One of the bigger ironies, says comedian and author Ruby Wax, is that people feel more disconnected than ever despite having many different ways to communicate.

The reason for this is that we're tactile by nature and the many benefits of seeing someone in person cannot be replicated by a screen.

"There's a conclusion at the end of the book which says no machine can do and no amount of titanium can replicate is when humans are face-to-face and feel compassion or empathy," she said. 

"I don't want to sound touchy-feely but it is the one thing we were born with it, we're just so busy that we don't have time to do it.

"Also, there's little community... so we need to connect with each other which is ironic because we're living in a culture where everybody is hunkered down in the darkness, terrified to show who they are."

One key factor that would ensure a better life for many is an improvement in our emotional intelligence. While the likes of data and efficiency have been prioritised in our lives - apps will help you get fitter, organise your life and so on - being able to read a person and get a feel for how they're doing can be a major benefit.

"We've gone [so] far with our cognitive intelligence but so many people are burning out and businesses are losing a lot of money so obviously something is missing," she said.

"What they're teaching kids in school now... [are] people-to-people skills because if I can read what you're about, that's the most flattering thing I can do with you and then you'll trust me.

"If I just come with my speech, you don't see the human so emotional intelligence is reading what you're really about and read it in the other person.

"Take a measure, figure out that they're agitated and don't react immediately, just figure out their state".

Wax has broached the topic of the human brain before through previous books like Sane New World: Taming the Mind and A Mindfulness Guide for the Frazzled

In her latest book How To Be Human, which will be doing a tour of Ireland in June, each chapter ends with a discussion between a monk and a neurosurgeon. The reason being is that while she can provide comedy in her writing, her colleagues can bring a different perspective that can be invaluable to everyone.

"Anything you want to know about the brain, I can write because I spin it into comedy, not everything but that's my job," she said. "But then the monk is an expert on the mind, they call [buddhism the] science of the mind.

"Then the neuroscientist, who is a neurobiologist from Yale, says this is what happens in the brain, this exists, this is what happens when you exercise like that so they feed each other".

As she learnt more about the brain, Wax embraced mindfulness - the state of being fully present and aware of your thoughts and how you're feeling - which she says helps when you're feeling overwhelmed with thoughts. 

She does mention that it's a skill and one that takes practice.

"I do mindfulness, [and] what I like about it is the science, there is a change in the brain," she said. It's not something that's self-helping but you have to exercise your brain to get the red mist down.

"It's not to go blank, it's just to have a new relationship with your thoughts that you're not so overwhelmed by them, that you have a choice as they come in, you have an anchor."

Since writing the book, Wax mentions that she doesn't get as frazzled by thoughts and when they do come in, she doesn't trip over them. Wax suggests that people should focus their attention on their families when they go home as they may not realise they're missing more than expected.

"When they go home to their families, they're focused on their families and not dragging business with them," she said. "We live in a world where we're so scattered and distracted that sometimes we aren't awake to who's right in front of you".

- Words by Quinton O'Reilly, video interview by Sínann Fetherston

We spoke with Ruby Wax at the Pendulum Summit which is running in Dublin's Convention Centre on January 9th & 10th 2019.