Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics & Beginners


Child: Welcome to my Mommy’s podcast.

This podcast is brought to you by Plant Therapy. I’m often asked where I get my essential oils, and Plant Therapy is my go-to place these days. They offer many certified organic essential oils, including many kid-safe blends at really affordable prices. I also love that they offer bigger sizes of many oils so I can order our favorites in 100-milliliter bottles and they last longer, and then I throw fewer bottles in the recycling each month. Many of you also know that not all essential oils are safe to use on babies and small children, and that certain dilution ratios should always be followed. Plant Therapy takes the research and guesswork out of this, since they work with Robert Tisserand, who is the author of “Essential Oil Safety,” to make sure that all of their kid-safe oils are truly safe for kids. They are offering a 10% discount to “Wellness Mama” listeners and you can grab the discount by using the code WELLNESS10, all one word, WELLNESS10, at wellnessmama.com/go/pt. That’s wellnessmama.com/go/pt for Plant Therapy.

This podcast is brought to you by Four Sigmatic. My kitchen is always stocked with their coffee mushroom blends, their Matcha mix, and their straight mushroom drinks. Four Sigmatic has figured out how to get the benefits of mushrooms like chaga, lions mane, cordyceps and reishi into delicious instant drinks. My current favorite is their adaptogen coffee blend that has tolsi and astragalus. But I love all of their products. They have options with or without caffeine so if you’re not a caffeine person you can find products that you will love. And I find that even their coffee blends that do contain caffeine have less than a normal cup of coffee. But don’t let this fool you. I have found that I get so much more focus and mental clarity from these mushroom blends than I do from regular coffee, and without the jitters. The addition of the mushrooms, which are considered nootropics, meaning that they are good for the brain makes these super food blends more effective and much healthier than just regular old coffee. I love them with a dash of macadamia milk personally. I also love that many of their drink mixes are instant and packaged into individual servings so they are perfect for travel or on the go. If you’re listening to this, then you can get a special offer just for listeners of this podcast by going to wellnessmama.com/go/four-sigmatic.

Katie: Hello, and welcome to the “Healthy Moms Podcast.” I am Katie from wellnessmama.com. And I’m here today with someone whose name you’ve probably heard before. Dan Harris is an Emmy award winning journalist, the Co-anchor of ABC’s “Nightline” and the weekend edition of “Good Morning America.” He’s also the author of “10% Happier,” a “New York Times” bestseller and he went on to launch the “10% Happier” podcast and an app by the same name. His new book is “10% Happier: Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics.” I loved the name. I read the book and I can’t wait to jump into today. Dan, welcome and thanks for being here.

Dan: Thanks for having me.

Katie: So I feel like the only starting point in this conversation has to be your personal story, and I don’t usually like to lead with the most personal question right off the bat, but it seems like the most logical starting point, because you had an experience that likely many of us will never have, which was a panic attack on national TV, if I have read your bio correctly. So I’d love if you could take us through that story and the aftermath of that.

Dan: Yeah, so I was on “Good Morning America” back in 2004. I was filling in, doing a job that really no longer exists. It was called the news reader. There used to be somebody who came on at the top of each hour and read the headlines. And I had done it before, so I didn’t have any reason to foresee what was about to happen, which was that I basically freaked out as soon as I was supposed to start talking. I was overtaken by this big bolt of fear. My heart was racing, my palms were sweating, my mouth dried up, my lungs seized up, I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t talk and I had to quit right in the middle of my little newscast. And it was very embarrassing. You can see it on YouTube if you want. You just search for “panic attack on live television,” it’ll come right up.

And even more embarrassing than that moment was actually when I figured out what caused it. I had spent a lot of time as a young and ambitious news reporter in war zones like Iraq and Afghanistan and Pakistan, Israel, the West Bank, and I had gotten depressed as a consequence and had very unwisely self-medicated with recreational drugs including cocaine. And I learned after my panic attack that even though my drug use was pretty intermittent and short lived, it was enough to artificially raise the level of adrenaline in my brain and prime me to have this nationally televised freak out. And so, I learned that when I went to go see a shrink. And so that entire experience kind of set me off on a path that ultimately led me to embracing meditation.

Katie: That’s amazing. And I would say like a lot of people, that could be an experience, it will be tough to come back from it. And I love that you’ve come back and made it something positive, because I actually had a near panic attack as well, not on live TV in fact just in the isolation in my own home, but it really is a scary experience and, for me at least, like you really kind of wonder if you’re dying and it really throws you off for a while. So I’m guessing it wasn’t just that you woke up one day and then were an expert mediator and perfectly fine. So what did that journey look like to get back to kind of homeostasis and then beyond that?

Dan: Well, you know, I think I reached homeostasis frankly without meditation. Stopping doing cocaine was the pretty big variable in terms of helping me not have panic attacks anymore. And I did that quite rapidly and also did traditional psychotherapy for many, many, many years with the doctor who helped me after the panic attack. And, you know, that’s why those lifestyle changes really kind of helped me feel much better and get panic under control. But years later, the same doctor when listening to me complain about whatever the stresses of being a news reporter and whatever, it came up, the issue of meditation came up, and as it happened, I had actually been doing some reading about it. And so I decided to give it a shot even though I thought it was complete bologna.

But what really helped me get over the hump to give it a try was when I heard about all the scientific research that is still really in its early stages, but suggests that meditation has a, you know, a long list of health benefits. It’s shown to be very useful for anxiety and depression, both of which I had dealt with for my whole life. And it can lower your blood pressure, boost your immune system, rewire key parts of your brain that has to do with, you know, focus and a self-awareness and stress. And so when I learned that that’s what got me over the hump and helped me start meditating.

Katie: Was there a specific type that you started with? I know that there seemed to be as many opinions about types of meditation as people who’ve attempted. So if you…was there one that really resonated with you or did you find your own version that seemed to work for you?

Dan: Yeah, you know, I’m not super sectarian about the flavors of meditation. I think people should sniff around and find the one that works best for them. But for me, I was drawn to what’s called “Mindfulness Meditation,” which is the kind of meditation that has been the subject of most of the scientific research. Mindfulness meditation is derived from Buddhism, but it’s thoroughly secular and there are no metaphysical claims or anything like that and, you know, as the child of two scientists and the spouse of another scientist, I was not good enough in math to be a scientist myself, but I respect it.

And I’m not particularly spiritual in a traditional sense. And so for me, that kind of meditation really appealed and as opposed to some of the others where it can get a little sort of…there can be some more add-ons, let’s just say. Mindfulness meditation is the bottom line. That’s really what I…and what I talk about when I talked about meditation publicly, but again, I do not denigrate other forms of meditation unless they involve something, you know, unethical.

Katie: Got It. And so your book, your podcasts and your app, they all use the “10% Happier.” Explain that. Explain why only 10% happier and how you came up with that. Was that a metric that you used during learning to meditate yourself that was helpful? Or why 10%?

Dan: Yeah, it’s really just a joke. I mean, it kind of half serious, but there was a moment…Just to back up. I started meditating in 2009, so that was a little before the, you know, the current medication craze. I often joke, it was the first time in my life I’ve ever been ahead of a trend. And when people I knew learned I was meditating, you know, they would make fun of me. And one day I was having a conversation with one of my colleagues, a very close colleague with whom I’m still very close and she kind of was like, “What is going on with you and meditation? Why are you doing this?” And I kind of out of nowhere said, “You know, I do it because it makes me 10% happier.” And I could see that the look on her face changed from disdain to something approaching interest.

And I thought, “Okay, well, this is how I’m gonna talk about this now.” My view is that meditation has too often been talked about and really lofty, grandiose ways that are off-putting to skeptics. And so my, you know, my approach is to kind of dial things, dial down the rhetoric a little bit and talk about it from the perspective of a skeptical, ambitious person. And I use a lot of swear words and tell embarrassing stories. So it’s just I get different way to approach it.

And also I had, as a reporter, I had spent a lot of time reporting on the self help movement, which is my view is a howling sea of bull$#@!, which, you know, where we got people promising, you know, the miracle cures and, you know, you can fix all your problems through the power of positive thinking and blah, blah, blah. And so I think that there is kinda of really pernicious force in the culture, and so “10% Happier” was in some ways my attempt to counter program against that.

Katie: I love that. And actually, I have a background. My initial degree was in journalism as well. And like you, I believe I heard you quoted one time saying that you would consider yourself allergic to woo. And I’m the same way. But like you explained, there’s a lot of science and just plain logic behind meditation and calming the mind. And I think you’re right. I think maybe, meditation kind of got lumped in with some of the self-help stuff at least in the beginning and wasn’t considered credible for a long time because of that. But now definitely seems to be more mainstream.

I love that you were ahead of the trend though. Another point that maybe you can give some advice on overcoming, because I’ve tried to start meditating many times, and either I, like, don’t make time for it or get bored with it or I feel, like, I’m not doing it right. So I’m curious when you started integrating that into your life, were there things that were helpful for you to actually stick with it? And to be consistent?

Dan: So you just addressed two of the biggest concerns of wanna-be meditators. One is a fear that you’re not doing it right, and the other is just like finding time to fit it into your life. Those are the two biggest obstacles to establishing a meditation habit. So I’ll tackle them sequentially. There is a really unfortunate misconception around meditation that it involves magically clearing your mind. So I hear from people a lot who say, you know, “I get it. Meditation is good for you, but I can’t clear my mind.” Often they say, “You don’t get it. My mind is so busy.” As if these people are sort of, like, you know, have this completely unprecedented level of mental activity. I refer to this as the fallacy of uniqueness. The good news and the bad news is you’re not special.

Welcome to the human condition. We wouldn’t need meditation if we hadn’t evolved to have racing minds. We evolution bequeathe there’s a mind that, you know, is very good at threat detection, you know, looking for, you know, tigers on the Savannah and finding sources of pleasure, you know, like food and sexual partners. Because evolution really didn’t care about your basic well-being, it cared about getting your DNA into the next generation. And so that’s what we’ve been left with a really sort of racy mind. And meditation is not about it magically making all of that evaporate. As I like to joke, if you sit and meditate and all of your thoughts dissipate and you’re in a bubble of bliss, then you are either enlightened or you’re dead. The goal of meditation is not to clear the mind because again, that isn’t possible.

The goal of meditation is to focus the mind for nanoseconds at a time, and then when you get distracted, you start again and again and again. So what is mindfulness meditation? Essentially involves three basic steps. The first is find a reasonably quiet place, sit with your eyes closed, help to have a reasonably good posture so that you don’t fall asleep. Although if you fall asleep, you know, worse things can happen. If you don’t like closing your eyes, it’s also fun to keep them open a little bit and kind of gaze neutrally at the floor. The second step is to bring your full attention to the feeling of your breath coming in and going out. You’re not thinking about your breath, you’re actually just feeling the raw data of the physical sensations of, you know, your belly rising and falling, or your chest rising and falling, or the air coming in and out of your nose, and how it’s helped to pick one spot.

And the third step is the key and really addresses this concern that you and many other people have, which is as soon as you try to do this seemingly easy thing of just feeling yourself breathing, your mind will go nuts. You’ll start thinking about what’s for lunch? Where the gerbils run wild? You know, why “Dances with Wolves” beat “Goodfellas” for Best Picture in 1991? Blah, blah, blah. And the whole goal is to see when you’ve become distracted and to start again and again and again, and that every time you do that is a bicep curl for your brain. And this is what shows up on the brain scans of meditators. So meditation does not involve reaching some special state. The act of noticing you’ve become distracted and starting again, that is meditation. And when you see that you’ve become distracted, that is a victory that is not a failure.

Many people, when they noticed they become distracted, they let their ego tell them a story about how they’re failed meditator, but actually this is a win. And why is it a win? Because when you see how crazy you are, the craziness owns you less, and that is what we’re doing in meditation, we’re becoming familiar with how chaotic our minds are, how it’s a stew of thoughts, urges, emotions, and when you don’t see this stuff, clearly it owns you. And what we’re doing in meditation is cutting the strings of the malevolent puppeteer of our ego so that we can have a little bit more freedom in the face of all the stimuli that arise, both internally and externally. And so the second thing you’ve mentioned was finding the time to do this. Well, actually you mentioned something else. So I should get to that, too, which is you get bored of it.

So boredom is just another thing to see. You know, what we’re doing in meditation is seeing clearly everything that happens in our mind that normally drives us blindly, like, you know, the urge to check our email in the middle of a conversation with somebody or the urge to eat when we’re not hungry, or the urge to lose our temper when it doesn’t make any sense. All we’re doing in meditation is kind of dragging this stuff out of the subconscious and seeing it clearly so that we cannot be pushed around by it.

And boredom is just another thing to see. And boredom is especially important and powerful thing to see because when we’re bored, is often when we eat when we’re not hungry, or when we find ourselves sucked into a Twitter or Facebook hole, which can make us miserable and drowning in FOMO and comparison and all of this stuff. Boredom actually can drive us to do some of the most destructive thing shopping, gambling, whatever. So the fact that you were seeing that you’re bored is actually should be seen as a victory.

And then the final thing you said is time. And that’s a huge issue for people. We are busy. We’re all super busy. I imagined the people listening to this all have kids as I do It is really hard to find the time and that’s a real issue. I know a poopoo that…So on this score, I have good news and better news. The good news is that I honestly believe I started with 5 to 10 minutes a day of meditation and I have spoken to many of the neuroscientists who study meditation, and there seems to be a reasonable consensus that 5 to 10 minutes a day ought to be enough for you to derive the advertised benefits of the practice.

The even better news is that if you feel a 5 to 10 minutes a day is too much. I honestly believe that one minute counts, and we have many one minute meditations on the 10% Happier app. And it doesn’t even have to be every day. I mean, I recommend that people start with one minute daily-ish because, you know, what we’re doing in this process is waking up, waking up for the various trances in which we operate, the sort of autopilots that it governs so much of our lives, the trance of unworthiness or insufficiency or whatever. And you can wake up in a second. So a minute is definitely enough to just wake up from the habitual storylines that are pushing you around. And so, yeah, I get it that people worry about finding the time, but there are happily answers.

Katie: Yeah, those were so many great points in a row, and I’ll say like the everything flooding into your brain that definitely is probably my biggest challenge as a mom of six. And we own three businesses and we have a crazy travel schedule. The second my brain gets quiet. It’s like, “Oh, there’s nine ideas for articles that you need to write and you should menu plan for next week.” And, ” Oh, did you book the trip to Austin yet?” And it all just floods in the second you’re quiet. So that’s helpful to realize like that’s natural. And then getting rid of that is not actually the goal, but just learning how to refocus.

This podcast is brought to you by Plant Therapy. I’m often asked where I get my essential oils, and Plant Therapy is my go-to place these days. They offer many certified organic essential oils, including many kid-safe blends at really affordable prices. I also love that they offer bigger sizes of many oils so I can order our favorites in 100-milliliter bottles and they last longer, and then I throw fewer bottles in the recycling each month. Many of you also know that not all essential oils are safe to use on babies and small children, and that certain dilution ratios should always be followed. Plant Therapy takes the research and guesswork out of this, since they work with Robert Tisserand, who is the author of “Essential Oil Safety,” to make sure that all of their kid-safe oils are truly safe for kids. They are offering a 10% discount to “Wellness Mama” listeners and you can grab the discount by using the code WELLNESS10, all one word, WELLNESS10, at wellnessmama.com/go/pt. That’s wellnessmama.com/go/pt for Plant Therapy.

This podcast is brought to you by Four Sigmatic. My kitchen is always stocked with their coffee mushroom blends, their Matcha mix, and their straight mushroom drinks. Four Sigmatic has figured out how to get the benefits of mushrooms like chaga, lions mane, cordyceps and reishi into delicious instant drinks. My current favorite is their adaptogen coffee blend that has tolsi and astragalus. But I love all of their products. They have options with or without caffeine so if you’re not a caffeine person you can find products that you will love. And I find that even their coffee blends that do contain caffeine have less than a normal cup of coffee. But don’t let this fool you. I have found that I get so much more focus and mental clarity from these mushroom blends than I do from regular coffee, and without the jitters. The addition of the mushrooms, which are considered nootropics, meaning that they are good for the brain makes these super food blends more effective and much healthier than just regular old coffee. I love them with a dash of macadamia milk personally. I also love that many of their drink mixes are instant and packaged into individual servings so they are perfect for travel or on the go. If you’re listening to this, then you can get a special offer just for listeners of this podcast by going to wellnessmama.com/go/four-sigmatic.
Katie: Is there another point? Like, do you feel like do you get better at that? Do those thoughts come in less and less over time?

Dan: Yes. You get better at it, your ability to concentrate improves. This is one of the things that, again, it goes up on the brain scans. You are changing the area of the brain associated with focus, attention regulation. And so I’ve been doing this for nine years. I’m still super distracted while I’m still a schmuck in many, many ways, but I definitely noticed that my ability to stay on task has improved. And more importantly in my view, you’re ability to kinda smile at your inner chaos improves, that so I, too, am flooded with all sorts of planning oriented thoughts. You know, I have one kid, three cats, a start-up company. I anchor two shows at ABC News. I have a book deal to write three books. I have the podcast. I travel around giving speeches. I have a very busy life and all of that stuff rushes in when I close my eyes, too.

But I can see that this process is happening and have a sense of humor about it. And that is really important, not just for when you’re on the cushion, as we say in meditation, but in the rest of your life, because when you’re ambushed by a big blast of anger while you’re dealing with your child, for example, or ambushed by a fog of boredom because you’re stuck playing some dumb game with your kid that they wanna play and your temptation is to zone out or to snap or to check your email or whatever. You can see, “Oh, yeah. yeah, this is what’s happening right now. I can let it pass.” And that is where the rubber hits the road.

Katie: Agreed. And on the note of timing as well, I think every…I heard this from a lot of major religions, but also every major meditation, either expert or organization, there seems to be some version of the, you know, meditate for 10, you know, pray or meditate for 10 minutes a day unless you’re busy. And then 20 or something like that. And kind of the idea of preparing for life versus preparing for meditation. And I’d love to get your take on that, because that was my hang-up that I’ve worked through and I am working to get better at meditation, but initially I felt like I don’t wanna just get better at this thing called meditation. Basically, I want to meditate to get better at life, not just to do better at meditating. So I’m curious to see like what were the actual manifestation? What changes did you see in your life over the time as you’ve learned and gotten better at meditation?

Dan: Well, you’re exactly right. The point is to become some awesome meditator, the point to be less of an [email protected]#hole to yourself and others. That is, you know, if you’re looking for a metric, if you’re looking for a way to measure whether meditation is worth it, that is it. So what are the benefits that have shown up in my life? I met many. One is that I’m calmer. I think that is a consequence of, you know, taking myself out of the flow of the traffic, of the hustle and bustle of everyday life for a few minutes at a time and closing my eyes. That just can imbue your overall life with a sense of calm. Two, we’ve discussed this. I’m more focused. I’m still, again, it’s not uncommon to walk…You could catch me walking down the hallway while looking at my email. So I definitely have bad habits, but I’m less prone to do that and I’m better at listening to people and doing the work I need to do and being productive.

I am less yanked around by my emotions. That’s another way of saying I’m more mindful. And that to me is the big one that, you know, I still experience plenty of anger or distraction or desire, but 10% of the time. maybe more, I can see that it’s happening and let it pass as opposed to just biting the hook and getting yanked around by it. And then I would say that often adds up to being less of an [email protected]#hole, again, to yourself and others. But, again, that does mean that I’m perfect. You know, my wife, I make the joke that if you had her on the line right now, she would give you her 90% still a moron speech about me. So perfection is not an offer here, but you can get better.

At the core of this, at the core of my whole sort of meditation evangelization side hustle, is a really great piece of news, which is that it turns out the mind is trainable. You know, all of the things we want the most calm, happiness, generosity, compassion, and self-awareness, these are not factory settings that cannot be tinkered with these. These are skills that are trainable. That’s what the science around meditation is showing us. And that’s a radical and empowering notion. And that’s why I do this thing and that’s why I try to help other people see that it’s a possibility for them, too.

Katie: That was probably my favorite part…My favorite takeaway from your book was the idea that happiness is a skill and one that you can train and develop. Because, I think, that alone, if people only took that one part, that changes our society drastically. Like, we know things. Like, we know that community and friendships are really important to health and that, in fact, that statistically important than quitting smoking and it’s twice as important as regular exercise, and the experts think this is in part because of that happiness factor and because of stress relief. And so to that end, if meditation can accomplish that and help us train the brain. I think it has a drastic ripple effect across society. But can you just delve into that a little bit more? The idea that happiness is a skill because I think so many people are waiting for an external validation of happiness or something to happen in their life or a move or a new job or something that’s going to improve their life versus choosing to be happy.

Dan: Yeah, you know, I wish it was as simple as just choosing. I think it’s more like a training. But it is true that there’s this kind of primordial lie that we tell ourselves. I’m guilty of this, too, and certainly most of my life before meditation, I did a lot and I still do. This primordial lie that as soon as we can get the fill in the blank, the next promotion, the better house, the boyfriend, our kid gets into school, whatever, then everything’s gonna be fine. That will finally do it for me.

But we know that it doesn’t work out that way. I mean, how many…My meditation teacher likes to ask people, you know, “How many cupcakes have you had? How many vacations? How many lattes? How many job promotions and are you done?” Of course, not. We’re insatiable. And in this way, the pursuit of happiness that is enshrined in our founding documents in the United States, that can become a source of our unhappiness.

And what meditation offers is a way to surf the impermanence and entropy that is human existence in a more easeful way. But just like when you’re working on your bicep in the gym, you actually, you got to work you gotta go to the gym, you gotta do the work. I don’t think, you know, it needs to suck up two hours of your day. But you do you do need to do the work. You know, again, the good news is it can be enjoyable and it can really pay off. I’ve challenged people for a long time. I issued this public challenge, which is meditate for a month, and if you find it to be completely useless, then send me a note on Twitter and tell me I’m a moron. Never once has somebody sent me that note. People tell me I’m a moron all the time on Twitter, but not for that. And so I would just issue that challenge your listeners. Give it a try.

Katie: That’s good advice. Yeah, just starting and putting it into action. And the majority of people listening are parents. And I know you mentioned that you have a son as well. Is this something that can be done in a family environment or something that we can start with our children when they’re young? Just keeping that mindfulness and that awareness? Because in some ways I feel kids actually can be better at this than adults sometimes, they tend to be able to focus much more on the present moment. But is it something that you do with your family at all?

Dan: So my son’s three. I think getting him to sit and do formal meditation is not gonna be super successful. That being said, there are techniques for teaching preschoolers and definitely grade schoolers, and high schoolers, and college students how to meditate. I’m not an expert. I actually plan on researching and writing a book about this at some point. But there are lots of people out there doing this and lots of great books about this. And so, yes, kids can meditate. I’m not your guy for that yet because I haven’t yet done the work.

What I find personally though is that, rather than lecturing your kid about meditating, if you wanna have mindful children, the most powerful modality is to model that behavior. And to do the meditation yourself and let them come to it on their own. So, you know, I hope my son…I mean, my son knows that I meditate and, you know, I don’t think he fully understands what it is, but he knows that something daddy does, just like daddy and mommy go to the gym and etc., etc. Modeling these healthy habits for him so that eventually he will come to them on his own. And hopefully seeing us, you know, handle life’s stresses with some equanimity will be a powerful thing for him.

I mean, I just think back to my own childhood. I do nothing these days that my parents told me to do. For example, they wouldn’t let me watch television, I now work inside the television. But I do everything they modeled. I have a healthy marriage like they do. I have meaningful work like they do. I have an abiding exercise habit which I watch them do throughout my entire childhood. You know, I try to treat people with kindness, which again, I saw them do throughout their lives. Those were the more powerful lessons for me, the unspoken behaviors that they modeled.

And so ultimately, I do want my kids to meditate, but I don’t wanna be in the position of finger wagging. I’d rather have him see something attractive about my behavior and do it himself. One final thing I’ll say is that I have gotten into the habit a little bit of when I’m putting him to bed, it’s usually is a task that’s imposed to mommy for a variety of scheduling reasons, but when I do it, I’ll often sit in the room and meditate while he’s falling asleep, which I like to do. And, you know, he finds it comforting to know that I’m there.

Katie: That’s a great idea. And I think such sage parenting advice across the board is to model that behavior versus insist on it. And my background being in nutrition, I’ve done that with not eating things like sugar or junk food. I just choose not to eat them. And we talk about why those things aren’t the best choice necessarily for your body. And I’ve watched that my older kids typically choose not to eat those foods and it’s not because I tell them they can’t, but it’s because they understand and they see it. So I think that’s a brilliant piece of parenting advice.

And I’m guessing there are people listening, who like me, have always kind of avoided the meditation idea, thinking it was more like woo and more in the realm of kind of the esoteric, whereas you’ve made a strong case for it being scientifically-backed and very logical. And I’m guessing there are people who wanna get started and you have some tools for this. So can you, if someone is ready to jump in and wants to get started, what do they do?

Dan: Yeah, so it doesn’t need to be a big deal. There are lots of ways to get started. You could buy a book on the subject. There are lots of good how-to-meditate books. I’m obviously, partial to my own “Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics”, but there are plenty of others. You can get an app. There’s been a proliferation of apps that teach you how to meditate. Again, I’m partial to my own, which is called “10% Happier.” But by no means of the view that it’s the only one because there are plenty and the ones I’ve seen are all really good. So shop around. Another thing is to go to a class. Most major metropolitan areas have meditation centers. Increasingly, we’re seeing a proliferation of a secular meditation centers. So in like New York City, LA, Austin, Texas, Miami.

You’ve got these, a secular meditation centers, but in many cities also they have a Buddhist centers. I would say don’t be too worried about the whole Buddhist thing. I would call myself a Buddhist, you know, I’m an atheist and I think more of Buddhism as something to do rather than something to believe in. So I think basically the thing you do is meditate and also try to live ethically. So, yeah, that should cover it. It doesn’t, you know, it shouldn’t be some big expensive, elaborate thing that you’re adding onto your life. It can be just an exercise that you layer onto your existing schedule and give it a whirl.

I will say that I learned a lot in writing this recent book about habit formation and behavior change. And, again, I talked earlier about how the evolution bequeath doesn’t mind that it’s not really particularly good at like long-term health planning or even just basic happiness, because it really only cared about, you know, avoiding dangers and finding the sources of pleasure that will propagate the species.

So as it turns out, healthy habits are really hard to form. And I just think knowing that going into this process is really liberating. The only way to, from what I can tell, to establish and abiding healthy habit is to approach it with a sense of experimentation. And so just go into meditation knowing that you’re going to stop and start. You’ll fall off the wagon. You’ll have to experiment with times of day, the type of app you use, the type of class you go to, the type of meditation you do. Just be okay with quote “failure” because that’s what it takes in order to start the habit.

And just as an example for a long time, I had a desire to stop eating meat for ethical reasons, and it’s been years of off and on. And recently, I don’t know, something clicked and I’ve just been on a pretty good run of like a month or more of not doing it. And I just tell myself, “Look, I know I’ll probably fall off the wagon but I’m vectoring in the right direction.” And I find this psychology is much more conducive to success.

Katie: Yeah, and so logical because you see that with in health especially, it’s the age old idea of someone’s gonna go on a diet and then they fall off the wagon so they might as well eat bad for the rest of the day and they’ll start again tomorrow, or they’re going to start again on Monday. And if you take that away and it’s just every day’s a new day, it takes the stress of that off. And I think that’s a great point and a great place to start, and I will make sure that we have links to your books and your app in the show notes for anyone who wants to find them. Of course, they’re also on the Amazon. I’m sure if people want to look there. But I will also publicly commit that I just downloaded your app and I will commit to 30 days and I have a feeling I won’t end up needing to tweet you and call you a moron.

But I love that you’re spreading the word about this. I think it is so important and I love especially that you are bringing the…you’re kinda of pulling it away from any religious overtones and just making it a logical, easy daily practice no matter where someone’s coming from and just kind of spreading the word. And, like you said, I think you could probably win against all of us when it comes to comparing who’s the most busy. So in that sense, if you can do it, all of us can do it.

Dan: Thank you very much. I appreciate it. Thank you for saying all of that.

Katie: And, Dan, thank you. I know you are incredibly busy and you probably have shows to go host, but I appreciate your time and being here. I really enjoyed the book. I’d encourage anyone listening to pick it up. It was a fun read and a good read and thank you. Just thank you for your time and your wisdom.

Dan: Thanks for the great questions and having me on. I appreciate it.

Katie: And thanks to all of you for listening and I hope to see you next time on the “Healthy Moms Podcast.”

If you’re enjoying these interviews, would you please take two minutes to leave a rating or review on iTunes for me? Doing this helps more people to find the podcast, which means even more moms and families could benefit from the information. I really appreciate your time, and thanks as always for listening.



Source link

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply

Think About Beauty
Logo
Login/Register access is temporary disabled