Episode summary

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In this episode of the Ten Percent Happier podcast, Dan Harris discusses the challenges of establishing and maintaining meditation habits with Jake Eagle and Dr. Michael Amster, authors of the book "The Power of Awe." They explain how they stumbled upon a one-minute meditation practice called the AWE method, which involves attention, waiting, and exhaling. The method is designed to help people access moments of awe in everyday life and experience the positive emotions associated with it. The guests discuss the differences between the AWE method and traditional mindfulness meditation, highlighting the portability and accessibility of AWE practices. They provide practical examples of AWE practices, such as "home as a museum" and "connecting with strangers." The guests also emphasize the impact of AWE on time perception, emotional experiences, and fostering a sense of connection and presence. They offer tips for developing a consistent AWE practice, including setting specific times for practice and incorporating AWE into existing habits.

Later in the episode, the guests discuss the practice of giving hugs with the intention of awe attached to them. They explain that most of the time, people give hugs without being fully present and aware of what's happening. However, a hug that is matched with an experience of awe can be a heightened and fully present experience. Bianca Harris expresses her motivation to try setting an alarm three times a day to remind herself to practice awe.

The guests delve into the science behind their awe method and the benefits it can have on mental and physical health. They explain that moments of awe can lower depression, anxiety, and loneliness, and improve well-being. They also discuss the impact of awe on the secretion of inflammatory cytokines in the body. While they cannot directly link the awe method to lower inflammation, they believe that the practice's positive effects on mental health may indirectly contribute to reducing inflammation.

The guests emphasize the potential of awe to change perspectives and expand understanding. They share their experiences of inducing awe in therapy sessions and couples counseling, which have led to shifts in perception and cognitive accommodation. They believe that practicing awe can have a positive impact on the world, promoting safety and well-being.

Dan Harris agrees with the potential of the awe method and expresses his intention to incorporate it into his life. He sees it as a valuable tool in a busy and demanding world, especially for those who struggle to maintain a regular mindfulness practice. The guests conclude by encouraging listeners to practice awe and make the world a safer and better place.

Episode description

The great meditation teacher Sebene Selassie said this about today’s guests: “I think their work is going to revolutionize mindfulness.”

The guests in question are Jake Eagle, a licensed mental health counselor, and Dr. Michael Amster, a physician with a specialty in pain management who is also a certified yoga and meditation teacher. Together, they’re out with a new book called The Power of Awe: Overcome Burnout & Anxiety, Ease Chronic Pain, Find Clarity & Purpose―In Less Than 1 Minute Per Day. In it, they lay out a simple technique for “microdosing mindfulness” that just about anybody can work into their daily lives.

Plus: Dan’s wife, Bianca, joins Dan as co-interviewer.

In this episode we talk about:

How Jake and Michael stumbled upon this method (the story involves pancakes) Why Bianca has had trouble booting up a meditation habit (and why Jake says he’s “a terrible meditator”) Why people who have trouble sitting daily for extended periods might find that these microdoses are easier to work into their day How to do the A.W.E. Method The similarities and differences between A.W.E. and traditional mindfulness meditation Practical tips for trying out A.W.E. in everyday life, given how hard it is to form habits The early scientific evidence regarding the effectiveness of the A.W.E. Method And, finally, whether Bianca and Dan were convinced to try the method!

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