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Demystifying Mindfulness

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

21,107 enrolled on this course

the hippie, the ninja, the monk, the zombie and the scientist

Demystifying Mindfulness

21,107 enrolled on this course

  • 8 weeks

  • 10 hours per week

  • Digital certificate when eligible

  • Open level

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  • Duration

    8 weeks
  • Weekly study

    10 hours
  • 100% online

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    $244.99 for one whole yearLearn 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 seconds Mindfulness 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 seconds Researchers 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 seconds Whether 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 and Trauma & Social Justice
  • Mindfulness and Nature & Land
  • Mindfulness into the Future
  • Volunteer Project

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

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?

Educated in Cambridge and Oxford Universities, Chris is Dean of Humanities and Professor of Philosophy at the University of Victoria, previously at Leiden. He is a fully trained mindfulness therapist.

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.

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Ways to learn

Choose the best way to learn for you!

Subscribe & save

$244.99 for one whole year

Automatically renews

Develop skills to further your career

  • Access to this course
  • Access to 1,000+ courses
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Digital certificate when you're eligible

Cancel for free anytime

Buy this course

$134/one-off payment

Fulfill your current learning need

  • Access to this course
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Printed and digital certificate when you’re eligible

Limited access


Sample the course materials

  • Access expires 16 Jul 2024

Find out more about certificates, Unlimited or buying a course (Upgrades)

Sale price available until 3 June 2024 at 23:59 (UTC). T&Cs apply.

Find out more about certificates, Unlimited or buying a course (Upgrades)

Sale price available until 3 June 2024 at 23:59 (UTC). T&Cs apply.

Learning on FutureLearn

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  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

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  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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