This article is written together with 10% Happier—an Elephant Mindful Partner. They’re dedicated to making meditation more accessible, less mystical, more fun, and less of a chore for everyone. And we’re honored to work with folks who are this down-to-earth about mindfulness. ~ ed.
Everyone I know seems to be meditating.
All they can talk about is how much it helps their anxiety and stress, and how they feel happier and more chilled in their day-to-day lives.
So, I finally worked up enough curiosity and motivation to join one of my girlfriends at her weekly meditation class—and I have never felt more stressed and uncomfortable in my life.
First of all, I am not someone who can sit still easily, which is probably why I’ve avoided the meditation trend for so long now. My mind races, I get fidgety, impatient, and—if anything—my anxiety levels actually seem to increase when I am left alone with my thoughts.
Second, I am completely and utterly allergic to woo-woo. I don’t use crystals, wear malas, smudge anything except my mascara when I’m running late, and tie-dye practically makes me break out in hives.
I had thought maybe joining a group might help me overcome this stuff, but it only made me feel more like a failure at this whole inner peace, being one with the universe thing.
Everyone else seemed so blissed out after the class and all I felt was frustrated with my disobedient brain and out of place amongst all the “spiritual” folk. Needless to say, I didn’t go back.
But I really wanted (and needed) to cultivate a more peaceful and even state of mind—not just for my own health and sanity, but for the health and sanity of the people who have to put up with me on a daily basis. I just needed to be able to find it at my own pace and in my own way.
It was while Googling “how to meditate” that I came across 10% Happier. I knew instantly that I had to try it out.
They call their approach “Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics.” That. Is. So. Me!
10% Happier offers meditation lessons and guided meditations, with a mix of video and audio content, from the world’s best, most down-to-earth, and coolest meditation teachers.
What I loved right away is these are people like me. I can relate to and understand what they are saying and there are no robes or crystals in sight.
You may recognize Dan Harris from this video.
Years ago, he experienced a full-blown panic attack on live television news in what he describes as the most embarrassing day of his life. It led him to explore meditation.
Nearly 15 years later, he’s written two books, has a podcast show, and this app to show for his journey to a happier state of mind. But what I love about his approach is, he’s not touting meditation as some kind of miracle cure-all, which is the reason for the name, 10% Happier.
Meditation is not a rainbow band-aid for life. But it is a proven science that, given some guidance and a little practice, can help us to quiet that monkey mind of ours—or at least get some perspective on its antics—and better weather the inner and outer storms that come with being human in this crazy world.
Dan’s no BS approach sets the tone for all of 10% Happier‘s offerings.
The teaching is reassuring, grounded, and just so real. I even found myself laughing at times. There’s no fake hypnotic voices, no magical fairy dust sound effects, no one taking themselves way too seriously…no nonsense.
You can choose from daily videos and guided meditations to teach you meditation in the simplest way possible. It has a range of content for coping with anxiety and political stress, and for activities like walking and falling asleep. There’s fresh content weekly to keep meditation from becoming a chore and practical advice for applying mindfulness to your relationships, eating, work, and more.
My personal favorites are the quick, on-the-go meditations that fit into your busy life—during your commute, lunch break…I like to use them while tidying the house, or taking my dog for a walk. Suddenly I feel as though I can make meditation techniques work for me and my lifestyle.
Although Dan now meditates daily for hours at a time, he also insists it’s not necessary for everyone, and definitely not the only way to meditate. While just taking a walk or zoning out on the train to work doesn’t count as mindfulness practice, we can certainly make these daily experiences meditative with a little help.
Meaning that old chestnut, “I’d love to meditate, I just don’t have the time,” is no longer a valid excuse for being miserable.
This app has made meditation so much more accessible and enjoyable for me.
With the guidance of the teachers on 10% Happier, I feel like I’ve got a mindfulness guru in my pocket who I can call on anytime. I’m actually enjoying meditation, rather than it being a kind of chore that I know would be good for me but I’d really rather avoid: like eating my spinach, or doing sit-ups.
I finally understand that I actually don’t need to stop my thoughts or float away on a cloud to meditate. I can find my 10% Happier self while walking my dog, cleaning the house, or even while I’m falling asleep.
And I can genuinely feel the daily difference in my body and mind. Thanks to 10% Happier, I feel more embodied, more centred, more appreciative of the little things—and I didn’t even have to ride a unicorn or put on tie-dye to get here.
Watch Danielle Radulski’s Review: