Dan Harris, anchor of ABC News, Nightline, and Weekend Edition of Good Morning America, recently wrote a memoir about his public breakdown and journey to mindfulness entitled 10% Happier. Harris was drawn to meditation despite massive misgivings about the way some people talk about mindfulness—especially those he refers to as the “self-help gurus.” Harris talks to MindfulDirect—Mindful’s new video project—and offers a candid critique of meditation’s PR problem when seeking to appeal to a mainstream audience. He suggests new ways, and new models, of presenting mindfulness.

Dan Harris: The New Ambassadors of Mindfulness from Mindful Direct on Vimeo.

From Public Meltdown to Meditation

An on-air meltdown lead Harris to meditation. His panic-attack happened in 2004, during a routine newscast. Harris says it was spurred by anxiety (in part a result of cocaine and ecstasy use)—his response to feeling weak and adrift after returning from covering wars in the Middle-East.

“My on-air meltdown was the direct result of an extended run of mindlessness,” Harris writes in 10% Happier, “a period of time during which I was focused on advancement and adventure, to the detriment of pretty much everything else in my life.”

Here, Harris sits down with his colleague, ABC News anchor Diane Sawyer, to talk about the wake-up call that let him find more control over what makes him happy.

6 of the Strangest Self-Help Guru Confessions

A skeptical TV newsman who was drawn to meditation despite massive misgivings, Harris lets on just how much he has fallen for mindfulness—and how put off he still is by how people talk about it.

“Until recently, I thought of meditation as the exclusive province of bearded swamis, unwashed hippies, and fans of John Tesh music,” Dan Harris writes in his book.

In one recent report for ABC News, Harris shares some of the strangest things self-help gurus have told him about meditation and happiness. Watch the video below, where Deepak Chopra befuddles Harris with phrases like “transformational vortex to the intimate.”

This web extra provides additional information related to an article titled, “How I Learned to Become 10% Happier,” which appeared in the August 2014 issue of Mindful magazine.


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