What 5 things can someone do every day to be happy? originally appeared on Quora - the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.

Answer by Neil Pasricha, NY Times Bestselling Author of The Happiness Equation & The Book of Awesome, on Quora:

The good news is you only have to do one, not all five.

My suggestion is to pick just one from the list below and set a 20-minute recurring reminder in your calendar for 20 days in a row. See if you can develop a new 'happiness habit' :

  1. Brisk 20-minute walk. Studies show three 20-30 minute walks a week outperform, from a happiness perspective, test groups on anti-depressants and test groups doing both the walking and taking the anti-depressants. (Penn State / Babyak, American Psychosomatic Society)
  2. The 20-minute replay. Journal for 20 minutes about a positive experience you had during the day. Your mind will relive the experience as you write and relive it again when you read your journal. A tripling effect (University of Texas, "How Do I Love Thee, Let Me Count The Words").
  3. Commit a random act of kindness. Surprise someone with a coffee, hold the door open for your coworkers, send a thank-you note to an old teacher (Lyubomirsky).
  4. Meditate. Studies show meditation increases the activity in our pre-frontal cortex -- the part of the brain responsible for attention and focus (Massachusetts General Hospital).
  5. Write down 5 gratitudes. If you can be happy with simple things, it will be simple to be happy. The research here had students write down five gratitudes, events, or hassles. Those writing down gratitudes vastly outperformed the other two groups after ten weeks (Emmons / McCullough).

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