April 21, 2016 by Speakers' Spotlight
How to Create a Happiness Habit in 20 Minutes a Day
Neil Pasricha, New York Times bestselling author of The Happiness Equation, is on a mission to change the way the world finds happiness. Right now, he’s flipping our traditional assumptions about how to become happy, completely upside down. Creative Labs has partnered with Neil to show people exactly how to find happiness 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 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 – if you go about it the right way.
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 regular activities 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 a happier way of life.
1. Nature Walks
This can be as simple as getting outside of your home or office, and taking a stroll for 20 minutes a day through an area nearby where there’s nature around you. Think: parks, forests, and beaches.
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.
2. The 20 Minute Replay
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.
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, you’ll become happier. Start journalling daily, and happiness can very quickly become a regular habit in your life.
3. Random Acts of Kindness
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 complement.
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
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 → Be Happy
Instead, they’re training themselves to cope with living an unfulfilling lifestyle, with the hope that working hard will bring success at an unpredictable, 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, in the first place.
Neil’s new model for attaining happiness (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 happiness first, rather than waiting for it to come around as a mysterious reward of success.
Neil says, “being happy first actually leads to 31% more productivity, 37% higher sales, and 3x more creativity.”