Why do we set aside time to take care of our bodies, but not our minds?
You need to work out your mental health just as often as you work out your physical health.
Meditation is basically a bicep curl for your brain.
When you meditate, you’re training your brain to come back to the present moment over and over again.
It’s scientifically proven to alter your brain waves.
That’s why I’m revisiting a conversation I had with someone whose life was changed by meditation: Dan Harris.
Dan Harris is a correspondent for ABC News, an anchor for Nightline and co-anchor for the weekend edition of Good Morning America.
He is a New York Times bestselling author who wrote 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works–A True Story and Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics: A 10% Happier How-to Book.
Dan found meditation after suffering an on-air panic attack. Now he works to make meditation accessible for everyone.
Learn how meditation helped Dan and why he thinks it’s health’s next big thing in Episode 705.
Lewis Howes: This is 5-Minute Friday!!
Welcome, everyone, to The School of Greatness Podcast. So pumped up for today’s episode. It’s with my man, Dan Harris. And, for those who don’t know who Dan is, he’s the #1 New York Times bestselling author of ‘10% Happier’.
He’s the co-anchor of ABC News Nightline, and he’s also the co-anchor of the Weekend Edition of Good Morning America. He has covered many of the biggest stories in recent years, including combat in Afganistan, Israel, and has made over six visits to Iraq.
He has led ABC News coverage of faith and spirituality, and is just an incredible human being.
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Dan Harris: Then I did a crazy thing, which is, I went on a ten-day silent meditation.
Lewis Howes: Yeah, I have a lot of friends who have done that, and they say it’s unbelievable. What did you learn about yourself during that?
Dan Harris: Well, first of all, the first four or five days are the worst thing that ever happened to you. It’s the worst. The worst!
Lewis Howes: There’s like a little bit of talking, I hear, with the teacher or something, maybe at night, if you have a question, but that’s essentially it.
Dan Harris: Yes.
Lewis Howes: And you’re just alone, you can’t look at anyone.
Dan Harris: Yes. The silence is not the hard part. It’s not like there are other people there that I’m dying to chat with. The hard part is meditating all day long. You wake up at 5 in the morning, and you’re basically meditating until you go to bed.
Lewis Howes: It feels like time is forever.
Dan Harris: The seconds are landing hard, man! It’s…
Lewis Howes: Tick! Tick!
Dan Harris: Yes! That’s the hard part.
Lewis Howes: It’s like eight hours of meditation or more. You have breakfast, lunch, you do some walking or something.
Dan Harris: I added it up, I can’t remember. Between seated and walking meditation, it’s between six and eight hours a day. And you’re supposed to be mindful, like, on your mindful game basically paying attention all the time.
So, as you eat you’re supposed to eat really slowly, when you’re walking between things you’re supposed to be doing it really slowing. There were some people on this meditation retreat that I was on, who were moving in slow-mo all the time.
But, what happened was, the first four or five days were terrible, and then I had, I don’t know, breakthrough, then, I don’t want to be overly dramatic, I just had a moment that I would say lasted about thirty-six hours where I was probably the happiest I’ve ever been.
Lewis Howes: Wow! Why?
Dan Harris: I was dragged, kicking and screaming, into the present moment, instead of wandering off into rumination or projection, I was right there with whatever is happening, and my senses were incredibly sharp.
Everything looked vivid, I could hear the birds in the trees, my food tasted amazing, I wasn’t obsessing about things, I was just enjoying and being right there with everything that was happening right there.
And that’s your life, by the way. I mean, that should be our lives, except we’re cursed with these pre-frontal cortices which give us the ability to make iPhones and build sky-scrapers, but it also yanks us away from reality, all the time.
Meditation is a really good tool to help you get not so yanked down the rabbit hole of rumination or projection, because basically you’re training your brain to come back to whatever’s happening right now, over and over and over again.
And every time you get lost in thought, while you’re trying to meditate, and you notice you’ve become lost, and you start again, that’s a bicep curl for your brain, man! And it shows up on the brain scans. You’re changing your brain, you’re doing a kind of neurosurgery on yourself.
And we have a lot of science right now to suggest strongly that it really works. Lots of corporations have meditation rooms now. You know, I mentioned before, the lead singer of Weezer is a daily meditator, Katy Perry, Lena Dunham, 50 Cent.
Lewis Howes: A lot of people, yeah.
Dan Harris: A lot of people are meditating, so I think it’s an awesome thing. I don’t know where it’s all heading. Where I hope it’s heading is that this is the next big public health revolution.
Lewis Howes: Like the next yoga. Like the way yoga is becoming mainstream, it’s like this is the next.
Dan Harris: Yes, I think we’re going to view mental exercise the same way we view physical exercise.
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Lewis Howes: Hey, guys! If you enjoyed this inspirational clip from a past episode of the show, then you’ll love the free book I’m giving away right now. It’s called The Millionaire Morning. It includes some of my best tips for starting off your day with a millionaire mindset. Get your free copy at themillionairemorning.com and just pay shipping.
Again, check it out right now, themillionairemorning.com.