I’ve noticed that people quite often get this confused, and yet they are quite different – opposites in some ways. Of course, you can do both, probably should do both, though they are both difficult to do consistently.
Mindfulness is being self-aware, in the moment – living in the present.
As you eat that ice cream don’t start planning what you’ll do after you finish it, or think back to your lost childhood, or wonder if you chose the right flavour, or worry about whether you’re getting fat – just savour it, be aware of the smell and the texture, and the feel of the sun on your face, and how lucky you are to be enjoying it (but don’t get dragged off on a thought chain of how many pointless wars there are in the world instead of everyone just happily eating ice cream, and what’s wrong with politics these days, and how it could be fixed, etc etc – because this is what ouir minds do, they go off down rabbit holes, particularly about the future or the past, and they take us away from the present.
You could say “Be more dog!” or “Be more child” – just living in the present. Keep taking yourself back to the present, back to the now. Ouspensky called it “Self remembering” – otherwise we forget that we are living our lives and we sleepwalk through most of our day. You can drive to work and not remember the journey at all, it was so automatic!
Why bother to get into the habit of mindfulness as often as possible? The answer is that increases your happiness, the amount you can harvest from the experiences that you have every day.
… is where you switch your conscious brain off, ideally every day, for perhaps 15 or 30 minutes. With mindfulness you’re switching it ON and being conscious of what you’re doing. With meditation you’r enot doing anything, and you’re not conscious, you are blank. You let all thoughts ebb away until there is nothing happening in your brain. Then the alarm quietly brings you around 20 minutes later and you return to conscious thought, refreshed and invigorated. When done as a regular habit it will make you more creative, more self-controlled, more patient, all sorts of things. More about this here: https://www.chriscroft.co.uk/meditation-my-take-on-it/.
Does meditation make you better at self-remembering, at being mindful? Probably. Does mindfulness help you meditate? Perhaps, but they probably aren’t really connected. But they are both great exercises for your brain, and both will increase your happiness.
I hope this helps! Give them both a go!