“Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.” Jon Kabat-Zinn
Mindfulness practices have their roots in Buddhism, Mindfulness in Pali (the language of the early Buddhist teachings) quite literally means to remember. The process of remembering to pay attention brings us in touch with our lives, moment by moment and without judgement.
The practice of Mindfulness was first felt to be helpful in a secular context by Jon Kabat-Zinn, who pioneered the first Mindfulness Based Course in the 1970’s. It was hoped that Mindfulness would alleviate the chronic pain and stress in patients who were deemed untreatable by the medical profession. The course he founded, now called Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, was shown to be of huge benefit to patients. Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy came out of this several decades later. Both courses have a significant evidence base (researched for their effectiveness).
Mindfulness techniques are now quite mainstream in psychological treatments and underpin many modern therapies, such as: Dialectical Behavioural Therapy, Compassion Focused Therapy and Acceptance & Commitment Therapy. Mindfulness is also becoming increasingly more popular in non-clinical settings to improve such things as; concentration, memory and focus, or simply to improve quality of life.
You may find that when you begin to practice Mindfulness your mind is forever elsewhere: in the past, or the future, planning, thinking (for example) and this is really normal. In fact, even after many years of practice , it is often still the case. However, with consistent practice the pull 'elsewhere' can and does inevitably weaken over time.
The practice of Mindfulness is an invitation to arrive in our life in the present moment and experience it exactly as it is. It isn't about trying to get anywhere, or to make anything other than it is, it is rather to arrive and be with what is unfolding in each and every moment.