A simple definition of mindfulness is being fully aware in the present moment, non-judgementally and with full acceptance of what is.
We live in a frantic world, many of us are so busy getting to the future that the present hardly exists in our minds. The future is uncertain, so the mind projects itself into an imaginary future, creating anxiety and fear about what may or may not happen. Others spend a lot of time in the past; talking about it, thinking about it, feeling regret, shame, guilt, pride, resentment and other emotions created by the memories from the past that linger in the present.
Thinking about the future and the past is natural and part of being a human being. We are constantly developing and evolving according to our experiences and by projecting ourselves into the future we ensure survival. However, we can also become overwhelmed with the emotions created in our minds. By cultivating mindfulness practice in our daily lives, we are aiming to become an observer of our thoughts, rather than being ruled by them. We are practising accepting the thoughts and then allowing them to pass. We are practising bringing the mind back to the present when it leaps ahead or bounces back in time, in order to learn to exist in the present moment, even if it is just for a few moments.
There is now more research emerging that suggests that mindfulness practice meditation is an effective method for managing emotional stress and distress.