10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works
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Nightline anchor Dan Harris embarks on an unexpected, hilarious, and deeply skeptical odyssey through the strange worlds of spirituality and self-help, and discovers a way to get happier that is truly achievable.
After having a nationally televised panic attack on Good Morning America, Dan Harris knew he had to make some changes. A lifelong nonbeliever, he found himself on a bizarre adventure, involving a disgraced pastor, a mysterious self-help guru, and a gaggle of brain scientists. Eventually, Harris realized that the source of his problems was the very thing he always thought was his greatest asset: the incessant, insatiable voice in his head, which had both propelled him through the ranks of a hyper-competitive business and also led him to make the profoundly stupid decisions that provoked his on-air freak-out.
We all have a voice in our head. It's what has us losing our temper unnecessarily, checking our email compulsively, eating when we're not hungry, and fixating on the past and the future at the expense of the present. Most of us would assume we're stuck with this voice -- that there's nothing we can do to rein it in -- but Harris stumbled upon an effective way to do just that. It's a far cry from the miracle cures peddled by the self-help swamis he met; instead, it's something he always assumed to be either impossible or useless: meditation. After learning about research that suggests meditation can do everything from lower your blood pressure to essentially rewire your brain, Harris took a deep dive into the underreported world of CEOs, scientists, and even marines who are now using it for increased calm, focus, and happiness.
10% Happier takes readers on a ride from the outer reaches of neuroscience to the inner sanctum of network news to the bizarre fringes of America's spiritual scene, and leaves them with a takeaway that could actually change their lives.
a Unitarian congregation in California agonizing over whether to accept a registered sex offender, and also about an Episcopal priest who claimed that, after a profound conversion experience, she now believed in both Christianity and Islam. I kept covering the born-again scene, of course. It was too juicy—and too newsy—to ignore. And with Ted Haggard, I now had a terrific inside source to make sure my coverage was more accurate and nuanced. He became my first stop when I was looking for candid
said scar would be a small one. The surgery was Chinese water torture. The surgeon—a crisp young woman—made an initial incision, using a microscopically guided scalpel to remove the cancer. After that first stab, she sent me out to the waiting room as she ran some tests to see if she’d gotten it all. I joined Bianca at a bank of chairs, where I pulled out my copy of A New Earth, which I was now reading for the third time. After a half hour or so, the doctor called me back and said they needed
awaited the arrival of the Great Man, Anthony told me his story. He’d read some of Tolle’s books, called him up, and asked for a job. When Tolle said yes, Anthony packed all his stuff and moved from Australia to Vancouver, where Tolle lived. Anthony struck me as reasonably normal, with his neatly gelled blond hair and pressed shirt. He discussed his boss with genuine admiration but not adulation; nothing in his bearing screamed “cult” to me. Shortly thereafter, there was a knock on the door, and
steroids. You see things changing so quickly that nothing seems stable. The seemingly solid movie of the world breaks down to twenty-four frames per second. The universe is revealed to be a vast soup of causes and conditions. From there, the path, as Goldstein describes it, involves moments of terror, periods of sublime bliss, pitfalls, trapdoors, and detours. At the end, the meditator arrives at the true goal of Buddhist meditation: to see that the “self” that we take to be the ridgepole of our
ruin that is me.’ It works, but it has nothing to do with meditation.” “No—that’s insight!” As he spoke, his voice rose an octave with insistence. “Insight into the nature of reality?” I asked sarcastically. “Yeah,” he said, not taking the bait. “That’s insight, because you’re not clinging to success so seriously.” “But maybe I’m just clinging to Bianca.” “That’s better. You’re clinging to something that’s far more substantial.” As I sat there mulling Mark’s words while wolfing overpriced