4 unconventional ways to be happier

1. Become comfortable with mystery. 

Is there a God? What happens after I die? What is consciousness? Nobody really knows the answers to these questions. Learning to embrace these mysteries for what they are—mysteries—may open up new doors for you. 

Even smaller questions you don’t really know the answer to. Will I be successful? Will I find love? Will my favorite sports team make the playoffs? Maybe. Maybe not. Learn to embrace this rich and textured state of not-knowing. 

2. Embrace the darkness. 

We spend so much time chasing things that make us feel good—that next fun weekend with friends, that next trip to some exotic place, or that next tasty meal—that we forget that part of living a life of vitality requires learning to accept both the light and dark sides of life. 

3. Learn to be alone.   

Many of the great mystics throughout the ages spent significant stretches of time alone. The Buddha, for example, had his great awakening experience after many nights alone in the forest. 

Community, family, and friends are our most important resources. But learning to be alone may be one of the most important skills you ever learn. 

If you’re stuck, experiences like a meditation retreat, or even just a long walk may help you come back to the center. 

4. Focus on experiences, not accomplishments. 

Whenever you pursue a goal, you’re not actually pursuing the goal itself. You’re pursuing the experience of reaching that goal. You want to experience the fanfare, the pats on the back, the smiling faces, and the confetti all around you as you cross that finish line. 

But sometimes we get so caught up in the pursuit of that finish line, that we forget about the serenity of the race. 

Instead of asking yourself, what do I want to accomplish next? Ask yourself, what experiences can I have that will add richness, vitality, and wisdom to my life?