What is Mindfulness? One definition of mindfulness is paying attention to what is happening in the present moment, with a sense of curiosity, non-judgement and compassion.
How Can Mindfulness Help? If we are honest with ourselves, it it usually not something occurring in the present moment that brings us distress--it is either strong emotion over what has happened in the past (anger, regret, sadness, grief) or fear or anxiety about the possibility of something that may happen in the future. A frequently cited quote by Mark Twain is that 'I experienced many terrible things in my life--most of which never happened.' Whether an exact quote or not, the point is well taken.
What is Mindfulness Meditation? Mindfulness mediation is not a spiritual practice but rather a way to help regain some degree of control over distressing thoughts. In its simplest form, one sits for a period of time, and pays attention to some object of focus, most frequently the breath. Although simple, this practice is much more difficult than first imagined. It is soon discovered that we have very little control over our thoughts--that we are with our thoughts throughout every minute of every day. Consider the effect on the battery when an app continually runs in the background of your smart-phone. This is a good metaphor of the impact continual fearful or distressing thoughts have on our lives.