This sneak peek from our Summer 2019 issue (available now) focuses on the amazing book ‘How to Be Happy,’ written by well-known comedienne, actress and mental health activist Ruby Wax, neuroscientist Dr. Ash Ranpura, and Buddhist monk Gelong Thubten. We were thrilled to chat to Ruby Wax about the book, and hear her nuggets of wisdom on the human mind. You can read the full article in our Summer 2019 issue. Click here to find your nearest stockist, or subscribe to receive a copy of the magazine direct to your door.
Ruby Wax and friends on happiness
by Aisling Cronin
Ruby Wax has been well-known as as an actress, comedienne and television personality for decades, but in recent years, she began to develop an interest in mindfulness and mental health. Her own experience of depression led her to undertake deep research into these important topics, with the hope of helping others who were suffering too. In 2013, she earned a master’s degree in mindfulness-based cognitive therapy from Kellogg College, Oxford. This was followed in 2015 by her appointment to the position of Visiting Professor in Mental Health Nursing at the University of Surrey.
Ruby’s dedication to helping people improve their outlook on life has continued to grow ever since.
Ruby’s expertise on the topic of mental health was made clear in her 2018 book, How to Be Human. She combined her own experience and insights with those of Buddhist monk and meditation teacher Gelong Thubten, and neuroscientist Dr. Ash Ranpura. The book soon attracted glowing tributes from a wide range of luminaries. Author Neil Gaiman described the book as ‘one of the most fascinating, intriguing and informative books about minds and bodies and brains and mindfulness I’ve ever encountered’, while actress Joanna Lumley said, ‘How to Be Human is, without exaggeration, a lifeline; wise, practical and funny.’
Ruby’s passion for her subject matter is evident in every page. She wrote: ‘It took us 4 billion years to evolve to where we are now. No question: anyone reading this has won the evolutionary Hunger Games by the fact you’re on all twos and not some fossil. This should make us all the happiest species alive, yet most of us aren’t. What’s gone wrong? We’ve started treating ourselves more like machines and less like humans. But even if nearly every part of us becomes robotic, we’ll still, fingers crossed, have our minds, which, hopefully, we’ll be able to use for things like compassion rather than chasing what’s ‘better’, and if we can do that, we’re on the yellow brick road to happiness.’
Her co-authors’ insights also have much to teach us about how the mind works. Neuroscientist Dr. Ash Ranpura offers some fascinating scientific explanations as to what makes us ‘us’ in the brain. Gelong Thubten – who has been a practising Buddhist monk since 1993 – draws on his vast experience to talk about the nature of the mind. He also provides some mindfulness exercises that can be very easily practised in our day-to-day lives.