Mindfulness is the idea that we are not our thoughts. When we are mindful, we are tuning in to the present. The past is behind us. Regrets about the past cause us to feel down. Glorifying the past diminishes the power of the present – it pales by comparison. Likewise, focusing too much on great things that might happen in the future pulls us away from what is happening now. Worrying about what might happen in the future causes us distress in the present.
Mindfulness has the power to liberate us, to unshackle us, from dwelling on the past or future. This does not mean to never reflect on your past or plan for future, but there are times to do that and there are times that we should be fully present and soak up the experiences of the moment. Much of our anxiety and depressive feelings come from dwelling on the negatives of our past or worrying about possible negative outcomes in the future. Thus, becoming more mindful has the power to improve our mood and decrease psychological distress.