How to Create a Happiness Habit in 20 Minutes a Day

Create a happiness habit in 20 minutes

Neil Pasricha, New York Times bestselling author of The Happiness Equation, is on a mission to change the way people like you can live a happy life long-term.

Right now, he’s flipping our traditional assumptions about happy people and how to become happy, completely upside down. Although it’s important to incorporate quality sleep and surround yourself wiht positive people, there’s other things you can do in your daily life, too.

We’ve partnered with Neil to show you exactly how to feel happier right now, by taking The 20 for 20 Challenge he outlines in the video above. Neil argues that happiness can be attained through choosing one of the three activities or happy habits from the video, and implementing them into your daily routine, for just 20 minutes a day over the next 20 days.

Seem too simple to actually bring about a meaningful change in your life? Well, it turns out that choosing to be happy can actually be an easy pursuit. It’s all about changing the little things and removing negative emotions from your daily life. Finding new opportunities for incorporating happy habits into your daily life will make you feel happier.

Neil says, “our intentional activities have 4x the effect on our happiness, as our circumstances.” This means that regardless of your situation in life, if you choose to be happy and build simple habits that promote happiness into your daily routine, there’s nothing stopping you from becoming happy, right now.

Here’s more on the three daily activities from The 20 for 20 Challenge, that lead to healthy habits and a happier way of life.


1. Fresh Air and Deep Breaths

This can be as simple as getting outside of your home or office, and spending time taking a stroll for 20 minutes a day through an area nearby where there’s nature around you. Think: parks, forests, and beaches or anywhere else you can get some fresh air.

Through his research, Neil found that the American Psychosomatic Society showed that going for a 20-minute brisk nature walk each day, actually outperforms on happiness levels – both patients who were taking anti-depressants and people who were taking anti-depressants in conjunction with going on regular nature walks. Get yourself off of social media and out into nature — your mental health will thank you!

2. The 20 Minute Replay: Creative a Positive Growth Mindset

Reliving our moments of happiness throughout the day, by journalling about them each evening, is proven to bring back that same feeling of happiness that you experienced earlier in the day, helping you feel happier again.

At the University of Texas, researchers found that if you journal for 20 minutes at the end of your day, about just one positive experience, you’ll bring positive emotions into other parts of your day. Keeping a gratitude journal can very quickly become a daily habit in your life that positively influences self-esteem and mental health. This will also help you not sweat the small stuff as it will re-set your focus on the good, not bad things in your life. Creating this sort of positive small talk reflection with yourself will allow for a healthier internal dialogue.

3. Random Acts of Kindness as a Happiness Habit

Commit yourself to doing just five random acts of kindness each week. No matter how large or small, you’ll experience an immediate psychological benefit. Start with buying a stranger a cup of coffee, holding the door open for a group of people, or giving out a genuine compliment. Even if it means stepping out of your comfort zone, adding positivity to other people’s lives through your own signature strengths can make you and others feel happier.

Stanford University psychology professor Sonja Lyubomirsky and team, conducted a study where students committed five random acts of kindness each week, and the results overwhelmingly showed that the students happiness levels were elevated, compared to the control group.

How Attaining Happiness Should Be a Fixed Mindset

As Neil elaborates in our mini-class with him, the traditional model for attaining happiness, especially in American culture, looks a little something like this:

Great Work  →  Big Success  →  Feel Happier


However, what’s inherently flawed with this way of thinking, is that viewing happiness as a reward of first becoming successful, is leading many people to defer their own happiness to an indeterminate date off into the future. They’re accepting the belief that not being happy with life in the present, is simply ok.

Instead, they’re training themselves to cope with living an unfulfilling lifestyle, with the hope that working hard will bring success at a distant date in the future, at which point, they’ll miraculously become happy after they’ve accomplished their goals in business or elsewhere.

This couldn’t be further from the truth, and it’s actually inhibitive to achieving that elusive success they’ve set out to so mercilessly pursue.

In fact, Neil wholeheartedly believes that in order to achieve success, regardless of how you define it, you need to first find happiness — the necessary prerequisite to being able to create your best work.

Neil’s new model for attaining happy habits (and success, for that matter) looks like this:

Be Happy  →  Great Work  →  Big Success


As Neil discusses in our mini-class with him, there are very tangible business rewards to be had, by choosing to prioritize finding long-term happiness first, rather than waiting for it to come around as a mysterious reward of success. People who lead their lives like this typically have better work-life balance, too.

Neil says, “being happy first actually leads to 31% more productivity, 37% higher sales, and 3x more creativity.”

Are you ready to make find long-term happiness in your daily life?

Join us with Neil for his 20 minute mini-class, The Happiness Equation, right here on CreativeLive and start to feel happier today.

Ryan Robinson FOLLOW >

Content marketing consultant to the world's top experts and growing startups. Online educator at where I share business advice and teach entrepreneurs how to start a blog and other side businesses. Check out my post on the best business ideas, read about how I validated a business idea in just 30 days, get my recommendations for the best business books, and check out my favorite motivational quotes.