Sometimes described as 'the art of conscious living', mindfulness is a natural capacity for moment-by-moment awareness – a practice that enables us to change the way we think and feel about our experiences by developing attentiveness to the present. In recent years, mindfulness has become a recognised form of treatment for both physical and emotional health in mainstream medicine.
Oxford now sits at the forefront of mindfulness research and teaching internationally. Through the Oxford Mindfulness Centre (OMC) – established in 2008 within the Department of Psychiatry – researchers combine ancient wisdom with rigorous contemporary science to better understand the practice's potential for improving health and wellbeing.
The centre's current research agenda has been developed in close collaboration with policy-makers, and the OMC is now undertaking major studies into the promise of mindfulness in education, the workplace and criminal justice systems. The establishment of a permanent post in mindfulness – the first of its kind globally – will enable Oxford to build a permanent research and training centre, and continue to be a leader in this field.
The last 50 years has seen enormous progress in treatments for health problems like heart disease. Our work in Oxford aims to contribute to seeing the same progress in treatments for mental health problems like depression. This Endowment is fundamental in enabling us to build this programme of work.Professor Willem Kuyken, Ritblat Professor of Mindfulness and Psychological Science.
The new Ritblat Professor of Mindfulness and Psychological Science is Professor Willem Kuyken, an expert in evidence-based approaches to depression and Director of the Oxford Mindfulness Centre.