21 Days of Purpose: A Free eCourse for Uncovering Happiness

You have a purpose in being here…
… and part of that is remembering that
you are part of something much larger than yourself.

Science and thousands of years of human experience are showing us a feeling of connection to something greater than ourselves gives us a heightened sense of well-being and resiliency. In short, it’s a natural antidepressant.

I want to invite you to an experiment based on practices in my new book, Uncovering Happiness, that can help you nurture this positive shift in your brain and positively impact the world around you.

Over the next 21 days you’ll be guided through something very simple and profound; discovering a prosocial purpose and turning your purpose into a verb.

The structure for this is loose; there is nothing strict or rigid about this program. The intention of the following 21 days is to deepen your connection to purpose and compassion in your own life and get some support in the process.

Each day you’ll receive a writing to reflect on to light up the compassionate brain. You’ll then be reminded of these three key questions from Uncovering Happiness to help keep you focused and on track:

  1. What pro-social purpose are you involved in?
  2. What action can I take today that is in line with this purpose?
  3. What is this action in service of that is greater than myself?

I recommend weaving in some of the attitudes of play from Uncovering Happiness in order not to get overly serious about the whole endeavor, see it more from a learning lens and make it a playful endeavor.

A very wise woman once told me,
If something is valuable, give it away.

That may sound strange, but I understand what she means. As we give away what is valuable, we inevitably get back something invaluable.

If you’re wondering what that is, take a leap to commit to 21 Days of Purpose and discover it for yourself.

Sign up today by entering your name and email below!

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21 Days of Purpose

Commit to 21 Days of Purpose Now!

Over the next 21 days, get inspired and start to live a life filled with purpose and compassion, an essential ingredient to uncovering happiness.

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You can try this experiment on your own, or it can be fun to do with friends. Let others know what you’re up to and see the ripple effects of a group doing 21 Days of Purpose together. Share it:

We are asking people to reflect on their experiences here to let us know how it’s going. Feel free to post about the purpose your engaging, or write about it on your own blog. Comments here are welcome from anyone.


  1. Sam Gentile
    April 25, 2015 at 9:36 am

    Well the Starbucks helped in getting me going since the earlier post today. Then I did a 32 minute Joseph Goldstein sitting meditation. My question to you Elisha is why can’t I meditate? I’ve had this practice for 14 months now plus now the Uncovering Happiness book and anytime I meditate or attempt to be mindful, nothing ever happens. No calm, no awareness, nothing. I do get a lot of future thoughts and can’t stay present. Is it my OCD and the flood of thoughts? Any suggestions?

    • Elisha Goldstein
      April 27, 2015 at 8:44 am

      I am glad you were able to practice with Joesph Goldstein’s sitting meditation, it’s good to appreciate the positive things we are doing. I find at times when I’m struggling with stilling my mind and being present that practices like a Body Scan or an Awareness of Thoughts Meditation can help ground me. It can also help when we focus on the act of meditating and holding ourselves in lovingkindness vs. a resulting goal.

      Wishing you peace.



    • Elisha Goldstein
      April 27, 2015 at 9:44 am

      Hi Sam,

      For OCD, you may want to check out jeffrey schwartz’s 4 step method – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uixONPLVKEg

  2. Sam Gentile
    April 25, 2015 at 7:14 am

    2nd day and I am socked in by depression. I usually stay in bed all day on Saturday and Sunday. I had to get up at 8:30 and go get some blood work but I am so socked in by depression feelings that my behavior today has to just be getting out and doing my practices and then be there for my family. That was one of my intentions

  3. Elisha Goldstein
    April 24, 2015 at 12:17 pm

    Re-posting a comment from Jenny:

    Dear Elisha,

    I have just finished reading your newest book, Uncovering Happiness, and am so grateful for the help it offers people like me. I have existed on the edge of depression/unhappiness for so many years. I have recently found the courage to ask my husband of 21 years for a divorce. I have pretended for so many years that his various infidelities were okay with me–for the sake of keeping our family together (five beautiful children, including one with Special Needs). I am trying to face my life and figure out what my place in the world is. For so many years my purpose was all about keeping my family together–now what? I am scared and overwhelmed but feel a tiny bit of hope that happiness may be somewhat possible. At this point, I still feel my purpose involves mothering (particularly my youngest who has Down Syndrome and autism). I have trouble thinking of a wider purpose. Anyway, just wanted to thank you for sharing your wisdom and your research with the world.

    • Elisha Goldstein
      April 24, 2015 at 12:52 pm

      Welcome Jenny, it sounds like you’ve had some big changes in your life recently and are reconnecting with yourself and your purpose. Sending you wishes of peace through this challenging time.

  4. Sam Gentile
    April 24, 2015 at 9:21 am

    I started today and I already feel like I’m doing it wrong. What is meant by Prosocial Behavior other than obvious things like compassion. I had a tiny one today. For prosocial behavior I triggered My Top 5 Values and picked “Strong Family” from there as my Prosocial Behavior. Forr the 2n question, I have to explain. I have OCD as well as depression. One of the strange things I do is in the AM sick all these silly “no work” songs to my wife and it drives her nuts. So my Action today was to suppress singing them. For the 3rd question, I said it was in service of my wife and strong family.

    It seems so tiny and not like the Compassion example in the book but it does make a big difference in family dynamics. Elisha what do you think and could you give more examples of Prosocial Behavior? Is Mindfulness one?

    • Elisha Goldstein
      April 24, 2015 at 12:45 pm

      Hi Sam,

      Welcome to the 21 Days of Purpose. Prosocial behaviors are voluntary behaviors intended to benefit others and can involve helping, sharing, donating, comforting and volunteering. I think given your explanation refraining from singing was beneficial to your wife, especially since it was a conscious behavior choice on your part. Sometimes a small action can be beneficial to others. When being mindful we are tuned in and can find many opportunities to be compassionate and help others.

  5. Yvette
    April 20, 2015 at 5:30 am

    I have been working on being “happier” and trying to smile more and being more patient with others. However, I am not sure if I am making a difference. How will I know if what I am doing is really affecting others in a positive manner?
    I have taken some time for myself this past weekend to unwind and give myself some self compassion. I am hoping this self-love will help transcend my intentions to others around me.
    Still having trouble with the whole “self-love” thing. I imagine, like anything else, it takes time and practice.

    • Elisha Goldstein
      April 20, 2015 at 9:44 am

      Patience for others and smiling is impacting you in a positive manner, therefore that positive is shared with those around you.
      Agreed on self-love and compassion, it is a practice and takes time to cultivate. Sounds like you got some good practice in this weekend.

  6. Yvette
    April 15, 2015 at 5:40 am

    I am having a really hard time sticking to my goals. I am in graduate school and just found out a lot of bad news concerning my internships and thesis. I feel like there is nothing going right. Due to this feeling, I have been finding it difficult to rise above this disappointment. How do I turn these events into something positive to push through this hard chapter in my life??
    Any advice or kind words would be appreciated.

    • Elisha Goldstein
      April 15, 2015 at 11:32 am

      Dear Yvette,

      It sounds like you’ve been through some disappointments lately, in those moments it can be helpful to dial into self compassion.
      I always say if there’s anything we’re assured of in life besides death and taxes, it’s stress and pain. While that may seem like a doomsday statement, if you look at it again, it’s actually quite freeing. If you know stress and pain are inevitable, then you can learn how to be grateful for the good when it’s here and be graceful when the stress and pain arrives.

      What it really comes down to is there are moments in life that are hard. What would it be like to acknowledge that and turn a caring attention toward ourselves in an effort to approach the wounded part of ourselves rather than avoiding?

      “While this is a temporary feeling, it is here right now, how can I care for it, what do I need?”
      “It is what it is, while it is. Nothing lasts forever. Difficulties will pass and so will the wonders; tune in to the preciousness of life.”

      You can learn to turn your difficult emotions into your greatest teachers and sources of strength. I wish you peace as you work through this challenging time.



  7. RITA
    April 12, 2015 at 7:48 pm

    I have been going thru old papers and took them to the shredder. It feels good to get rid of stuff I no longer need. These old papers remind me of the old beliefs/thoughts/attitudes that I also need to discard. I also have discovered that this does not happen overnight, so be patient with myself. I am ready to clear it all out, but it has taken years to accumulate, so a little each day will eventually add up to a nice clear, clean, house, and conscious.

    • Elisha Goldstein
      April 14, 2015 at 10:18 am

      That’s good awareness, to recognize that it does take time to divest ourselves of things that no longer serve us – both physically and mentally.

  8. RITA
    April 12, 2015 at 7:40 pm

    Thank you for the concrete steps to take when making changes. I invited my daughter to join me in the 5K Run/Walk which takes place on Mother’s Day and is for Women’s Health. She said, YES! and I am so looking forward to this experience. It is a great way to celebrate Mother’s Day as it is time spent together doing something positive and compassionate for women! It is also a common activity that is helping me create and build a healthy new relationship with my adult daughter.

    • Elisha Goldstein
      April 14, 2015 at 10:15 am

      What a great way to celebrate Mother’s Day together!

  9. Sue
    April 7, 2015 at 5:30 pm

    I just started this challenge and am quite excited. As a Ph.D student I sometimes find it difficult to smile with all the stress and worries accompanied with the program. Today I have decided to smile more often and hope my smile will influence someone else to smile to brighten up someone else’s day! I would also like to find an organization that helps the homeless in the area. I am going to research this cause and hopefully get involved.
    Thank you for the motivation :).

    • Elisha Goldstein
      April 9, 2015 at 8:46 am

      Welcome Sue, thank you for sharing your smile.

  10. RITA
    April 4, 2015 at 11:23 am

    I applied for a teaching position on Friday. This is a new career path that I am exploring. It feels exciting as it would be a huge change in my work environment. However, at the same time, fear arises within me and the feeling of “not sure”. I am paying attention to this feeling, but telling myself and remembering all that I have heard from others, that change is scary, even good change. Also yesterday I was told about an opportunity to participate in a 5K walk/run, which I also have never done. I want to do “new” things. I tell myself that I don’t have to be good at them in the beginning, it is just necessary to try new things, especially new things that are good for me and will open me up to other people.

    • Elisha Goldstein
      April 6, 2015 at 9:19 am

      Good for you being open to new opportunities and experiences! When faced with fear, pausing to notice the feelings and remind ourselves of the positive things that we’re working toward is a great step in mindfulness and purpose.

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