Day 3 – Dan Harris

Dan Harris, news reporter, co-anchor of Nightline and the weekend editions of Good Morning America and author of ‘10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress without Losing my Edge, and Found Self-Help that Truly Helps.’

Dan Harris was one of the names I recognized on the Summit’s list of speakers.  I read his book last year and recommended it to several friends and clients.  In his book, he speaks of his journey from having a panic attack on live national television 11 years ago, to being assigned to cover faith and spirituality, to having a daily meditation practice.

In his talk today Dan was humble and self-deprecating saying that another idea for the title of his book was, “The voice in my head is an ass-hole” and that his wife says he’s “90% still moron.”  LOL

He said meditation has helped him become calmer, more grounded, less yanked around by his emotions.  He said that at first it’s not so much that the voice in your head says different things, but more that you have a different relationship to it.  Over time there is more space for different thoughts to emerge.

Interviewer, Melli O’Brien, commented that many of her friends are CEOs and “type-A’s” and worry that they’ll lose their edge.  Dan said he worried about that too but it hasn’t been the case, that happier and calmer aren’t the same as complacency.  Science is showing that happiness is a skill.  He thinks we do a lot of useless rumination and it’s important to ask ourselves “Is this useful?”

He said that some of the outcomes of his practice so far are that his relationships are better, the time he’s angry is less, and he’s quicker to apologize.

His advice is, “It’s worth it.  Stick with it” and that he doesn’t know anybody who practices mindfulness who has ever said it was a waste of time!

2 responses to “Day 3 – Dan Harris”

  1. This is a comment on Day 3. After reading your post, I’m going to read Dan Harris’ book. I’m also a mental health therapist and I teach some of my clients a mindfulness meditation technique I learned at a workshop a few years ago. I use it myself when something is bothering me and I’m obsessed with negative thoughts as I’m trying to fall asleep. It consists of simply noticing what’s on my mind, labelling it as either a feeling, image, or thought, or as “rest” if my mind is momentarily blank (which is rare), and then noticing the next one. It must work, because I fall asleep while I’m doing it. I’m interested in broader use of mindfulness, for myself and my clients. Dan’s book appeals to me because it sounds like it may be more fun to read than some of the more scholarly ones. I’ll post again after I’ve read it.


  2. I just finished reading Dan Harris’s book “10% Happier…..” It was hysterical. Loved his description of the struggles he had at the 10 day Mindfulness Retreat. In addition to the laughs I got from it, it may have moved me 10% closer to wanting to meditate on a regular basis.


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