Ruby Wax is a successful comedian, TV writer and performer of more than 25 years.
She was awarded an OBE in 2015 for services to mental health. She lives in London with her TV producer husband, Ed Bye.
FAME IS A GOOD COVER FOR A BAD CHILDHOOD
My parents were refugees who fled Austria in 1938, and at our home in Evanston, Illinois, my father was violent and my mother had myriad mental health problems.
They treated me as something subhuman — someone who would not make it in life.
Ruby Wax is a successful comedian, TV writer and performer of more than 25 years
Ruby Wax’s I’m Not As Well As I Thought I Was tour kicks off this month, through to November
Just to spite them, I turned on my turbo and built a 25-year career in television. Celebrity is a perfect cover for a dysfunctional childhood.
For a long time, I was living my life in the past, subconsciously focusing on my childhood and home life while dreaming of a more fulfilling and happier future.
Ten years ago, I got a degree from Oxford University in mindfulness-based cognitive therapy and I’ve since learned how to come into the present when I choose to.
The benefits of this are huge. As well as boosting memory, being present increases focus and reduces stress by lowering levels of the stress hormone, cortisol.
A couple of years ago, I spent 30 days at a silent retreat near San Francisco.
By not chatting to anyone during dinner, I could taste how delicious the food was.
My mind could focus, and being less distracted generally meant my thoughts were less self-critical.
Finding your own silence doesn’t require a retreat. Just allow yourself alone time. Switch off the TV and background music.
Ruby pictured with her parents, refugees who had fled Austria in 1938. Ruby’s father was violent and her mother had mental health problems
Certain things you have no control of cause stress from a cortisol overload. The culture is the culprit, not the individual.
It’s the adverts that drive you to shop until you drop; news evokes terror; and social media creates the feeling that you never have enough.
As individuals, we do have control over the way we think. We can stop ruminating, stop thinking in the past and stop living life on automatic pilot.
With mindfulness, I’ve learned to lower my stress. Awareness lowers cortisol because you’re noticing your state of mind rather than being at its mercy. That’s a one-way ticket to happiness.
- Ruby Wax’s I’m Not As Well As I Thought I Was tour kicks off this month, through to November. Tickets available via livenation.co.uk