Multitasking and Meditation: Stay Productive and Peaceful

Dan Harris' book "10% Happier" reveals how the world's biggest companies boost the bottom line with meditation.
3:00 | 04/03/14

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Transcript for Multitasking and Meditation: Stay Productive and Peaceful
Hello and welcome to this special edition of real thing is I'm Rebecca Jarvis here in New York City we have a special show today last month by ABC news colleague Dan Harris. Released his book 10% happier it is now a best seller. And it's rocketed to the top spot on the New York Times best sellers list. In 10% -- your -- looks at how meditation. Has helped change his life and for me one of the most interesting parts of his book. It's how meditation has now become a big business and in fact it's being embraced by some of the world's biggest companies as they look to boost their bottom line. -- who you probably know for Nightline is -- co anchor and co host today here on real busy here's our agenda we do this every show I had you thank you for being with us on analog -- -- especially edition today is the digital age making your brain a disaster find out how to become happier and if you can shift your energy. Can you create what you want. We -- energy -- here who will tell you just how that works. And main street is coming around to meditation from gyms offering classes to holistic rejuvenation retreats. You may have seen -- coverage on that he's gonna talk to someone who's doing it we want to get you started right now. And Dan here's the thing -- reading the book he loved the book actually. -- and I've been talking to an over my ABC news colleagues here is well. Who where saying I've read the book and it's making -- more centered it's just making me more focused on living the moment. You know I mean I think that it's one thing to tell yourself. It's a great -- tell you that they're gonna try to break the habit of walking around in in this -- daydream of anticipation about the future and memory of the past but my pitch for meditation is. It's the daily dose of exercise that makes that. A more concrete hat and I'm -- that you and you need -- five -- today you don't need to be sitting cross like it for thirty minutes. Increased makes it more accessible when you have a live like this and it's fairly interesting that so many companies and this is a big party your book. Yeah so much of corporate America has now embracing this as well and seeing the benefit for their employees it's. I mean that the corporate embrace of something that we always thought was only for. Rogue gurus and unlike -- is remarkable and we'll talk about and massive cultural shift brag about Google Twitter. At now. That target I sat in on on and meeting at target of a weekly meeting of quote unquote meditating merchants. And and General Mills these which -- -- titans of industry here. For now embracing this ancient practice which is super super interesting in the reason why they're doing it is it makes you more focused. And less yanked around by her emotions -- you can make calmer clear decisions. Which it it it's it's really interesting that the five minutes a day point that you made because so much of corporate America and today in the digital age everybody's online you know when -- -- because they're tweeting -- -- on FaceBook and if they're not they're they're not president there's this fear of oh my goodness I'm falling behind I'm running behind the pack. Let's call phone -- -- no fear of missing out right and yeah we live in this age has been called the info blitzkrieg or. -- activity. And it does these devices do make us. Can be you know way to make us more productive but it also can be way to make yourself more miserable -- you need. And I've learned some things from my friends in the corporate world about how to manage this him or. Reasonable way I don't always succeed. You up and which is nice to hear him because -- especially you talk in the book about your very first time a medication at. And it didn't go doubt as -- like -- a holistic. Spiritual experience it was more -- Will people need to know is that you're not gonna float off into some sort of cosmic glue. The point is not to reach serenity now or two. Clear your mind which -- one of the huge misconceptions you're not a clear your mind ever what you're doing is creating -- different relationship to the clamor. The mental noise that is your life. This voicing your head that is constantly judging wanting not wanting casting -- into the future remembering the past. This voice which he leads you to do things like putting your hand in the -- you're not hungry checking your email when your -- trying to talk to you losing your temper and regretting it later. You can learn to -- -- less seriously and that's -- meditation does and so when you sit and meditate -- having a direct confrontation with this crazy voice. And it's hard but so is going to the -- if you're. Narrator -- and getting to midget is I think right -- in this state was a big process for you. The book is full of examples of your skepticism going in and meeting different people. And I -- well why -- talk about the -- -- retreat. -- -- So not only I'm out really reluctant to meditate I mean I am when I was. Five my parents that need -- into a children's yoga I -- -- that yes and it's horrible it's the teacher. Did not like my -- -- you maybe take them off and do. -- yoga exercises and a -- what he's part of all the other little kids and so from that day forward I hated anything having to do with the new age or hippies or anything like that so. I was not base your typical imitator but when I heard about the science that says akin. -- -- are key parts of your brain lower blood pressure boost your immune system. -- and I saw and I saw that there are people who like considered. Quote unquote normal who were doing it I decided to -- to try. And I got so far -- with that I ended up going on attend a silent meditation retreat. Which. Started as the most. Miserable. Annoying experience of my life and then it's out on day five I had that. Shift where I was I I would say it was a 36 hours of elation elation -- yet he really was you know it what happens is. This is this whole mental exercises designed to. Drag you kicking and screaming into what's happening right now as well as the gurus say the present moment which have been -- -- knowing term but. When you are actually. Focused on what you were doing in sports the -- being in the zone yet that is often accompanied by a massive blast of serotonin. And if you are working on being in the zone for hours at a time. Right doing this very knowing work of meditating and trying to force yourself into what's happening right now being focused on -- in -- -- way. That can make you extremely happy and there's a lot of science to back that. Who who have all the executives who are practicing -- -- surprised at the -- -- to tell you who taught me the most from it for me Janice murder Rondo who is. A executive was an executive at General Mills and this is. You look at her you think I'm a non obvious -- -- this isn't -- she's a hard charging. Corporate attorney. Whip Smart. And was having not the type of person you ever think would let go away on -- retreat and wrap herself and seaweed and put cucumbers -- -- but she. Found meditations to be extremely useful and was able to spread -- fire -- through the executive ranks and General Mills and I walked away from my time with her -- all for -- definitely aspire to do more. And also believing that this thing is who going to be the next big public health revolution if she can do it and a -- -- -- all these real practical tips.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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