Think this is mindfulness? You’ve got it wrong
An Oxford clinical professor and a meditation expert tell Anna Maxted how to do it right — and help chronic depression
The Instagram version of mindfulness has us fooled. We think it’s all yoga poses on white beaches. In fact it is clinically proved to be effective in treating severe depression, yet its reputation remains on a par with crystal healing.
Mindfulness is so misunderstood that even when Mark Williams, emeritus professor of clinical psychology at the University of Oxford, lectures on it to enlightened audiences, he always clarifies. All those illustrations of people on top of mountains, looking blissed out, he says mildly, “give the impression that this is mostly about clearing your mind. And it’s not.”
I’m sitting in a quiet room in an Oxford college with Williams, who co-developed mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) for prevention of relapse in depression, and Dr Danny Penman,