Dr. Elisabeth Paige
10% Happier...My Favorite Meditation App
Updated: Aug 30, 2018
If you are looking to make your sitting or walking mindfulness practice easier and more interesting, 10% Happier is a great app to try. It was started by Dan Harris after he had a breakdown on air as a newscaster and decided that mindfulness was critical to his sanity. He also wrote two books which I will review on a later post.
The app offers a variety of guided meditations and courses. Some of the meditations are from a cross country road trip Dan Harris and his team took, interviewing people along the way, and some from well-known meditation teachers. They also offer courses, conversations and guided meditations on a particular topic. For the most part, you can easily choose how long you want to practice each meditation.
The topics include: Great for Beginners (32 meditations, 4 courses), Stress & Anxiety (36 meditations, 1 course), Sleep (11 meditations), Happiness (27 meditations, 2 courses), Focus (36 meditations, 3 courses), On the Go (17 meditations, 1 course), Difficult Emotions (32 Meditations, 1 course), Waking Up (8 meditations), Relationships (35 meditations, 1 course), Health (23 meditations, 3 courses), Mental Mischief (9 meditations, 3 courses), Advanced and Unguided (33 meditations, 6 courses) and, From Our Books (29 meditations, 2 courses).
The Morning Gratitude by JoAnne Hardy is a wonderful way to wake up. She guides you to be grateful from the beginning though your entire day. To continue with gratitude is Anushka Fernandopulle’s Grateful for Your Body. She walks you through being grateful for every part of your body, something I find to be an important reminder. There are several other gratitude meditations. One of my favorites is Jeff Warren’s Interconnection + Gratitude where he emphasizes the importance of being grateful for the people in your life.
Joseph Goldstein’s Opening Up to Strong Emotions, teaches you to deal with intense emotions. If you tend to carry stress, Alexis Santos’ Stress is Natural or JoAnne Hardy’s Less Anxious are for you. Also, Anushka’s Thoughts Lack Solidarity is an interesting meditation. She reminds us that thoughts are going to stick around as long as they are.--good or bad, no matter how long we try to make them stay or how quickly we try to make them leave. Sharon Salzberg does a relaxing body scan. Feeling all the way from the top of the head down to the tip of the toes. we guide you through a version of this with your pet during the Pet Scan Petitation on a later post.
If you only have a minute, Dan Harris’ 1 Minute to Sanity is the way to go. He offers a quick breath in a busy day.
Wearing Pants by Jeff Warren is not what I original assumed it would be, wearing the pants in the family. Rather it is literally the act of wearing pants and feeling your pants on your body. I find this one fun and entertaining.
Many of us have trouble falling asleep. There are eleven meditations to help with insomnia. Alexis Santos’ voice in Falling Asleep is gentle and soothing I've found that when I wake up in the middle of the night and can't get back to sleep, I just start a sleeping meditation and within minutes I've fallen asleep again.
For one example of a course, Joseph Goldstein’s Compassion course is amazing. It rotates between Dan Harris joining Joseph in conversation and then ten-minute meditations. The first compassion meditation in this course is a self-compassion meditation. Joseph introduces phrases such as “May I be at ease, may I be free from suffering…” In addition, he introduces the phrases, “How may I help you?, Be simple and easy, and Love your crooked neighbor (we shouldn’t imply we all have a saint-like quality about loving our neighbors)” to be repeated over and over returning to the phrases whenever our mind wanders. He tells stories such as a woman who gave a moderate amount of money to a foundation for kids who needed extra financial help, and one of the kids went to college, got a Fulbright to Harvard, started a foundation of his own and helped thousands of kids all because of this moderate donation each month.
Joseph goes into a loving kindness meditation, pretty similar to most lovingkindness meditations although in his second lovingkindness meditation, he focuses on friendliness instead of love with an emphasis on people you either don’t know very well or whom you are having difficulties with, finishing with lovingkindness toward yourself and finally all beings everywhere. There are a total of six-ten minute meditations as part of the course.
This barely touches the surface of what 10% Happier has to offer. I highly recommend your trying the app out for the 7 day free trial and discovering the magic on your own.