Ed Wardle, Alone in the Wild

We’ve been a bit quiet here on the Mindapples blog (my book coming out, Lauren’s MA due in, Tessy on holiday…), but there’s a lot going on behind the scenes.

One of the things I’ve been up to is contributing to a new Channel 4 programme, Alone in the Wild, in which Ed Wardle will be living alone in the Yukon wilderness for 3 months, starting this week. Adam Gee at Channel 4 tells me that no experiments in human isolation have ever gone beyond 8 weeks, so no-one is sure what Ed will experience towards the end of his stay. He’s a brave guy and I’m watching his progress with interest.

Channel 4 interviewed me for their website , along with Terry Waite, Sarah Maitland and other more qualified people than me, about what I thought would be the impact of solitude on Ed’s mental health. I drew on many of the Mindapples responses to inform the discussion – thanks to all of you for contributing – and as you can see, from reading your 5-a-days it’s clear that solitude is good for the mind, but connection with people is really important too. Spending time with people is the most popular of all the activities you picked. I also mentioned some of the other things which you said helped you, including reading fiction (also a popular choice), and attention and relaxation techniques such as morning pages and mindfulness.

I’m not sure I was quite as confident as I sound from the interview – I’ve certainly never wanted to be seen as an expert on mental health – but I hope it’s interesting and gives you food for thought. Let me know what you think, or if you have anything to add, either here or on the Channel 4 site. You can also follow Ed’s progress on Twitter and join the conversation there too. After all, it’s nice to know we’re not alone!