Dan Harris opens up about 'Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics'

The "GMA" weekend anchor and bestselling author discusses his new book and demonstrates a simple meditation exercise.
8:03 | 12/26/17

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Transcript for Dan Harris opens up about 'Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics'
Back to the 1kri79, the holidays are winding down and while they're filled with family and fun and onesies this time of year can be stressful so I want to ask you guys in a moment of honesty if you've ever meditated to deal with stress. Please applause. All right. I'm impressed. Now if you are skeptical about what it can do for you, I also want you to applause. We got some skeptics. What if we can meditate in 60 seconds? It's possible, yes. We are going to do that. We are going to do that. Dan is the expert. You have a new book out. Yes, there it is. "Meditation for fidgety skeptics." So, Dan, can you turn all of these skeptics on to the meditation bandwagon. I'm going to do my best. If you're skeptical you're my people. I am not what you call a Theriot typical meditator. I'm not into crystals or music by enya but this helped me and I wanted to write a book that would appeal to my fellow skeptic. Drugs called statins. It started with a panic attack live right here on "Gma." It's too early to prescribe statins. That on-air meltdown led me to something that I thought was ridiculous and impossible for somebody like me with the attention span of a 6-month-old golden retriever. Meditation. Science suggests meditation can rewire parts of your brain. It helped make me calmer and less yanked around by my emotions and wrote a book called "10% happier worth question turned into the 10% happier podcast where I interview celebrity meditators and the 10% happier app where I've gathered some of the best teachers in the world to deliver short entertaining meditation lessons. Meditation is actually a simple secular and largely scientifically validated exercise for your brain. Working on the app it's become blazingly clear to me that many people who want to meditate struggle mightily to establish a regular habit. Hence my new book, "Meditation for fidgety skeptics." This is ridiculous. It's based on a road trip I took in this ridiculous Orange bus along with one of my favorite meditation teachers Jeff Warren. You up for it? Yes, absolutely. Reporter: We traveled across Amer and met all sorts of wanna-be meditators. What are we doing? Reporter: We hung out with cops and military cadets in Virginia and went on the air with Elvis durran and chanted with the muse significance moby. Some of the top misconceptions we tackle, I don't have time for this. A concern we heard from my wife, a busy mom and doctor. I'm just so busy doing things for everything else. I have a child or two. Reporter: I can't clear my mind. A fear articulated by a social worker in Las Cruces, new Mexico. As soon as I start to relax I think, oh, my goodness, I shouldn't be relaxing, I should be doing -- this is so bad. Why am I so selfish. Reporter: If I get too happy I'll lose my edge a worry voiced by Josh groban. I felt like that -- the anxiety has been an edge for me that allowed me to chess game my life a little better, you know, and so the idea of laying back at all is actually -- it's a fear of mine that if I sit back too far, I'll miss out. You're a brother from another mother. This is exactly my psychology for sure. Yeah, and I can tell you as somebody who is still plenty ambitious, meditation actually improves your edge in my experience, it helps your focus, teaches you to control your emotions, that's why athletes, executives and all sorts of -- Members of the military used it. You travelled around the country on your tour bus but spoke to countless people and it was a recurring theme. I don't have time. I don't have time to meditate. I think it's the number one obstacle. I have good news and then I have even better news, the good news is I think five to ten minutes a day is a great way to start and I've talked to a lot of scientists about this. I think five to ten minutes a day is probably enough to derive many of the advertised benefits. The even better news I also think one minute counts. One minute if you do that most days. Well, that's encouraging because five to ten minutes I can do. I have tried it but it's so difficult. Yesterday I tried it. I just can't clear my mind, still have investigates of sugar plums dancing in my head. It's not clearing the mind. What do you say to people like that? Right, so I think the number one misconception about meditation is that it involves clearing your mind. I think that's probably because meditation has been the victim of the worst marketing campaign for anything ever. Take a look at the monitor. This is the imagery we mostly see, you're sitting by a waterfall. Didgeridoo music playing, flute and floating off into the cost most. I think if you look at this next image this is a better way to think about the practice of meditation. It's hard. It is a skill and when you learn it at first it's going to take a little bit of time. The goal is not to cle your mind, that is impossible unless you're enlightened or dead. The goal is to focus your mind for a few nano seconds at a time usually on the feeling of your breath coming in and going out then when you get lost you tart again and again and again and that is a bicep curl for your brain, the starting over teaches you how to focus and you see it. It she's up on the brain scans. I had an aha moment with you when we were trying to meditate because( you are my spiritual guru and you said it's not really about changing your circumstances, it's changing how you respond to your sirs. Absolutely. Absolutely. So just help slow things down. You'll lead us. You guys ready for this? 60-second meditation. All right. Let's -- there's the clock up on the screen. All right. Three steps basically. We'll start the clock now, sit comfortably, back reapably straight, eyes closed. Doesn't have to be super straight, straight enough not to have a nap and second step, bring your full attention to your breath. You're just feeling the raw data of the first sensations, you pick a spot where it's most prominent, your nose, chest or belly. The third step is the key, as soon as you do this most likely your mind will go on full on mutiny. Thinking about lunch, why did I say that dumb thing to my boss, why was "Goodfellas" best picture, blah, blah, bar and the whole game is notice when you've become distracted and tart again and again and again. A lot of people think when they become distracted this is a failure but it is a victory and it is a hugely consequential shall victory. When you see how crazy you are, that crazy no longer owns you. So, five seconds left, just feeling the breath coming in and going out and, ladies and gentlemen, you have all joined the meditator club. Wow! Everyone feels 10% happier. Yes. I think it's about being still. So many are moving at the speed of light and so many things on our plate. If you take a minute to slow down then clarity can come. In that is absolutely correct. Absolutely -- as with everything you say that is absolutely correct. Oh, Dan. I already love you. You're such a great guy. I'm glad you let us in on that moment of tillness, peace on Earth and good will to all men, women and kid. Best one minute of television? So happy for you, part two and make sure you buy this book. If you're in the audience, you get one for free. Oh! Everybody gets a copy of

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

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