Mindfulness is all the rage in mental health and even more broadly in healthcare these days. You may ask, "What the heck is mindfulness?". Jon Kabat-Zinn is an American professor emeritus of medicine and the creator of the Stress Reduction Clinic and the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He is widely regarded as the guru of Western World mindfulness. He says "Mindfulness is: the awareness that emerges, through paying close attention, on purpose, non-judgmentally to the unfolding experience moment by moment." Eckhart Tolle, a spiritual teacher and author of the best-selling book The Power of Now, claims that the present moment is the most healthy mental state. He goes on to say that ruminating about the past or obsessively planning (so as to control the future) are pathological and cause dis-ease.
My dumbed down, keep it simple, stupid explanation is that mindfulness is an escape from the incessant, mostly negative voice in the head. It's about mentally being connected to what is currently happening. It is common for us to not be present to the now, and I do believe ruminating about the past can cause depressive symptoms and obsessively planning can cause anxiousness.
Athletes, artists and performers often talk about being in the zone or experiencing flow. They are so focussed on what they are actually doing that they are not distracted by the unsettling or worrisome thoughts about past or potential failure.
Mindfulness is great for helping us experience more peace in our life and a great antidote for anxiety. Mindfulness is also being utilized at all the most advanced centers of health and wellness to treat any number of ailments. We now know there is such a connection between mental and physical health.
I see mindfulness as both a formal practice (meditation) and also a way of experiencing life. You can shower mindfully, eat a sandwich mindfully, or do anything else with real mental connection to the here and now without judgement. It might be easiest to start the practice of mindfulness by using an app. There are a wide variety to check out including: Headspace, Breathe, Calm, Pacifica and many others.
Mindfulness may not be magic, but many people have experienced physical and emotional healing by the practice so I definitely don't think it is madness!