Demystifying Mindfulness

Discover the science of mindfulness, learn how it works and why, from a political, psychological, and philosophical perspective.

  • Duration 6 weeks
  • Weekly study 6 hours
  • Learn Free
  • Extra benefits From $44 Find out more

Experience mindfulness for yourself, and learn whether it really works

Interest in meditation, mindfulness, and contemplation has grown rapidly in recent years. These practises are increasingly being seen as scientifically and psychologically valid forms of therapy.

As new evidence from neuroscience backs up the claims for mindfulness’ value, it is now being adopted by practitioners as a tool for therapy, and by big business as a ‘lifestyle choice’.

But what is mindfulness? And how exactly does it work? On this course you’ll explore the academic underpinnings of mindfulness – stripping away its ‘mystery’ once and for all.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 3 secondsMindfulness seems to be everywhere today. We find it in schools, in universities, in hospitals, in military academies. We find it in board rooms and parliament buildings. For some it's a therapy, for others a technology and for some it's a lifestyle choice. Tens of millions of people admit to practicing it in North America alone. Mindfulness seems to be whatever we need it to be. It emerges into the public discourse like a mystical panacea from the ancient East, the cure for all the ills of contemporary societies. But what actually is it? Fundamental research into Mindfulness in various disciplines in the sciences, and the social sciences, and the humanities has grown exponentially in the last decade or so.

Skip to 0 minutes and 46 secondsResearchers are attempting to provide an evidence base for what Mindfulness does to people, as well as a conceptual base for what Mindfulness might actually be. When we say that someone is a mindful person, what are we saying about that person? When people call for mindful society, do they really know what such a society would be like? And would you want to live in it? Based partially in experiential learning, this course aims to give you the theoretical and practical skills to understand and to critically assess Mindfulness in its various forms for yourself. Encompassing its ancient traditions and cutting edge science, this course seeks to de-mystify Mindfulness as a technology for life in the 21st century.

Skip to 1 minute and 30 secondsWhether you're entirely new to Mindfulness, looking for clarity, or an experienced practitioner looking for some more depth. Whether you're a Mindfulness teacher looking to broaden your understanding or a therapist looking to diversify your knowledge. No matter who you are, I hope this unusual course has something to offer you.

What topics will you cover?

  • Introduction to Mindfulness

  • Psychology of Mindfulness

  • Philosophy of Mindfulness

  • Politics of Mindfulness

  • Mindfulness into the Future

  • Volunteer Project

When would you like to start?

Most FutureLearn courses run multiple times. Every run of a course has a set start date but you can join it and work through it after it starts. Find out more

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you'll be able to...

  • Describe popular conceptions and misconceptions about mindfulness
  • Interpret your own experiences of mindfulness practices
  • Evaluate the social and political significance of mindfulness
  • Compare different psychological and therapeutic approaches to mindfulness

Who is the course for?

This course is for mindfulness beginners and professionals, academics and non-academics. If you’re interested in mindfulness – whatever the level – you’ll enjoy discovering its academic underpinnings, allowing you to judge for yourselves and examine sources.

Who will you learn with?

Who developed the course?

Leiden University

Leiden University is one of Europe’s foremost research universities. This prominent position gives our graduates a leading edge and prepares them for careers both within and outside of academia. Leiden University is the oldest university in the Nethe

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