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September 7, 2020

Peering Out of a Pram into a Forest

Thought Leader Interview: Jenny Edwards CBE

This week Jenny and I discussed some revitalising natural aspects of well-being and looked into how she sees the world. I discovered there are so many different ways we can improve wellbeing because we are such unique beings. There is simply no one pill remedy!

Jenny is Health Advisor for the Mindfulness Initiative and advisor to the What Works for Wellbeing Centre, Under the Sky, Breathworks, Better Space, Jesey, and Clasp. She has increasing involvement in activities to help the transition to a regenerative world, working with Enfield Climate Action Forum, Shareholder Action and other collaboratives. As Chief Executive of the Mental Health Foundation from 2013-17 she promoted a focus on prevention and mental health inequalities, working to influence government.

This is what we chatted about. 

What are your thoughts about being able to share and connect with other people to improve wellbeing?

We can all learn through reading and thinking individually but have evolved as social animals. Insights from other people stay in our minds. We can all also learn from life experiences. We can all be alone sometimes and if we feel lonely moral support and empathy from others helps. Real life stories can be an incredible way of learning. We can choose to a great extent where to put our attention and we can connect ourselves to positive or negative information.

What impact has social media had on wellbeing?

Social media has only been around for 10 years of so, while learning from writings have made changes to us over only 100’s of years. Real experiences over tens of thousands of years have made far longer and lasting changes. Our responses to the sense of threats and what we fear evolved over this longer timeframe.  This history is important to understand as the biology of human emotions draws us naturally to pay attention to contemporary threats and to focus on the negative such as news of Covid.

What is the best thing you have ever seen?

It came to my mind immediately. Looking into my son's eyes the morning after he was first born. I remember the music that was playing. Maria Callas ‘My heart opens to your voice’. Looking into his beautiful eyes and feeling true love

What is the worst thing you have ever seen?

A photograph of a young woman who had been killed by stoning. The impact of this and the cruelty of the people who did it. This is hard to face.

What do you want to see?

I immediately had this image. Parents and children around a tree giving it their love. I’ve seen families recently enjoying exploring in ancient woodland and want people to understand the deeper life unseen there and how to develop their connections

What is the first thing you ever remember seeing?

Being in an old-fashioned pram… the edge of the hood and someone peering in.

Posted by RBME Team