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Embracing Authenticity and Mental Wellness: Lessons from Ruby Wax at Pendulum Summit

Ruby Wax Speaking at Pendulum 2019

Embracing Authenticity and Mental Wellness: Lessons from Ruby Wax at Pendulum Summit

Ruby Wax, the renowned comedian and mental health advocate, recently delivered a profound and engaging talk at the Pendulum Summit. With her into themes of authenticity, mental wellness, and mindfulness. Her speech resonated deeply, offering valuable insights and practical advice for navigating the complexities of modern life. Here, we explore the key takeaways from Ruby Wax’s inspiring address.

1. Embrace Authenticity

“Authenticity comes with the human package. We are supposed to be flawed.”

Ruby Wax emphasised the importance of being true to oneself. She questioned why society places such high expectations on perfection, reminding us that everyone is inherently flawed. By accepting our imperfections and embracing our authentic selves, we can alleviate the pressure to meet unrealistic standards and foster genuine connections with others.

2. Redefine Stress

“Stress is part of our nature, but we need to stop getting stressed about stress.”

Ruby highlighted how stress is an integral part of the human condition. Drawing on her unique blend of humour and science, she explained that while stress is natural, our modern response to it often exacerbates the problem. Instead of getting stressed about being stressed, we should acknowledge our feelings and manage them in healthier ways.

3. Practice Mindfulness

“Mindfulness helps us manage the red mist of stress. It’s about focusing on your senses to calm your mind.”

One of the central themes of Ruby’s talk was mindfulness. She explained how mindfulness-based cognitive therapy can significantly reduce stress and improve mental health. By focusing on the present moment and our sensory experiences, we can interrupt the cycle of anxious thoughts and develop a more balanced perspective.

4. Show Compassion

“Be kind to yourself and others. We pass our mental states onto each other like neural Wi-Fi.”

Ruby Wax stressed the importance of compassion, both towards ourselves and others. Recognising that we are often our own harshest critics, she encouraged practising self-compassion to break the cycle of negative self-talk. Moreover, by extending compassion to others, we create a ripple effect that promotes overall well-being and harmony.

5. Focus Your Attention

“The most flattering thing you can give another human being is your attention.”

In a world filled with distractions, Ruby underscored the value of focused attention. Whether in personal or professional settings, truly listening and being present can significantly enhance our relationships and productivity. By prioritising our attention, we can foster deeper connections and achieve a greater sense of fulfilment.

The Science Behind Mindfulness

Ruby Wax also delved into the scientific aspects of mindfulness, explaining how it physically changes the brain. She discussed neuroplasticity, the brain’s ability to reorganise itself by forming new neural connections. Through regular mindfulness practice, we can strengthen the brain’s insula, improving our ability to manage stress and maintain emotional balance.

Practical Mindfulness Exercise

Ruby engaged the audience in a simple mindfulness exercise to demonstrate its effectiveness. By focusing on the sensation of clapping hands and then directing attention to specific fingers, participants experienced a shift in their awareness. This exercise illustrated how mindfulness can help us stay grounded and centred amidst the chaos of daily life.


Ruby Wax’s talk at the Pendulum Summit was a powerful reminder of the importance of authenticity, mental wellness, and mindfulness. Her insights and practical advice offer valuable tools for navigating the challenges of modern life. By embracing our flaws, redefining our relationship with stress, practising mindfulness, showing compassion, and focusing our attention, we can cultivate a healthier, more fulfilling existence.

As Ruby Wax eloquently put it, “If we’re going to survive, it really has to be less about survival of the fittest and more about survival of the wisest.” Let’s take these lessons to heart and strive for a more mindful, compassionate world.

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