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.
"Mindfulness is knowing what's happening in your own head"
In Dan's pursuit of happiness through meditation, he found two immediate benefits.
- The first was increased focus, a side effect of the brain workout that meditation provides.
- The second benefit was in mindfulness, or the "ability to know whats happening in your head" without getting carried away.
Mindfulness vs. Mindlessness
In our lives, a lot of anxieties are created and amplified within our own minds. We're often, as Dan puts it, "yanked around by a voice in our head." Meditation was able to help Dan "control" that voice, "see it for what it was", and "befriend it." "It is often mindless behavior which is the source of everything that we are most ashamed, what gets us in trouble in our marriage or work," says Dan. His problems were created because he was "mindlessly covering wars, insufficiently aware of the consequences," and it was mindlessness that led him "to take drugs" to compensate.
Enhanced mindfulness can help us from tiny, unconscious decisions, like "eating the 18th cookie", to "saying the wrong thing to your boss". It allows us to step outside ourselves and see our actions and thoughts more consciously. Meditation may not "clear" your mind, but it will make you think more "clearly"!
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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