13. 10% Happier – Chapter One

From www.amazon.com
From http://www.amazon.com

As I am reading the 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 Story I thought it would be a useful exercise to take some notes about what I am learning from it, or what I want to remember. You can buy this book here.

Chapter One: 

  • It is refreshing to read a book where it is clear the author has left their ego at the door. Harris is honest about his intentions, his embarrassments, his flaws
    • I admire someone who can be that honest. It is how I am trying to be these days. 
  • He talks about how he had a head full of mindlessness – packed full with worry, fear, ambition, drive, regret, embarrassment, and a lot more.
    • I can relate to this. I may not be a TV reporter/anchor, but I have worked in industries where I felt the pressure (from myself and others) to always be “on”, to be busy, and pushing forward, and looking for the next promotion and the next advancement. My mind was full but I was not being mindful. 

  • He talks about when he came back from a job assignment overseas and got really ill. He eventually went to psychiatrist who diagnosed him with depression. The psychiatrist explained that when you’re cut off from your emotions, they often manifest in your body. Unfortunately, instead of going on an anti depressant, Harris turned to drugs.
    • I have lived the majority of my life cut off from a lot of my emotions – I saw it modelled by my father, and I learnt that it “worked” as I grew up. I put the emotions in boxes and didn’t deal with them. I can now see how detrimental this is long term. 
    • I learnt to deal with stress with alcohol – not every day or every week, but an every-couple-of-months blow out. Without admitting to it, I guess it was a way for me to clear out my mind, even for a few hours. I wish I knew about the idea of mindfulness then! I am not saying it is some kind of magic wand, but I can see how the practice of mindfulness could have helped me back then.

From the end of the first chapter, it sounds like he finds out about meditation and mindfulness during chapter two, so I am looking forward to finding out more about that.

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