10% Happier

This is a book that can create real change in your life – if you are willing to do the work.

I stumbled upon Dan Harris when his book 10% Happier was recommended to me by Amazon! (based on other books I had purchased). When the title popped up, it caught my attention mostly because it wasn’t a platitude title such as: “How to Achieve Endless Happiness” or “The 5 Keys to Greatness”. That genre of books and the titles that encapsulate them sound great as soundbites, but they rarely have advice that are sustainable in real life.

10% Happier on the other hand, was written by Dan Harris – who describes himself as an over-achiever, perfectionist, skeptic, and no-nonsense guy. After suffering from a panic attack while sharing the news on Good Morning America, Dan realized he needed help. Thus began his journey which led him to meditation; a journey he is still very much on today. Dan is still a news anchor, husband, father, and friend – only now he is “much more comfortable in his own skin.”

I have been following Dan’s journey through this book, his second book (which will be reviewed soon), as well as with the 10% Happier app – which I highly recommend. When describing the experience of waiting in line at Shoprite the other day, I mentioned that as soon as I get in line, I play a short meditation from the 10% Happier app – and use the long wait as an opportunity to help me practice settling my mind. I have also found that I do meditations from the app while sitting in bumper to bumper traffic, waiting to be seen for an appointment, or while being on hold for an extended period of time. Most recently I took the “10% Happier 30 day challenge” – which presented the opportunity to do a lengthier meditation for a 25/30 days.

I am learning that meditation takes discipline. It demands tedious deliberate practice, and there are no shortcuts. You have to sit through the discomfort, boredom, monotony and initial feelings that what you are doing is a waste of time. But the research unambiguously supports the benefits – and there are many in the physical, emotional, and psychological realms.   

Here are a few of my favorite lines from 10% Happier to wet your palate:

Meditation did not, as many fear, make me a blissed-out zombie.

Meditation is not about zoning out, it is about tuning in.

Meditation allows you to create little spaces in your daily life where you are aware but not thinking. Where you can recognize what is happening in your head without getting carried away by it. Where you can respond rather than simply react.

Think of the wisdom that grows out of mediation as “advanced common sense.” It’s about confronting the obvious but often overlooked truths, until something inside you shifts.

Great YouTube video to hear Dan talk about his journey:

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