The idea behind mindfulness is learning to tune in to the present moment, and becoming fully aware of one's inner sensations and the environment, while trying to avoid unconscious or habitual activity.  If we stop to think about how much time we spend in our heads, trying to think through, prevent, predict, or understand some sort of event that is either in the past or in the future, we start to realize just how much we may be missing in the present moment. While we may feel that doing all of this mental gymnastics may lead to better outcomes, thereby giving us a sense of control over our day to day lives, many of us know all too well that this type of rumination actually reinforces already established, often negative thinking patterns.
The practice of mindfulness meditation trains our minds to notice what we are doing mentally and physically in the moment, a process that may be so mechanical that it may seem unconscious. By giving ourselves the space to notice what may feel to be automatic, we are actually acknowledging that what we are experiencing is, in fact, under our conscious control, and is most likely learned. And we all know that anything that is learned, with some effort and understanding, can be unlearned, albeit not forgotten.
While there are a number of great ways to start a mindfulness practice, I have found the app "10% happier" to be very clear, helpful and dare I say, "mindful" of a busy schedule.
- 1. Hyperion Books. Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life. Accessed at http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=QnYBXlX2bPwC&oi=fnd&pg=PR13&dq=mindfulness+meditation&ots=iaiedsPYPb&sig=eUtL03wBBA9CSgxAcmTF7yVi3NM#v=onepage&q=mindfulness%20meditation&f=falseon May 1, 2014.