I recently went to a presentation by Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence. He lead the audience in an exercise that he called "mindfulness". He asked us to close our eyes, breathe in and out, and focus our minds only on our breath. When a stray thought entered our minds we were advised to shoo it away and shift focus back to our breathing.
I've read about meditation and found the practices to be similar. Dr. Goleman mentioned that the aim of practicing mindfulness was to improve one's self-awareness and self-motivation capabilities.
I found that meditation or mindfulness has helped me gain great control of my thoughts and emotions. I have been able to calm myself down, heighten my focus, understand and disrupt negative thought patterns, and much more.