A panic attack in front of 5,000,000 people is a decidedly shitty thing to happen to a person. 

But for Dan Harris, an ABC News correspondent, it was a turning point in life.

dan harris panic attack meditation neuroscience mindfulness 10 percent happier 10% happier abc news good morning americaHaving been obsessed with career success to the point of workaholism and drug abuse, Harris’ live-TV breakdown was sufficiently harrowing to prompt the asking of some difficult questions.

These questions led him to read Eckhart Tolle, who he found for the most part to be frustratingly ‘woo woo.’

Something in Tolle’s work, however, impacted Harris profoundly: the idea that the root of many of our problems is the incessant, self-focused voice in our heads that ceaselessly frets over the past and future. 

For Harris, this idea was so powerful that it catalyzed an inexhaustible search for answers—a search that would eventually lead him to Buddhism and the practice of meditation.

Harris would go on to become a daily practitioner of and vocal advocate for meditation. He even wrote a book, 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works—A True Storywhich chronicles his transformation and discusses evidence from neuroscience of the myriad benefits of meditation. If you like, you can read the key insights from his book for free on Blinkist.

Until recently, I was unaware of Harris and his work. Then, thanks to the recommendation of a friend, I watched a couple videos on Big Think in which Harris discusses the neuroscience of meditation and the story of his panic attack and subsequent transformation.

These two videos offer fascinating insight into the way meditation physically transforms our brains and compelling reasons for developing a meditation practice. I highly recommend them.

Dan Harris on the Neuroscience and Benefits of Meditation:

Dan Harris on His Panic Attack and Subsequent Discovery of Meditation:


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dan harris panic attack meditation neuroscience mindfulness 10 percent happier 10% happier abc news good morning america