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The Science of Mindfulness: A Research-Based Path to Well-Being

The Science of Mindfulness: A Research-Based Path to Well-Being

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Priority Code


The Science of Mindfulness: A Research-Based Path to Well-Being

Course No. 9303
Professor Ronald D. Siegel, Psy.D.
Harvard University
Share This Course
4.6 out of 5
104 Reviews
89% of reviewers would recommend this series
Course No. 9303
  • Audio or Video?
  • You should buy audio if you would enjoy the convenience of experiencing this course while driving, exercising, etc. While the video does contain visual elements, the professor presents the material in an engaging and clear manner, so the visuals are not necessary to understand the concepts. Additionally, the audio audience may refer to the accompanying course guidebook for names, works, and examples that are cited throughout the course.
  • You should buy video if you prefer learning visually and wish to take advantage of the visual elements featured in this course. The video version is not heavily illustrated, featuring a variety of visuals designed to aid in your understanding of the course material. Among these are diagrams that show you the correct process of mindful practice, illustrations and photographs that highlight aspects like proper posture during meditation, and several animations that show how parts of your brain are affected by mindful activities. There are on-screen spellings and definitions to help reinforce material for visual learners.
Streaming Included Free

Course Overview

Have you ever noticed that trying to calm down before a high-stakes event often just produces more agitation? That trying to change troublesome habits can seem difficult or impossible? Or that real fulfillment and well-being can be elusive, despite living a successful life?

A surprising number of such difficulties stem from an inherited propensity of the human brain—our automatic, hardwired tendency to seek pleasure and to anticipate and avoid pain. Modern science demonstrates that this mental hardwiring, traceable to the survival needs of our earliest ancestors, is at the root of many of the psychological and behavioral problems that we face today.

For thousands of years, people have used mindfulness practices—techniques to develop awareness of present experience with acceptance—to deal effectively with a wide range of life challenges. And, a large and fascinating body of scientific research now validates the remarkable benefits of mindfulness practice for psychological as well as physical health.

But how exactly does mindfulness work, in scientific terms? How can understanding the science and practice of mindfulness improve everyday life? And how can the human brain, whose very functioning gives rise to so many of the problems we struggle with, actually provide a solution?

Now, in the 24 fascinating lectures of The Science of Mindfulness, Professor Ronald D. Siegel, a clinical psychologist on the faculty of Harvard Medical School, reveals the science behind mindfulness in compelling detail and demonstrates its application to an extraordinary range of human problems—psychological, social, and medical. You’ll closely examine the neurobiology involved, leaving you with a clear knowledge of the science underlying ancient practices that are now profoundly influencing the contemporary world. And you’ll learn many practical ways you can use mindfulness techniques in your own life.

An Empirical “Inner Science”

We are now in the midst of an explosion of scientific research demonstrating that mindfulness practice changes both the function and the structure of the brain. Numerous studies, using such technologies as EEG and MRI, show which parts of the brain are affected by mindfulness practice, and how these neurobiological changes benefit our minds and bodies.

You’ll learn the science underlying mindfulness in topics such as:

  • Neurobiology and well-being: Learn how, when we’re worried or scanning the environment for trouble, our brain activity tends to center on the amygdala and the right prefrontal cortex, whereas left prefrontal cortical activity correlates with happiness, engagement, and contentment. Examine research demonstrating that sustained mindfulness practice activates this left prefrontal region.
  • Changing brain function and structure: Take a broad look at what neuroimaging technologies tell us about how mindfulness affects brain function by activating specific areas of the brain that regulate emotions, integrate feeling states and thought processes, deepen empathy and equanimity, and reduce cognitive decline as we age.
  • The science of self-preoccupation: Learn about the human brain’s “default mode network,” a neural system that’s activated during stressful thinking about ourselves, centered in the posterior cingulate cortex (PCC). Grasp how mindfulness techniques dramatically affect the PCC, quieting this hub of self-referential thinking.

A Stunning Range of Applications

One result of these scientific findings is that mindfulness practices have been adopted into mainstream psychotherapy and many other healthcare settings, showing effectiveness for a stunning range of conditions. You’ll explore how mindfulness practices are used to treat a wide variety of psychological and behavioral difficulties that can interfere with leading a rich and fulfilling life, such as

  • Depression: Grasp how mindful awareness impacts depression by changing our relationship to moods, feelings, and thoughts, allowing us to perceive them as transient and ultimately impersonal events.
  • Compulsive and addictive behaviors: Learn how mindfulness techniques can dismantle troublesome habits and behaviors by enabling us to “surf” waves of feelings and urges without having to act on them.
  • Chronic pain: Discover the success of mindfulness practices in treating pain, by changing our relationship to moment-to-moment sensations and our thoughts about them.
  • Stress and other psychological symptoms: Explore the extraordinary results of mindfulness techniques in groundbreaking stress-reduction programs, cognitive therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, and other acceptance-based treatments.

A Useful and Convenient Guide for Practice

While this course delves deeply into the neuroscience behind mindfulness, research shows that, like physical fitness, the benefits of mindfulness come from practicing it. With this in mind, Professor Siegel also teaches you a wide array of mindfulness techniques, encouraging and helping you to practice both with him, and on your own. These techniques, several of which are also provided, for enhanced practice, on supplementary audio tracks with the course, include:

  • Breath Awareness Practice a foundational formal meditation practice and one of the simplest ways to calm and integrate the mind and body
  • Loving-Kindness Practice a fundamental practice for cultivating acceptance, both toward the contents of your own mind and toward others;
  • Mountain Meditation a core equanimity practice, valuable for riding out storms of emotion more effectively;
  • Breathing Together a powerful practice for developing interpersonal connection;
  • 3-Minute Breathing Space a practice useful in moments of acute distress;
  • R-A-I-N a practice empowering you to be with and investigate challenging emotional or physical states; and
  • Befriending the Changes a meditation on the impermanence of the body, useful for working with the challenges of illness and aging

As Professor Siegel makes clear in these lectures, mindfulness practice trains us to bring deep awareness to the present moment—to become more fully conscious of our unfolding sensory and mental experience as it arises. This mindful awareness, as research clearly shows, can profoundly change our relationship to all of our experience. And with more than three decades of success teaching mindfulness practices and exploring their scientific underpinnings with students, clients, and mental health professionals, Professor Siegel is an ideal guide.

Teaching of Uncommon Thoroughness and Depth

With a penetrating knowledge of both ancient mindfulness traditions and their modern uses, Professor Siegel reveals the striking intersections between traditional Buddhist psychology and Western cognitive science, showing how mindfulness practices can allow you to perceive the fluid nature of the “self” and the reality of your own profound interconnectedness with the world.

This playful, caring, and brilliantly designed course places in full view the impact and relevance of mindfulness techniques in responding effectively to many of humanity’s most fundamental psychological and existential problems. Revolutionary in its implications, The Science of Mindfulness shows you how these techniques can radically transform the mind, the heart, and the experience of everyday life—joining ancient wisdom practices and scientific methodology in forging new possibilities for living.

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29 lectures
 |  29 minutes each
  • 1
    Why Mindfulness Matters
    Begin by exploring the nature of mindfulness practice as a means of developing awareness with acceptance of our present experience. Review its remarkable range of psychological and physical benefits, dispel common misconceptions, and uncover the three core skills it employs as part of an empirically-supported path to well-being. x
  • 2
    Our Troublesome Brains
    Here, discover how our brains are actually predisposed, evolutionarily, to psychological distress. Learn about the human “negativity bias,” and how our tendency to both anticipate and try to avoid pain leads to problems. Consider what mindfulness teaches us about the mind, and what challenges might arise in practicing mindfulness - beginning with awareness of breath. x
  • 3
    Informal, Formal, and Intensive Practices
    Grasp how mindfulness, like physical fitness, must be developed through regular and sustained practice. Investigate ways of cultivating mindfulness during daily activities such as bathing or driving, and understand the significant benefits of formal meditative practice and intensive retreats. Learn also about walking and eating meditation. x
  • 4
    Who Am I - The Perils of Self
    Now grapple with one of the most fundamental and challenging insights that come from mindfulness practice. With reference to both cognitive science and traditional Buddhist thought, observe how the human mind creates the illusory sense of a “separate” self, and how this conception of separateness is itself the cause of suffering. x
  • 5
    Mindfulness or Psychotherapy
    Delve into the implications of mindfulness practice for psychological well-being. Learn how mindfulness practice works toward many of the same goals as psychotherapy. Explore how the ultimate aim of traditional mindfulness practice diverges from earlier Western psychology in proposing a more radical path to psychological, emotional, and spiritual freedom. x
  • 6
    Attention and Empathy in Relationships
    See how mindfulness practices train us to embrace our moment-to-moment experience. Learn how this capacity allows us to be with discomfort and to freely tolerate all emotional states, and how this can positively affect our relationships through cultivating empathy, open-mindedness, and mental flexibility. x
  • 7
    The Science of Compassion and Self-Compassion
    “Compassion” is empathy for suffering that includes a desire to alleviate it. Learn how compassion for oneself is associated with virtually every desirable psychological outcome. Learn steps and exercises to cultivate compassion both for yourself and others, and review studies on the benefits of developing compassion. x
  • 8
    Tailoring Practices to Fit Changing Needs
    In choosing mindfulness practices for your own life, consider seven different criteria or questions to ask, such as which mindfulness skills to emphasize; whether to favor secular or religious approaches; and when to do practices that cultivate a sense of safety as opposed to those that work with difficult psychological material. x
  • 9
    Modifying Our Brain Function and Structure
    This lecture takes a thorough look at mindfulness and brain function. Review studies that show how mindfulness practice activates areas of the brain that regulate emotions, integrate thoughts and feelings, increase empathy, and facilitate learning and memory, while also retaining more brain matter and staving off aspects of cognitive decline typically associated with aging. x
  • 10
    Solitude - An Antidote to Loneliness
    Explore how mindfulness and compassion practices deepen connection and communication with others, and also cultivate an awareness of “interbeing” - our connection to the larger world. Review data showing how mindfulness skills enhance relationships, and see how mindfulness fosters the ability to be alone, a capacity essential for intimacy. x
  • 11
    Connecting with Children and Adolescents
    Mindfulness practice offers distinct benefits for caregivers of young people. Observe how mindfulness training helps us enter a child’s world through developing spontaneity and sensitivity, as well as fostering effective responses to misbehavior. Also learn mindfulness techniques that children and young people can use themselves. x
  • 12
    Seeing Sadness and Depression in a New Light
    Grasp how depression involves shutting down and turning away from pain, and how mindfulness practice turns our attention to the experience at hand, thus challenging the depressive stance. Observe how mindfulness changes our relationship to thoughts, moods, and feelings, allowing us to see them as transient events. x
  • 13
    Befriending Fear, Worry, and Anxiety
    Investigate the nature of anxiety and fear, seeing their roots in fantasies about the future. Consider how we typically cope with worry and anxiety by distracting ourselves, and how mindfulness training can free us from anxiety through directly facing our fears while grounded in the present moment. x
  • 14
    Transforming Chronic Pain
    Review substantial evidence that the vast majority of chronic back pain is actually stress-related, and learn about the effects of negative emotions on the body. Discover how mindfulness practice offers an effective approach to dealing with physical pain, through changing our relationship to both the symptom and to pain-related thinking. x
  • 15
    Placebos, Illness, and the Power of Belief
    This lecture explores the extraordinary power of the mind to affect our subjective experience of the body. Review astonishing data on the effectiveness of placebos in medical treatment, and learn how mindfulness practice can aid in treating conditions such as insomnia, sexual dysfunction, gastrointestinal problems, and illness anxiety. x
  • 16
    Interrupting Addiction and Troublesome Habits
    Investigate the nature of compulsive behaviors and the psychological patterns that keep them in place. Observe how mindful awareness can dismantle these patterns, allowing us to be with changing waves of feelings and urges without having to act on them. Learn about effective mindfulness-based programs for a range of problematic behaviors. x
  • 17
    Overcoming Traumas Large and Small
    Study how trauma affects the mind, and how the tendency to suppress traumatic experiences leads to painful symptoms and unhealthy behavior. Grasp the ways in which mindfulness techniques can be highly effective for processing and integrating avoided feelings, and learn four practical steps for working with traumatic material. x
  • 18
    Groundbreaking Mindfulness Programs
    We are now seeing the wide-scale adoption of mindfulness practices into many healthcare settings. Study the approaches and benefits of pioneering programs such as Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy, and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, and learn additional techniques that can deepen any mindfulness practice. x
  • 19
    The Neurobiology of Self-Preoccupation
    Science is now able to measure brain activity related to self-referential thinking - self-focused thought patterns that tend to correlate with distress. Examine findings from recent studies showing that experienced meditators can quickly step out of the self-preoccupied thought stream, with significant benefits for their ability to deal with pain and to cultivate wellness. x
  • 20
    Growing Up Is Not Easy - Facing Impermanence
    Mindfulness traditions teach us that facing impermanence can be extraordinarily liberating. Assess your readiness, and consider how mindfulness practices offer a different way of relating to the realities of aging, sickness, and death itself, and how cultivating deep attention to the present moment allows us to freely enjoy all the stages of life. x
  • 21
    Toward a Science of Wisdom
    Today, scientific psychologists are beginning to grapple with the question of what wisdom is and how it may be developed. Examine current experimental models for studying wisdom, and discover the key elements of wisdom they identify. Review eight ways that mindfulness practices can help us to develop wisdom. x
  • 22
    The Promise of Enlightenment
    The ultimate goal of traditional mindfulness practice is a psychological transformation known as “enlightenment.” Grasp the nature of this awakening in practical terms and learn about various pitfalls and challenges people encounter along the path, including spiritual materialism, foundations for awareness, and interpersonal contexts. x
  • 23
    Mindful Ethics as a Path to Freedom
    Recent research suggests a bilateral relationship between ethics and well-being. Consider five ethical precepts, and use them as tools of inquiry to observe which actions lead to suffering for ourselves and others. Learn how to develop an empirically derived ethical code - one not received as doctrine, but based in personal experience. x
  • 24
    The New Science of Happiness
    Finally, learn about the new field of positive psychology, and how mindfulness practices foster empirically-supported paths to happiness. Consider the many things that we mistakenly assume will produce happiness, and the alternative of a reliable avenue to well-being, grounded in attention to the present moment, engagement in life, gratitude, and connectedness to others. x
  • 25
    Bonus Meditation - Breath Awareness Practice
    Bonus Meditation - Breath Awareness Practice x
  • 26
    Bonus Meditation - Loving-Kindness Practice
    Bonus Meditation - Loving-Kindness Practice x
  • 27
    Bonus Meditation - Mountain Meditation
    Bonus Meditation - Mountain Meditation x
  • 28
    Bonus Meditation - Breathing Together
    Bonus Meditation - Breathing Together x
  • 29
    Bonus Meditation - Stepping into Fear
    Bonus Meditation - Stepping into Fear x

Lecture Titles

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What's Included

What Does Each Format Include?

Video DVD
Video Download Includes:
  • Ability to download 24 video lectures from your digital library
  • Downloadable PDF of the course guidebook
  • FREE video streaming of the course from our website and mobile apps
Video DVD
Audio Download Includes:
  • Ability to download 24 audio lectures from your digital library
  • Downloadable PDF of the course guidebook
  • FREE audio streaming of the course from our website and mobile apps
Video DVD
DVD Includes:
  • 24 lectures on 4 DVDs
  • 208-page printed course guidebook
  • Downloadable PDF of the course guidebook
  • FREE video streaming of the course from our website and mobile apps
Video DVD
CD Includes:
  • 24 lectures on 12 CDs
  • 208-page printed course guidebook
  • Downloadable PDF of the course guidebook
  • FREE audio streaming of the course from our website and mobile apps

What Does The Course Guidebook Include?

Video DVD
Course Guidebook Details:
  • 208-page course synopsis
  • Photos & illustrations
  • Mindfulness practices
  • Suggested readings

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Your professor

Ronald D. Siegel

About Your Professor

Ronald D. Siegel, Psy.D.
Harvard University
Dr. Ronald D. Siegel is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychology at Harvard Medical School/Cambridge Health Alliance, where he has taught for more than 30 years, and an Adjunct Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He received his Doctor of Psychology degree from Rutgers University and completed his clinical internship and postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard...
Learn More About This Professor
Also By This Professor


The Science of Mindfulness: A Research-Based Path to Well-Being is rated 4.6 out of 5 by 103.
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Full of insight and well presented This course is absolutely awesome, wonderful, most interesting, educational and important for living a full content life. For the past 30 or so years I have practiced mindfulness meditation and have studied many of the teachers and methods Professor Siegel talks about in his lectures, I was not aware of much of the science and psychology he presents and found this fascinating, indeed. Very well organized, and a through study of mindfulness. Wonderful to use as 'dharma' talks for experienced meditators as well as those 'new' on the path. I am purchasing a few more sets to gift to my children and will talk about these with my friends. Thank You Ronald Siegel for sharing this with me....
Date published: 2017-03-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great way to get an understanding of Mindfulness I got this course to supplement an 8 week workshop on Mindfulness Meditation that I was taking at my health club. I was more than satisfied. Between the course and the workshop I have developed a great desire to continue learning more on Mindfulness Meditation. Thanks to this course I am currently taking the course Practicing Mindfulness and signing up for an advanced workshop for Advanced Mindfulness at my health club.
Date published: 2017-03-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Outstanding Course I have practiced mindfulness regularly for two years and have read and studied a reasonable amount on the topic, including two week long retreats. This course was a wonderful addition to my knowledge base. The professor is extremely well versed in all aspects of mindfulness, and given his years of practical experience as a psychologist, brings a depth of experience to the field that is refreshing and illuminating. And he is humorous. The course pulls together how mindfulness fits into our "normal" lives and how it can help with more challenging psychological situations. Outstanding
Date published: 2017-03-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Profound.... As we look at our healthcare system and it's deliver to those in need we must take into consideration this piece b/c mindfulness time has come... akin to fighting racism and tobacco .... excessive calories or poor health habits either physical or mental or how we treat others... ...... such a great need as we have so many distractions that imprison our focus and time.... and talents from it's potential
Date published: 2017-02-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A course to savor. Excellent introduction to mindfullness from a scientific and clinical perspective. The instructor, Dr. Ronald Siegel, projected a welcoming, calm, almost avuncular presence that helped draw you into the subject. His reassuring, down-to-Earth demeanor, the obvious depth of his clinical, teaching, and scientific expertise, and his sincere belief in the value of his subject created a course that was both intellectually stimulating and practical. This is a course to be savored more than once.
Date published: 2017-02-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of my favorite courses! I did not know what to expect from this course, and in fact did not know that “mindfulness” is inextricably linked with meditation. I’m so glad I bought this course on a whim and have been introduced to this practice that I now incorporate into my day-to-day life. I think this is the most practically helpful course I’ve heard from the Great Courses. Professor Siegal presents a perfect balance of the details of scientific studies, the incorporation of mindfulness in cultures across the eras, and guided meditations. He draws the listener in with his calm and personable demeanor. This is one of the first courses that I have completed and immediately thought, “I have to go listen to the whole thing again!” Truly, this is an invaluable resource in focusing the mind on the here and now and becoming aware of how much of our untrained thoughts center around narratives about ourselves. Each lecture is more interesting than the one before. Though different spiritual practices concerning mindfulness is discussed, this course really does not presuppose a religious adherence but rather focuses on the science and practical benefits that meditation has been shown to provide. I can’t recommend this course enough if you are interested at all in mindfulness, or if you wish that you could improve your focus and positive thought processes.
Date published: 2017-02-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Ohm Enjoyed the course and the professor's presentation. I was pleased that the course content contained topics or themes relevant to real life, even if they may have made some viewers a little uncomfortable. Way to go. I appreciated the studies being done to measure whether mindfulness and meditation are effective. But I rated this course as only 4 stars because a number of lectures didn't measure up in this regard because they were more anecdotal. In my case, I would disagree that Buddhism as a religion anchors this course. Buddhist philosophy undoubtedly permeates each lecture though.
Date published: 2017-01-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from
Date published: 2017-01-17
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good content but The mindfulness lessons are great -- very useful the more you use them. The problem is that I'd like to take them with me and listen as I walk or travel. You can do that, but it is awkward. You have to download each session separately. It would be much more convenient and useful if they all could be downloaded at once.
Date published: 2017-01-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Lots of Attention to Buddhism I liked this course, although if I'm going to apply what I learned in this course, I would say, "The pleasant experience of liking this course washed over my consciousness as I listened, and the memories of that experience are now entering my consciousness once again as I type this review." The professor was genial and seemed to be well-informed. I don't doubt that the mindfulness exercises described here would benefit most people. There did seem be more Buddhism here than science, although maybe I'm just making a strict distinction where I ought not to. If you have a lot of anti-Buddhist sentiment, maybe you won't like this course. Some of the advice in this course, which seems to be based in the teachings of the historical Buddha was something like this: try this; if it works, great; if not, you don't have to try it again, but try something else. That seems kind of imprecise, but since I've never been much of a stickler for precision, I wasn't bothered. I bought the audio-download version and thought it was fine. There were some bonus meditation episodes included at the end of this course. I haven't listened to them, but I might in the future, especially if I feel like I need to be more mindful which is highly likely given the state of things. I hope you liked my review. If you did, that's great. If you didn't, that's okay, too. May you go about your day with peace, compassion, and loving kindness even though you've shattered me by giving me a thumbs down.
Date published: 2017-01-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Bought on for my son in law Excellent. Easy to follow with results you can feel. A must if you are going through difficulties in your life.
Date published: 2016-12-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Science of Mindfulness Professor Siegel is an outstanding lecturer. His focus is a rational balance of eastern practices with western findings in brain function. Excellent.
Date published: 2016-12-27
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Too little research The sub-title "research based" led me to expect scientific insight to the subject. What I got instead was a promotional piece for the Buddist religion. There was little of use -- some material was actually dangerous. Very disappointed.
Date published: 2016-12-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A mindful review Well presented, informative, encouraging and factual in a somewhat entertaining fashion.
Date published: 2016-11-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Practical and Erudite Well supported review of mindfullness practice with respect to spirituality , empiric research, clinical psychology and neuroscience. Very well done compilation looking at practical application. I find this very helpful for my personal and family use, as well as in clinical medical practice dealing with adolescents and families with ADHD, anxiety, alcohol drug problems, as well as promoting general well-being.
Date published: 2016-10-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fabulous!
Date published: 2016-10-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Terrific Course Dr. Siegel delivered just what his title promised, an overview of the science of mindfulness. I found the series to be a terrific learning experience. One in which I was reminded of concepts known, yet challenged and delighted to find new meanings and connections for some of those concepts. Finally, to round out the experience, I learned new concepts that definitely added to my learning list. He even exceeded expectations with interspersed stories and musings, which brought "laugh out loud" humor--always a good thing! Thank you to Dr. Siegel and to The Great Courses from someone who has been engaged in mindfulness practices for many years.
Date published: 2016-10-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from very worthwhile Mindfulness was presented by speaker Spiegel who was a very articulate and knowledgeable psychologist who presented the issue very thoroughly and inspired us to begin this practice. The audio streaming did fairly well most of the time but on occasion once or twice during each lecture it seemed to hang up and had to be restarted at the point of stoppage. Probably the best investment I've made with the great courses so far.
Date published: 2016-09-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Life altering A wonderful introduction to meditation and its benefits. Intended equally for beginners such as myself and health-care professionals. It has improved my mental and physical health. I've been recommending it to friends.
Date published: 2016-09-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Enlightening I thought this was a very interesting and thorough course. Professor Siegel did a great job with the presentation and I enjoyed his interactive mindfulness practices. This course actually motivated me to practice meditation on a daily basis. Especially since the course goes over how meditating can change the anatomical structure of you brain; pretty cool if you ask me.
Date published: 2016-09-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best Purchase Ever For the first time in my life I like meditation and mindfulness, and it is helping me deal with life's challenges. I find great comfort and have deep respect for the presenter, Dr. Ronald Siegel. He doesn't waste any time and explains things in a way that makes sense on an intellectual and emotional level. He is neither cold nor condescending. The best thing about it is that it provides an effective and persuasive alternative to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, CBT. With mindfulness you are not required to stifle, change, or distract yourself from your thoughts and feelings, while the opposite is true in CBT. I am deeply grateful for this course and recommend it to everybody.
Date published: 2016-09-08
Rated 4 out of 5 by from
Date published: 2016-08-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Purchase! The course offer a different perspective for understanding and solving typical human problems. A point of view that must be included.
Date published: 2016-07-27
Rated 2 out of 5 by from too cutsey, tongue in cheek humorless There is another course on the same subject which I would recommend, but not this one. Obviously comes close to Jon Kabat Zin's stuff, and since they are in the same academic and geographic vicinity. A few too many inappropriate connotations, which made me feel like I was listening to another slightly perverted teacher. Not that I'm a prude, but Buddhism has it's own loose structure around that subject that needs to be handled in a straight forward discussion. Try one of my absolute favorites: Practicing Mindfulness. And it's more than an introduction - highly recommended!
Date published: 2016-07-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I found this course both practical and elevating. The teacher is a “tour guide” who can add perspective and joy to our understanding of mindfulness, therapy, involvement, kindness, and meditation. Who May Benefit Most: If you want to expand or explore another dimension of mindfulness practice, to add an element of motivation for an existing practice, or to investigate mindfulness as part of psycho-therapy, this course may be for you. The course requires an open mind about methods compatible with many classical Buddhist psychological insights (IMHO an evidently rich, defensible, uniquely introspective generalizable foundation for understanding the mind), but I thought he avoided religious opinions. Impressions on the Scope of Course: Dr. Siegel begins by defining Mindfulness, suggesting how to develop or refine a practice (as much a skill as a method), and showing its positive value both historically and in modern research. He examines how mindfulness can greatly help manage current medical/psychological/social challenges, the relationship between the mind and stress/strain, and how mindfulness engages and gives perspective to problems rather than trying to ignore them or overcome them with conflict. He suggests many habitual and often-useful mental operations (which we often take for granted) inevitably create difficulties, and how mindfulness can manage them and lead us forward. He also emphasizes mindfulness, like mastering a sport or playing an instrument, requires practice and refinement, while positive mental states (including compassion and equanimity) are both a product and a condition for mindfulness. Kindness and compassion (including for our own minds) are indeed large parts of the practice. Finally, Dr. Siegel ends with useful guided imagery and meditation exercises and he summarizes practices discussed in lectures. Instructor and Presentation: -- Dr. Siegel’s enthusiastically good-natured teaching style rarely seems contentious, condescending, sarcastic, or dogmatic. He often sounds like he’s ready to start a joke (in fact, he often uses “one of my favorite cartoons is …” to make a point). -- I listened to the course, and can’t imagine you’d miss much by taking the audio. -- The Course Guidebook seems to follow the lectures well, and I found it useful to review these notes after the lectures. The Bibliography was strong, although many of the sources from books and articles may not be readily accessible and few web-based resources (other than links) were given. Strong Points: I thought the "good-points-to-not-so-good-points ratio" of this course was high. It can help cultivate an understanding of the mind and our lives, in a way that can help end suffering. It's nice to observe Dr. Siegel take a fairly complicated topic (like the dangers of self-referential thinking) and explain it simply but accurately – his discussions are helpful and they make sense. By adding Kindness to the standard therapeutic definition of Mindfulness, he pragmatically brings it much closer to the classical Buddhist definition of Mindfulness. He covers a broad range of interesting topics, including how our usual way of self-experience can produce inevitable problems, how attention can blend with empathy in relationships, suggestions for selecting the right method of mindfulness, and why it often takes skillful effort to be positive. Precautions: Dr. Siegel presents Mindfulness as almost entirely beneficial, good for everything from soup to nuts, and always the best approach (implied in Lecture 7). I think this may be a bit utopian, may understate the discipline involved, and risks some disappointment or unrealistic expectations for several reasons. A second precaution is the course seems to present some diseases as perhaps-too-largely psychosomatic, so if you have something like fibromyalgia or irritable bowel syndrome, you may encounter some pique at the implication that “much of it’s in your head.” I’m a clinician not a therapist, but think we need humility in making blanket diagnoses. Disclaimer: I have a Buddhist practice but am not a psychotherapist, have never had (or plan) psychotherapy, and couldn’t tell you much about it … but I enjoyed the course.
Date published: 2016-06-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from the science of mindfulness Very good course to gain entry into the realm of mindfulness.
Date published: 2016-06-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Mindfulness - Professor Ronald Siegel Wonderful course! Well worth the time and money. One small issue I had with Professor Siegel, however, was when he was in 'full lecture mode', he had a tendency to speak quite rapidly - a little hard to follow sometimes.
Date published: 2016-06-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Mindfulness - a clinical or scientific perspective First, I am glad I bought this course. I wrote a review about another mindfulness course (1933). That was also a good course. In that review, I talked a little about what mindfulness was (something new to me at the time). Here, I thought it might be useful to compare the 2 courses: - Course No. 1933: Practicing Mindfulness: An Introduction to Meditation - Course No. 9303: The Science of Mindfulness: A Research-Based Path to Well-Being (this course) They are both extremely good. They differ in their approach. In #1933, Dr. Muesse provides a very personal, empathetic introduction to mindfulness. He introduces mindfulness exercise and then picks out an example from a non-Buddhist religion or philosophical school and says “see, in … religion, they do this too. It is simply called something different”. He cites parallels from all areas: branches of Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, ancient and modern philosophers. He also poses mindfulness as a solution. He discusses an example problem common to people – death, depression, grief, anxiety and so on – and then illustrates how mindfulness might help. He then usually follows with a historical parallel as substantiation. His underlying argument: all these very different ways of living independently developed mindfulness as a core method for leading a happy, satisfying life. Perhaps adopting mindfulness will help you, the student, in your own life. In #9303, Dr. Siegel uses patient examples from his own practice as a clinical psychologist as method to introduce a particular facet of mindfulness practice. He talks about the impact mindfulness had on that patient’s challenge(s) and may bring in other clinical case examples. He then summarizes by discussing clinical or analytic study(ies) that substantiate or prove the effect he was relating. Dr. Siegel’s thesis: mindfulness has been proven to work. There are clinical studies with placebo controls, analytic studies using MRI imaging, anatomical studies of the brain etc. that all show that mindfulness has a measurable, positive effect on practitioners. Mindfulness is thus a regime of mental exercises that are clinically proven to help people lead a happy, satisfying life. In #1933, Dr. Muesse makes his case by analogy. In #9303, Dr. Siegel shows that mindfulness is proven to work. I think you should buy both sets of lectures. Which set you buy first depends on your personal circumstances. • If you are in “a rough patch” – depression, death in the family and so on – get Dr. Muesse’s (1933) set first. • If life is going well, you want to take things to the next level, you’ve heard about mindfulness, curious etc., get Dr. Siegel’s (9303) lectures first. I, fortunately, got Dr. Muesse’s lectures first. I was in a rough patch. Dr. Muesse’s empathetic, emotional approach was able to “reach” me and I made it through the lecture set. In that state, I would not have completed Dr. Siegel’s lectures. Conversely, had I been my old, highly analytic self, I would have tossed Dr. Muesse’s lectures as a new-age looney but Dr. Siegel would have been interesting. To continue with the comparison on a mechanistic level: 1) Dr. Siegel (9303, this course) provides stand-alone mindfulness exercises at the end of the last CD. You can go directly to the instructor-guided exercises without hunting through the CDs. Dr. Muesse’s set provides roughly the same exercises embedded in the lectures so you would need to hunt. Personally, for both sets, I found the instructor’s voice distracting when I tried the exercise. I went through them once with the CD and then practiced on my own from then on. 2) I thought Dr. Muesse was slightly more polished. He would transition between camera angles without pause or obvious prompt. I noticed Dr. Siegel used a clicker and may have had a teleprompter. I also thought Dr. Siegel became better and significantly more at ease through the course of the lectures. Both lecturers are superb and deliver content far better than I could ever hope to accomplish. You might argue that I noticed the difference because I was becoming more mindful. 3) Dr. Siegel explicitly made the point that there are many different types of mindfulness exercises and that you need to match the exercise(s) to the problem or effect you’re trying to achieve. That was an important point for me. I added several exercises that helped a great deal. That information may have been present, perhaps implicitly, in Dr. Muesse’s lectures. If so, I missed it. 4) Ironically, Dr. Muesse, who is largely Buddhist, used detailed examples from many other religions. He does discuss Buddhism and sometimes discusses particular facets of Buddhist belief or history in detail. He also discusses other religions, in the context of mindfulness, in notable detail. Dr. Siegel, who probably isn’t Buddhist, only uses Buddhist religious examples. Please note that neither course is about religion. Dr. Muesse, a religious scholar, uses examples across all religions. Dr. Siegel only uses Buddhist examples – when a religious example comes up. Both approaches work extremely well for their respective lecturers. I noticed the difference and thought it interesting. Again, I recommend both mindfulness lecture sets. I would not try completing them in parallel so you would need to watch them sequentially. I suggest considering the above when you chose which one to try first.
Date published: 2016-06-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great course Some of the material I had encountered elsewhere, but I enjoyed the review and the new material very much.
Date published: 2016-06-01
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Course of Course Very good series. Not much new content for me but the information is very well organized and connects dots that I did not previously see were connected. I recommend it for any serious student of Mindfulness.
Date published: 2016-06-01
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