In Japan, living a healthy and happy life is a habit, not a destination. The Japanese have been transforming commonplace activities into significant self-care and self-cultivation practices for ages.
Cooking, bathing, walking, drinking tea, or arranging flowers are all examples of ordinary activities that can be turned into a sort of meditation that brings health and happiness into your life. What’s the secret? Increasing the visibility of whatever you accomplish. Here’s how to do it.
It may appear that paying attention to the present moment is uncomplicated. However, life is speeding up, and so is our way of existence.
We stutter from one activity to the next on autopilot, oblivious to the tiny pleasures of life because we are engrossed in our cellphones and to-do lists. We’ve become increasingly cut off from ourselves and the natural environment, which is affecting our health and happiness.
Mindfulness has long been recognized in Japan as the cure to autopilot and the key to a happy and healthy existence.
We tend to associate awareness with the Japanese term “zazen” – sitting cross-legged on a cushion and meditating.
Mindfulness, on the other hand, maybe anything to the Japanese, from eating a meal to taking a bath. For generations, everyday self-care and self-awareness activities have been ingrained in Japanese culture.
Table of Contents
Here is a collection of 15 wonderful Japanese customs that will inspire you to deepen your immersion in the present moment, improving your health and happiness.
Ikebana is a Japanese flower arrangement tradition. Ikebana is a centuries-old art form that dates back to ancient Buddhist flower offerings.
It’s founded on the notion that collaborating with nature to produce something beautiful can be both meditative and therapeutic.
Ikebana is about carefully and thoughtfully arranging flowers, stems, twigs, leaves, moss, and grasses into a composition that showcases their beauty, rather than just dumping some flowers in a vase.
Pieces are usually constructed in silence so that you may concentrate entirely on the natural harmony.
2. Starting small
This pillar’s concept is to start small and carefully execute each step — and it relates to everything you do in life.
For example, artisanal farmers invest all of their time and effort in producing the greatest and tastiest produce possible.
They’ve got the soil down pat. They take great care in pruning and watering their crops. Their determination to start modest propels them to extraordinary heights.
Shinrin-yoku, or “forest bathing,” is a Japanese technique for finding serenity and recuperation. Taking a forest bath is spending many hours in a forest, taking in its views, smells, and sounds.
The simple act of being in a forest and absorbing its atmosphere has a calming impact on the body and mind.
Reduced stress, enhanced sleep, increased attention and creativity, rapid recovery from sickness, a strengthened immune system, and a higher sense of general happiness are some of the science-backed mental and physical health benefits of this popular wellness ceremony.
Chado, or ceremonial tea drinking in Japan, is a lovely tradition rooted in Zen Buddhism. Tea ceremonies are still a big part of Japanese culture, and they entail a lot more than just boiling water.
It’s a meticulously orchestrated ritual in which a bowl of finely powdered green tea, known as matcha, is prepared and shared with traditional Japanese treats to balance the bitterness of the tea.
The tea master and his or her guests temporarily disappear from the ordinary world to savor a moment of beauty and serenity while fully immersed in the ceremony.
5. Releasing yourself
You may let go of your obsessions and see things that matter to you in a more clear and positive light when you release yourself.
Self-acceptance is essential to this pillar, but it’s also one of the most difficult challenges we’ll ever confront.
However, overcoming this difficulty and being content with who you are may be a tremendously gratifying experience.
Kintsugi, which translates to “golden joinery,” is a Japanese technique for reassembling broken pottery using gold seams.
Using a mixture of powdered gold and lacquer, shattered cups, mugs, bowls, and plates are mended into gorgeously revived masterpieces.
Kintsugi is based on the notion that breakage and defects are a natural part of life, and that what is damaged may be mended into something truly beautiful if given the time, care, and attention it deserves.
Fixing shattered objects—and celebrating their individuality—is said to aid in the healing of self-inflicted wounds.
7. Harmony and sustainability
You won’t be able to reach your objectives if you’re continuously at odds with others around you.
Developing — and maintaining — a strong sense of community will give you a strong support system to help you get through life’s most difficult periods.
Shodo, or “writing style,” is a traditional Japanese calligraphy style. Although it is an ancient art form, it is still frequently practiced in Japan and is seen as a vital approach to cultivate a contemplative state of mind.
The smooth brush strokes and meticulous ink preparation necessitate complete focus and tranquillity, thoroughly grounding the shodo practitioner in the present moment.
9. The joy of small things
Finding joy in the little things in life, such as the morning air, a cup of coffee, or a beam of sunshine, should be part of what inspires you to get out of bed each day.
10. SHOJIN RYORI
Shojin ryori, or “food of devotion,” is a vegetarian cuisine custom that Buddhist monks have followed since the beginning of time.
Shojin cooking is all about harmony and simplicity. A shojin cook employs seasonal ingredients and ensures that nothing goes to waste—every last bit of an item is included in the dish in some way.
The act of preparing and eating shojin ryori is an exercise in appreciation and awareness for the monks at the temples.
Non-monks can quickly adapt shojin ryori’s basic recipes and well-defined methods to introduce this wonderful cooking heritage into their own kitchen at home.
11. Being in the here and now
This is possibly the most important pillar. It’s critical to focus on the present and practice mindfulness every day if you want to be in the here and now.
Many sumo wrestlers would attest to the importance of being present in the moment when training for and competing in a match.
They claim that staying in the present helps them maintain their mental condition for peak performance.
You don’t want to cook? That’s fine; there’s also a lovely Japanese culture of dining out.
Omakase, which translates to “I’ll leave it up to you,” is an eating practice where the chef chooses all of the meals and diners eat whatever is presented to them.
Omakase dining, popular at sushi bars, is based on trust, respect, and appreciation.
Perhaps no daily ritual is more sacrosanct in Japan than relaxing in a hot bath after a long day. Japanese people bathe every day, whether in their bathrooms, public bathhouses, or communal hot springs.
They don’t just jump in—the Japanese Ofuro custom is meticulously created to cleanse, heal, and relax.
Settling into a cradle of soothing warm water and simply absorbing the sensations of the bath—the water, steam, heat, and fragrances—delivers a tremendous sense of well-being to both the body and mind.
The way that Japanese apply to live happier is by dedicating their energies to what’s essential.
Ikigai is not just a word but a whole concept; it means Value of Life.
In Japan, people are always doing something- gardening, going for walks, meeting with friends and family, but everything is done with absolute mindfulness and slowness to savor every moment of it.
Also Read:15 Jobs Where You Get Paid To Do Nothing