Hey there, friends!
I just finished reading this really captivating and eye-opening book called 10% Happier by Dan Harris. It’s a best-selling book about Dan himself, a news anchor on national television that you might recognize, and his journey through discovering how meditation truly makes him feel “10% happier.”
Harris writes with great humor and such intriguing stories about his life that I couldn’t set the book down at night. Sometimes, I could feel my eyes getting tired of staying open but the desire to know what happens next in the book was so strong that I would try to stay awake, haha! It’s about a 200 page read that will leave you contemplating the start of your meditation practice.
Today, I’m going to take you through some of the highlights of the book—without spoiling too much, I promise! 🙂 I’ll also tell you about my positive experience with meditating just ten minutes everyday for a month and the benefits its given me.
Dan Harris takes us through his time as a news anchor and his very real and personal experience with stress, anxiety, and feeling unsatisfied. Harris reported on some really ground-breaking and difficult to process stories that impacted his view on life but he ultimately discovered how to find a way to tame the negative voice inside his head.
He writes with a natural sense of humor that leaves you laughing along and finding yourself understanding his point of view on meditation. Without revealing too much of the storyline, I’ll say that Harris goes through a long process of interviewing people who have discovered mediation to be helpful, including people like the Dalai Lama, and eventually, he tries it out himself.
With the interesting stories and my curiosity towards his exploration into the world of meditation, I even began meditating as I read the book. Harris has an ordinary and almost comforting sense of being fairly critical with the people he interviews and the information he receives, making his conclusions very believable. His complete honesty and personality throughout the book makes it fascinating, funny, and feel like an insightful read.
Tip: I love highlighting the passages or sentences in books that really speak to me. Perhaps its something that I want to remember or in the case of Marie Kondo, sparks joy! 😉 Write the sentence down, take a screen shot, or snap a picture with your phone so that you can reference that uplifting quote in times of need.
At the end of the book, Harris addresses the basic, frequently-asked questions of meditation while recommending how to start and how to deal with any setbacks. He answers them with candor and shares how he overcame some meditation mishaps like getting distracted or falling asleep (something that happened to me a lot, haha!). He also leaves more resources and books about meditation.
Having been previously introduced to a meditation app called Headspace, I felt that I should take it back up and start with some basics. For about the first week, I started out with Basics 1 on the app, which involved me pausing for about ten minutes a day to focus on my breath and begin noting how my mind thinks.
I started a plan on the Headspace app called “Managing Anxiety” which is a thirty day course where you can meditate from either 10-20 minutes a day. I typically did this for about ten minutes a day but those moments brought me some clarity and have given some useful ways to identify when I am having anxiety. The key to meditating is noting thoughts but not judging them. It’s a lot easier said than done.
Like the narrator mentions at the start of the program, mediation is not a quick fix. It’s a skill that has to be repeatedly practiced to feel its effects. I definitely found this to be true in my case; by the end of the thirty days, I finally felt like I could focus on my breath with minimal distractions. Download the free sessions now, or go on YouTube and find some free meditation videos there, too.
As I highly recommend reading 10% Happier, I also suggest meditating at least for a solid week in a row. Headspace offers a set of ten basic lessons for free, so I would highly recommend doing a round of those exercises to familiarize yourself with how to start meditating. I loved it so much that I ended up subscribing to their app and have enjoyed my experience so far. Their website has a blog, tips, and free resources to start meditating.
To truly stick to meditating, I have found that finding a time to dedicate five or ten minutes to it everyday works best. For example, I found that if I do meditation in the morning, I fall asleep and then end up being late; so instead, I tell myself that right before bed , I’ll meditate for at least five minutes. So far, it’s been the best time for me.
If you feel frustrated throughout your meditation experience, that’s perfectly normal. Dan Harris certainly felt that way and so did I. Even the people and professionals Harris mentions once felt skeptical about meditating or believed it wouldn’t work for them. Don’t be discouraged from the first set of sessions. Like Harris, keep trying. I tend to be a little impatient, so when things like meditation don’t instantly work out for me, I get a bit annoyed. Patience, non-judgement, and time is crucial.
I hope this post leaves you with the excitement to read 10% Happier and/or also check out books similar to this theme! Definitely download the Headspace app on your phone or tablet and try their free sessions to get a sense for what the exercise is like. I, too, was skeptical that this would ever work for me, especially since I would fall asleep so often the first couple times, but eventually, I found myself being able to understand my thought process better. It’s actually helped a lot!
Have an amazing week and enjoy! Know that all my readers and visitors are in my prayers 🙂 Talk to you all soon!
Quote of the post:
“Vulnerable people are powerful people. Opening your heart and sharing it means you’re going to get so much love in your life.” ~Amy Poehler
P. S. Have any favorite books for me to read? Feel free to leave any suggestions down below!