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Dan Harris – Taming The Voice In Your Head

From Skeptic To Meditator. Dan Harris Shares How He ‘Tamed The Voice In His Head’ & How You Can Too

Dan Harris is co-anchor of Nightline and the weekend editions of Good Morning America. He is a correspondent for ABC News and regularly reports for 20/20, World News with Diane Sawyer and weekday editions of Good Morning America. He has travelled extensively as a news correspondent including Iraq and Afghanistan.

He is also the bestselling author of 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Truly Works.

In this interview Dan talks candidly about his own journey into mindfulness and how he went from being a skeptic to being a very public advocate of meditation.

You’ll also learn about…

  • How the voice in your head can be ‘tamed’ through mindfulness practice.
  • Why meditation won’t make you lose your edge. How it makes you more focussed and productive
  • The practical benefits of mindful living (that every A-type needs to hear).

Language warning. There is a bit of swearing in this one.

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Show Notes

Join The Mindfulness Summit Journey here

Come and join the community discussions at any time on our Facebook page

Together with Joseph Goldstein, Dan has created a mindfulness app for every day people which you can check out here

His book can also be found here




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Purchase a full access pass to unlock downloads for the full interview transcripts, audio, video and separate audio meditation tracks.

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Buy full access pass

Purchase a full access pass to unlock downloads for the full interview transcripts, audio, video and separate audio meditation tracks.

Upgrade for Full Access Pass

Buy full access pass

Purchase a full access pass to unlock downloads for the full interview transcripts, audio, video and separate audio meditation tracks.

Upgrade for Full Access Pass


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302 Responses

  1. Tobey Daniels

    Happiness is a skill that you can develop. Those words spoke to me! Thanks for the great discussion! I am looking forward to getting better at meditation and to better develop my focus and emotional intelligence!!!!

    1. nancy king

      I loved today’s interview with Dan – so down to earth and so real in regards to the difficulties in trying to keep focused and practice every day. He really spoke to the reality of being mindful and the fact that it is not an easy journey. Also loved his comment about happiness being a skill one can develop. Really enjoying this seminar

    2. Lisa Siegel

      Thank you Dan, for sharing your journey with us! I read your book, thoroughly enjoyed it and it has helped me on my meditation journey! I was very excited to see that you were today’s speaker!

  2. Ashish Sharma

    Day 3 was a great change of pace! To hear from Dan was a great experience and reminded me that I need to continue to sit daily and that any changes, while incremental, greatly improve one’s quality of life. Another round of thanks to Melli & Crew and while I know it gets redundant to say the same thing every day… I truly am grateful to be a participant of the Summit! It’s the perfect little “booster” that my practice needed. Thank you.

    1. lola

      Be simple and easy. Words of such wisdom. Thank you . To begin again, when we forget about mindfulness, it’s a starting again and reminding ourselves. Just what I needed to hear. I am so enjoying this summit, thank you xxxx

  3. Schalk Lubbe

    Another great lesson. Thanks so much for sharing your path, Dan!
    For most of my life I was very pessimistic … and thus very unhappy.
    During the last 2 years, I started making this shift … but the one thing I have not (yet) done is to make meditation a daily practice. This is something that I will definitely now endeavour to do.

    1. Alissa Rook

      I think the change in perception about what exactly meditating and being mindful mean will really help create this shift. You said you’ve never really meditated and I know I can remember when I was first meditating thinking a lot of the things they are saying in these talks, like “I’m not doing it right.” or “Who has an hour?” I think taking the concept of smaller moments of being with ones self is the perfect take. In fact, I found that even when you start out committing to practicing a few minutes a day….you’ll find you eventually sit longer just because you are in a space that is so relaxed and you’re focusing your breathing and allowing thoughts to come and go.

      I hope you find that meditation really helps you! Just keep going. 😀

    1. Stephen Zagami

      Maryanne, in my yoga practice we have a saying that “your mind is like a bad neighborhood, Don’t go there! Listen to your body and what it is telling you. Mind is the master of the senses but your breathe is the master of your mind!

  4. LEE

    i am soaking in the different perspectives and was particularly struck by dan’s ideas about the possibilities for the world
    ; how climate change and bullying and politics and education would be impacted. brilliant and intriguing thoughts!

    1. Alissa Rook

      I agree. An interesting concept about bullying.

      What if schools implemented meditation to their curriculum? It’s a tall order to expect from our currently out-dated model of teaching chldren, but I think that a whole new way of guiding kids through school and life could change things.

      We’ve been impacted by so many violent acts at school. In the US almost 50 shootings THIS YEAR in schools. It’s absurd, but often they find out these shooters were mentally ill or had some other major issue. What if their entire schooling had been different. In between learning they were allowed to practice being and allowed to practice mindfulness. In daycare, we had quiet time. But somewhere along the way we lost sight of the benefits of quieting the mind.

        1. Cindy Henderson

          I know of many teachers who are teaching mindfulness and students who come to class with anger and behaviour issues are seeing the benefits for themselves and sharing their learning with family members. Glad to hear you’re starting with our youngest learners.

  5. Alissa Rook

    Great Talk. I loved the discussion about how this can really help people struggling with anger or other issues. I think that is so very true.

    And I loved the quote “everyones mind is an asshole.” We constantly make judgements or perceive people to be a certain way and often times to our own detriment. I actually find that I sometimes have the opposite problem. I’m very kind to others and then I find my kindness is taken advantage of and I can really end up ruminating on that. In the last while I have made it a point to tell myself its completely okay to not have an expectation of someone else after I have helped them. It’s okay to just listen and give advice if they ask. Let it be a gift. Don’t expect anything in return. I changed someones life in a time of need. That really should be enough. 😀

  6. Marianne Crooch

    I have thoroughly enjoyed the first 3 days of this mindfulness education! I can’t wait for the other 28 days! It is wonderful to get many different perspectives in one place. Thank you Melli.

  7. pam paterson

    Thanks Dan for your down to earth and honest talk. I would love my son to hear this and for me it has reenforced the importance of the daily meditation . I was also interested to hear of the connection to type A.

    I also have had panic attacks over the years beginning with my divorce in my thirties, again before my second marriage ..

    Many thanks again


  8. Steve Forbes

    I am new to all this and have found all the speakers extremely interesting which more than makes up for any relatively minor interview format issues and certainly wouldn’t abandon this wealth of information (not just the speakers but links as well) because it. Will try the practice but even if not successful, the message and what I learned makes it all worth while and significantly reduces the credence I give to the negative voice in my head. Thanks,

  9. Shantelle Bates

    Thank you for another great session. Is always informative to hear something from a person’s personal experience, it helps to put the information into a practical manner. It’s then easier to understand when looking at yourself to see where you need to change direction so as to improve yourself for a better you and enhancing your own experiences

  10. Beth Onufrak

    Really enjoying the diversity of talks! Dan’s description of his transformation is so candid and un-glossy. Less time angry, quicker apologies, dumping the 17th self-deprecatory rumination, being WITH his baby when he is with his baby. I appreciate the mix of guests so far and look forward to more! Mellie, thanks for your thoughtful questions.

  11. Freida Maverick

    I’ve never been a fan of Eckart Tolle, and I’m an atheist secular Buddhist. That Dan Harris started with Tolle but moved on quickly to Buddhism – and that he’s an atheist! – is a huge recommendation to me to read his book 🙂 I wonder if Dan Harris has come across Stephen Batchelor? Stephen Batchelor is a renowned author, atheist secular Buddhist.

  12. Sandy Ogletree

    I found this episode so down to earth and “real”. I love hearing stories of personal experience with meditation. The sceptic to believer story is very compelling. Thank you.

  13. Francoise Marga

    Thanks Mellie and Matt for making this online event a reality. The talks are amazing and covers so many aspects of mindfulness and meditation practice. Well done.
    I enjoyed listening to Dan today. I thought he was describing so well how meditate can really help you in every aspect of your life. Yes, it takes some effort but it is so worth it.
    Glad to be in it with all of you 🙂

  14. Danielle Caron

    Very interesting.
    However, I am not sure that a certain level “constructive anguish” should still/always be seen as necessary to perform intense work adequately and get things done.
    The more and more frequent contact with inner silence, stillness and spaciousness marks the gradual dissolution of anguish, anxiety, fear. Mindfulness brings greater and greater clarity with practice, therefore greater calm and trust, a clearer image of the “big picture” manifests (sometimes much greater than expected or imagined) where things are put in their right perspective and anguish can simply not be the engine’s fuel anymore. Peace, equanimity, stillness and silence cannot coexist with anguish of any sort.
    I am not telling you I am there, I just know from short experiences that this is how it goes, thanks to a great buddhist teacher. Then it is back to the cushion to cultivate what has been discovered until these small moments take root and become 15-30-45 minutes, half a day here and there and whole day experiences.

  15. Jean Pollock

    Day 3. Thoroughly enjoyed Dan’s story. His personal experience shared in such a warm, honest way was both entertaining and educational. Highlighting the value of meditation whenever and whatever time allows was a feel good reinforcement. Meditation as part of primary
    Education HAS started. It happens in my home town. Let’s help it spread

  16. Gianna Xavier

    My husband and I are following the summit from Brazil. So far we enjoyed the talks and were able to get them in clear and good sound.
    However Dan’s talk was very hard for us. The sound was muffled and image blured.
    We had to play it again and again to get pieces and bits, here and there.
    What a shame.

  17. Carmen Pereira

    I enjoyed this interview, too. I liked how Dan said that if you can’t put in as much time per day as you would like, any amount of time is better than nothing at all. I will keep that in mind.

  18. Sharon Griffin

    Great interview. I think what’s great about Dan is that he normalises the practice for the “every day” person including the skeptic – and I believe these are the people that need it most. The other key thing coming through all the interviews is the importance of the practice over the “hype”. A real takeaway for me and generating a newfound commitment towards some form of daily practice, even when this can only be a few minutes.

  19. Claire Jones

    Thanks enjoyed the change of perspective today. I particularly resonated with the point about happiness not being the same as complacency. I also liked the reminder to practice everyday no matter how little it is so easy to feel like it has to be 30 minutes to an hour or nothing because it is some kind of failure to do less.

  20. Colleen Young

    Thank you for sharing your personal experience from panic attacks to your present path and your 6 years of meditation and what it has done for you, Dan.

    Nice job Melli.

  21. Nancy Rideout

    I am enjoying, immensely, this fabulous summit…..the diversity of the speakers and the delightful interview style led by Melli. It has become a great highlight of my day and I always eagerly await the next day’s speaker.

    I thought the interview with Dan was a brilliant and important addition to the roster of outstanding speakers. For those of us in the all consuming, demanding and seemingly relentless extreme high stress of the corporate and professional practice world, Dan’s pragmatic and realistic account of his experience was so affirming and easy with which to identify. Sometimes we truly feel that there is “no time”, despite our best efforts and intentions, for reading and meditation in our recurring 14 to 16 hour days! I know you folks are out there in droves!

    We so badly want to fit it into our schedules but have to accept the fact that even a very short time on hectic days will keep us connected and committed. And as his mentor, Joseph Goldstein mentioned last night…..it is OK….and may I add a radical act of loving kindness, to keep starting over and over again. That is the practice.

    With Gratefulness

  22. Anne

    I’m one of those people who meditates daily, although probably not long enough. I found Dan’s talk exciting because the voice in my head is one of ’em, too! I bought the book because I would love to know how Dan tamed his ego. Thank you for the information and the talk!

  23. Chloe

    Great talk 🙂 Dan mentioned an online course offered by the Barre Center for Buddhist studies. The course looks really interesting, is there anything similar offered in Australia?

  24. Malcolm Gowie

    Dan’s comments were earthy and real for me, and that matters. That final question about the potential for mindfulness is mammoth. I have worked for the last 11 years in an organization that drives toward systemic change around societal mal-behaviours. I agree totally with Dan that through mindfulness these could be reduced significantly – think bullying, violence, drug abuse school achievement. The discussion made me think about absenteeism, not just at school, work, home, but in society as a whole – how in our personal lives, we are “absent”. The challenge though is that we in the west are incessantly bombarded with, may I call it “anti-mindulness” material. It serves corporate performance agendas to have us off balance, unaware of our real selves and what really matters – and worst of all, they push it. And so to Day 4. Bring it on!!!

  25. Avrilod O'Donnell

    I enjoyed this session with Dan Harris. It is very refreshing to hear such a high profile media person being so honest! Thank you Matt and Melli. Getting very clear coverage here in West Cork, Ireland.

  26. Nic Oliver

    I’m confused as to why I can’t download the audio or transcripts for either day 2 or day 3 when I’ve been trying since yesterday 4pm Perth WA WST. It says I have to donate to download. I thought maybe I’d missed the advertised 24 hour free window for each day but since day 4 is not yet up I obviously could not have missed day 3 for the last 18 hours. Am I missing something?

  27. Lynora

    It is ironic that I’m in Massachusetts at a meditation retreat, reading 10% happier and hearing this interview with Dan. I am not only a type A worry wort but of recent, going through some major life changes and decided to try meditation and the practice of mindfulness once again. It’s been a journey of on and off for 6 years now and it is so refreshing to read Dan’s story to validate that this conscious choice I’m making will be worth sticking with.

  28. Valentina González

    I love the idea to find another techniques to keep my mind in the present, I hope that this course could help me to manage my personality and fears….

    Thanks to share this course to me.


  29. kat kunetka

    I have always adored dan Harris as a journalist! I knew about some of his life journey and now I respect him so much more. What a real, down to earth and fascinating guy!

  30. Maria T+Calva

    Thank you for sharing this true story. It was very amazing to listen to someone that had those experiences could make changes in his life… that give us faith… thank you again.

  31. kisacho2590

    Dan feels more like an “anybody” as opposed to a leading expert on the practice. This fact enabled his experience to resonate with me and gives me confidence that I can become more skilled as well.

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