If you follow the equation in the photo you will be guaranteed to be 10% happier. OK, maybe not, but there is science illustrating by being mindful and practicing meditation you can reduce stress, boost your immune system, and be more focused. As Dan Harris states, this translates into the development of skills and behaviors you can use in things that matter most – your relationships, focus and creativity at work and baseline level of calm and patience.
These are skills you can train and use just like doing a workout at the gym. Even more simply put by Dan and in a way that resonates with me, “it’s not that perfection will arise. It’s just being marginally and meaningfully less of an idiot.” I’m always open to learning how to be less of an idiot.
Who is this Dan Harris? Dan is a correspondent for ABC News, an anchor for Nightline and co-anchor for the weekend edition of Good Morning America and had a famous panic attack on Good Morning America that made him reevaluate many things in his life. He was assigned to do a story that led him to exploring and then practicing meditation. This was quite ironic as Dan was a huge skeptic. He went on to find tremendous benefits leading to writing two books, 10% Happier and Meditation for Fidgetity Skeptics. I covered some of the things Dan is doing in this space in the blog, Exercise Not Just Physical, back in May of 2018.
I read both of his books leading me to try his meditation app, 10% Happier, you can find in your app store. What I like about the app includes a few things:
- Explanation of the meditation practice – Dan has mediation experts explain the purpose, how to practice, handle challenges, and additional considerations. This is done via short video clips on the type of meditation and then during the actual guided meditations themselves.
- Variety of meditations based on different situations. A few examples include:
- The Basics
- Various duration of the exercises starting from one to 60 minutes.
I find the practice challenging and certainly notice a difference when I am doing it. I found myself frustrated when I first attempted meditating thinking I was doing something wrong as it was so difficult to remain focused. After reading the books, listening to podcasts and the videos included in the app, I realized the challenges I was facing was the actual exercise itself. That is what it should feel like. That alone brought my anxiety level down.
As Dan states, when you are finished with a mediation it doesn’t matter if you think it was a good or bad one. He wants the practitioner to answer the questions: Were you aware of it? Were you mindful of it? That’s it! He goes on to state how this should help you learn how to clearly see your own inner chaos so it doesn’t own you. There is more but that’s it in a nutshell.
I have been inconsistent with regular practice. After I finished reading, Atomic Habits, by James Clear one of the healthy habits I targeted to get better at was meditating. One of the concepts from the book to get a habit to stick was to make it super simple to start. In this example, I agreed to meditate for one minute a day. I thought to myself, “how can I not find one minute a day?” I remembered Dan offered one minute options so off I went. This was just last week. I haven’t missed since making this super easy to accomplish each day. The end game is this habit would grow but only grow if I see value in it.
Next I saw Dan offering a 21 day challenge starting January 7. The offer is free and allows users full access to the app meditations. The challenge is to meditate for at least 15 of the 21 days as little as one minute each day. If you would like to try it out – search for, 10% Happier, in your App Store and/or Dan’s website page on the challenge. In the app we can also be in the same “circle.” If you would like to be a part of my circle, let me know and I’ll send you an invite. You can send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on:
- the challenge, read the description from 10% Happier
- mindfulness, meditation and resources on Dan Harris I recommend the page on this site titled, Mind
I hope you join me on the challenge and feel free to join in at anytime within the 21 day challenge starting January 7.
– Add Health to Your Life