Mindfulness in a nutshell is a state of focusing one's awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting without judgement one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations. We often let our thoughts wander, settling on the past or the future, which creates tension in the body and mind. The present moment is the only moment in time that we have a choice or control over anything. Spending energy on the past, which has already happened, or the future, which has not yet happened, creates tension which leads to anxiety, worry, a sense of urgency, anguish; our thoughts lead to adventitious suffering. Adventitious suffering is the pain of what was, what will be, what could be, or what someone else is experiencing. Contrary to any physical ailments, adventitious suffering is purely due to our thoughts and is completely in our control. Practicing mindfulness helps you experience the present moment more fully, not suffering in mental senarios that are outside of your control.
Buddhists reasoned that our default mode is to suffer, but only out of ignorance, and we can rise beyond this by learning to quiet our mind, letting go of bad mental habits, and choosing to live with our focus fully on the present. Mindfulness is now being examined scientifically and has been found to be a key element in happiness. Happiness is not the result of external circumstances, but on where we place our energies, where we let our thoughts go. True, lasting happiness can only come from freeing ourselves of our mind so we can see the world as it truly is, and mindfulness has the key.
Here is a fantastic TED talk by Andy Puddicombe, a mindfulness expert, on the benefits of mindfulness and how little time, with the right guidance, is required to incorporate mindfulness into your life.