MARLO THOMAS
09/01/2015 06:07 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

How Did Dan Harris Solve Anxiety Issues With Mindfulness Meditation?

Anxiety affects us all in different ways. For ABC news Anchor Dan Harris, secretly living with anxiety finally took its toll the form of a severe panic attack - on live TV. We were thrilled to have Dan come by and share his story, but even more thrilled to learn from him what we can do about our own issues with panic and anxiety.

What led to the panic attack

Dan Harris' 2004 panic attack on live television was the culmination of a variety of issues, both personal and professional. As an ambitious young reporter in a post-9/11 news environment, Dan was driven to cover stories all over the world. His experiences on war zones and on battlefields did not come without psychological consequences though, and upon returning to the states, Dan found himself in a state of depression, and started self-medication with drugs.
(Read more about what may have triggered Dan's attack)

Finding a Resolution

After the panic attack, Dan decided to devote his live to resolving the issue, and that resolution ended up being meditation. While initially a skeptic, Dan started feeling the benefits of meditation in a matter of weeks. Dan's specific type of meditation is Mindfulness Meditation: a "simple, secular, scientifically validated" process that requires little more than a place to sit and your own breath.

Amazingly, Dan's attachment to meditation was not specific to one coach or teacher. You could even do the same practice yourself, in the comfort of your living room! Dan walks us through the process himself.

3 steps to Mindfulness Meditation

  1. Sit with your back straight and your eyes closed
  2. Notice the feeling of your breath coming in or going out
  3. (Pick a spot on your nose, chest, or belly)
  4. As soon as you try to do this, your mind is gonna go "bazonkers", so notice when you've become distracted, and start over

Meditation is not "reaching a special state", says Dan. Instead it is "noticing when you've become lost and are starting over." This cycle of focusing refocusing is the foundation of the "mental workout" that has changed his life.

Watch the rest of the interview with Dan Harris here.

Also, be sure to check out Dan's new meditation app 10% Happier - a 2 week crash course in meditation, with guided sessions from Dan and personal life-coaching tips!

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