5 reflections on our #WorldMentalHealthDay conversation with Ruby Wax

12 Oct 2020

We caught up with writer, actor and mental health campaigner, Ruby Wax, to explore the WMHD 2020 theme, ‘Mental health for all’. Here are our 5 highlights, and you can watch the full conversation below. 

1. We're not in the present moment 51% of the time  

We spend a huge amount of our time thinking about the past and the future, and relatively little focusing on the here and now. In essence, mindfulness is about being present in the moment. We can do this by anchoring our minds by focusing on one of our sense, such as breathing or hearing. That’s because you can’t listen tomorrow or yesterday, only in the present.

2. Our brains are perfect... for life 10,000 years ago

Our brains are perfectly formed for a more primitive lifestyle; when the fight-or-flight response was essential to survival and our tribes worked together. The problem is, in modern society, we’re very rarely under immediate danger and competition is much greater. Intellectually, we’ve evolved so fast. Emotionally, we’re still rather primitive.

3. Our brains can heal themselves 

The human brain has the power to repair itself through positive thinking. The science of neuroplasticity is about how we can change neural pathways through our behaviours and environment. Essentially, this means we have the power to change who we are.

4. Mental and physical health is a "onesie"

Like the jumpsuits, they’re two parts of the same whole. When you have too much cortisol – our "fight-or-flight" hormone – it goes straight from the pituitary gland in the brain to the adrenal gland, organs and immune system. Lots of the most commonly associated problems with physical health – obesity, cancer, infertility and so on – actually start from the mind. As such, mental illness deserves the same respect as physical ailments.

5. You don't have to engage with your thoughts

Studies have shown that around 4 out of 5 thoughts are negative. This is an evolutionary hangover originally designed to keep us on our toes, safe from danger. But we don’t have to engage with all of these thoughts. Imagine sitting on a hill overlooking a train track. Imagine that your thoughts are the trains running along the track. You don’t have to get on every train. Instead, you can watch the unhelpful ones run past.

Watch the full conversation

 

We believe mental health is a spectrum

Mental health is not a one-day event. We all have mental health every single day, and that’s why taking steps to better advocate for our own mental wellbeing and that of those around us will help shape a world where mental health is universally understood, nurtured, and celebrated.

To find out more about how you can achieve this at your organisation, book a demo with one of our specialists.

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