In 2004, Dan Harris had a panic attack live on national television while anchoring the news on Good Morning America. Since that day, his life has changed drastically. He’s become an author, launched a podcast called Ten Percent Happier, and left his news anchoring days behind.
LISTEN NOW: Dan Harris mental health, mindfulness and meditation
During a recent chat with Audacy’s Corey Crockett, Dan discussed Ten Percent Happier, the namesake of his meditation app, book and aforementioned podcast (available to check out on Audacy), plus a whole lot more.
Delving into about how it all started for him, ways everyday people can get started in mediation, and how while we do want to have more conversations about mental health, it’s okay not to talk about it all the time.
Mentioning how it all started after he “freaked out on national television,” Dan explained how his panic attack on Good Morning America “was a big wake up call for me,” regarding “some dumb behavior in my personal life.” One of which included “self-medicating with recreational drugs after having spent a lot of time in war zones as a correspondent.” Dan came to the realization he needed to take care of himself and his mental health.
"The first thing I did was go to therapy for many many years, and ultimately that led me to meditation,” which as he noted he had long dismissed as "hippie nonsense.” But after seeing the scientific data behind the advantages of meditation, it helped Dan better turn from skeptic to believer.
Sharing about how he went into writing and publishing Ten Percent with low expectations, especially after Barbara Walters told him not to quit his day job, Dan shared how he turned the concept into an multi-faceted mental health empire and aid, explaining his main aim in writing his best-selling book was to encourage skeptics (as he once was) to give the practice of mindfulness and meditation a shot.
“Aside from the science, the most important thing to know is that happiness is not just something that happens to you because of luck,” Dan said. “It’s actually a skill that your brain and your are trainable through various modalities including meditation, therapy, good relationship hygiene, access to nature. There are many ways in which you can train yourself to be happy, and that is an incredibly powerful piece of news… So I think just giving people that news is really the way in. And the fact that happiness is a skill, that the mind is trainable — that’s really the animating insight for everything I do.”
For all that and more, including how to get started with meditation, listen to the entire interview above.
Audacy's I’m Listening initiative aims to encourage those who are dealing with mental health issues to understand they are not alone. If you or anyone you know is struggling with depression or anxiety, know that someone is always there. Additionally, the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 988. Find a full list of additional resources here.