambassador; rich in wit and sharp in mind.

With just a clipboard for company, this one-woman show took place in a winged armchair on a red rug. She expertly crafted comedic illustrations of mindfulness throughout her show, initially of her mother's parenting skills, which were met with eruptions of laughter and applause. Poole loved her and so did I.

Surprisingly, Ruby Wax began her guide to mindfulness with explaining what Cortisol is (A hormone produced by the brain’s Adrenal Gland in response to stress), how it is harmful to our cognition and behaviour in large doses but stress and racing thoughts can be relieved by practicing mindfulness. This should the stuff that accompanies English, Maths and Science lessons at primary school, don’t you think?

She even led the audience in two mindfulness exercises. We were all with her. You could her a pin drop and the atmosphere was intoxicating and respectful. We all wanted more. And we got it, in bucket loads.

Frazzled goes a long way in demystifying mental health and mindfulness. Recovery and managing mental health can begin in understanding brain biology. No Masters required.

Post interval and book-signing frenzy, the second half was an open question and answer session, akin to ‘an audience with’. Ushers just about kept up with audience questions and microphone availability. She handled this part of the show with expertise and entertaining quips, quick as a flash and kept everyone fully engaged.

Interestingly, most of the questions raised by the local audience involved how mental health affects families and young people and whether mindfulness could benefit individuals. She called mental health an epidemic and how educating children and young people at an early age is paramount, as their brains are more malleable.

Ruby has also partnered with Marks and Spencer to create Frazzled Cafe; "a safe, anonymous and non-judgemental environment where people who are feeling frazzled can meet on a regular basis to talk and share their personal stories." You can sign up at www.frazzledcafe.org and you'll be notified when a local Frazzled Café opens in your area. Marvellous idea.

Frazzled is more than funny and Ruby Wax is well worth your undivided full attention, as mindfully as you can muster. Especially the finalé that involved her adorning colourful garlands for a slapstick Hawaiian Hula to Cindy Lauper’s "Girls Just Want to Have Fun"! Bravo!

Our Bournemouth and Poole Support Group meets on the first Wednesday of each month at 7pm. Find more information here.