Dan Harris, the author of 10% Happier and the man behind its corresponding app, recently spoke to ABC about ways to make mindfulness a daily habit.
It’s something many of us struggle with. We know from science that mindfulness and meditation are excellent for our health. The sheer list of scientifically proven benefits of meditation proves that. But even though we know that it’s good for us, many of us struggle to find the time every day to make mindfulness a daily habit.
Many people are struggling to jostle mindfulness with their daily lives. The average person’s daily life in 2020 is causing them mental health problems. Harris states, “We are seeing epidemic levels of anxiety, depression, suicide and addiction. [It’s caused by] social media, technology, modern life…” Because of the rising levels of mental health problems, people are starting to look for solution, and one of the solutions many people are adopting is mindfulness. “[Because of the levels of mental health problems], people are looking for solutions,” says Harris. “[They are getting into mindfulness because] it now has a robust body of scientific evidence behind it.”
Arguably the number one problem people face with mindfulness is that they don’t have the time. Although, in my experience as meditation teacher, I find this to be a lie that we all tell ourselves. It isn’t that we truly do not have time to meditate. In truth, we could all simply sacrifice a little screen time and do mindfulness instead of watching TV, playing games, or using social media. The real reason is because the idea of sitting still and focusing on your breath is so opposite to what we are all made to believe. We are made to believe that it is good to be busy and that downtime should be avoided. We live in an always-on world. Meditation, which is ultimately about doing nothing (or at least, practically nothing), is the exact opposite of what are society dictates.
The question becomes: how do you make mindfulness a daily habit in this always-on, go-go-go society that we live in. Here, Dan Harris has an excellent idea. It’s an idea he got from working with Apple. Every October, Harris and his team visit Apple to help employees to be mindful. Many of those employees struggle every day. And to this, Harris suggests meditating “every day ish”.
“There are two mantras I’ve developed,” says Harris. “My first mantra is “every day-ish. . The other little mantra is ‘one-minute counts’. So, we ask people at Apple: Can you meditate 21 out of 30 days for at least a minute? We find that the response from that is [excellent].”
In an age where we are always on the go, it can be hard to find time for the habit of mindfulness. Thankfully, there are lots of solutions to this. One solution Harris advocates is podcasts. “[With mindfulness podcasts, we have the ability to get right into your ear wherever you are, in a way that is really getting you in your life. [The accessibility of mindfulness podcasts] is what gives people like me the power to have influence.
The other solution is apps. Year on year the mindfulness app market is growing as more and more people find ways to fit mindfulness into their daily lives. Apps like Calm and Headspace give us the ability to access mindfulness on our phones—which, of course, are always with us.
What I took away from Dan Harris’ chat with ABC is that you don’t have to dictate too much time to meditating. Harris’s casual approach of “every day ish” and “one minute counts” is a very easy approach for people to take.
So let me ask you: Can you meditate every-day-ish if you have the mentality one minute counts?
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