Some people embrace morning, rising with a freshness and excitement. Their energy baffles non-morning people. The Japanese word ikigai roughly translates, “reason for being.” According to the Japanese culture, when you discover your personal ikigai, you experience satisfaction and meaning that makes life worth living. Within the culture, ikigai is a reason to get out of bed every day and the force behind life enjoyment. It isn’t connected to daily irritations or material items, but to the concept that each part of life has value. When you need motivation, remind yourself of these four reasons, you don’t need to hate your life because life can be awesome.
Find Your Reason for Being
The term ikigai is made of two words. Iki means life, and kai translates into what one expects and hopes for. Four elements converge to make one’s reason for being:
- Your passion – what you love most
- Your mission – what you bring to the world
- Your skills and talents
- Your profession
Sometimes, life can feel overwhelming. When people feel that their lives lack purpose, the joy seeps out of them, as each task seems filled with futility. They worry and stress, often losing sleep over their problems. In contrast, when people feel they have a purpose, they are more likely to sleep well and wake up refreshed. That alone contributes to a brighter outlook entering the day ahead.
As individuals, we are always finding and fulfilling our ikigai. To find yours, identify what you love, what you’re good at, what you contribute to the world around you, and what business activities bring in money. Examine where you would like to improve in each area and make a plan to achieve your goals. Finding your ikigai gives you a reason to get up and embrace a life that’s awesome.
Happiness doesn’t always occur all by itself, especially not first thing in the morning. Embrace mornings by choosing joy before you even throw back the covers. The second the alarm goes off, make your first thought be to set your default attitude. Here are a few ideas for choosing joy.
- Count your blessings first. Take just a few seconds every morning to feel the breath going in and out of your lungs and the slow beat of your pulse. You are alive.
- Choose calm. Mornings can be a mad dash full of stress, ruffled tempers, and hastily gobbled breakfast – or they can be an island of tranquility. Even if your time is limited, decide to approach your day at a reasonable pace. When things go wrong, let them slide off.
- Connect with live people. Instead of texting your friend, meet him or her for coffee. Put away devices when you’re with your family and focus all your attention on those you love.
- Make your choices simple. We face a dizzying variety of choices in apparel, menu items, and nearly everything we buy. Pare your closet down to several go-to choices. Shop at a smaller supermarket. Plan a rotating list of meals that eliminates planning and simplifies buying.
Improve Your Health
Individuals get stuck in unhealthy behavior patterns that lead to weight gain and long-term health problems. When they think of their level of physical fitness, they feel trapped. Some people even feel like it’s physically difficult to get out of bed. Their diet and extra body weight make them feel sluggish, feel less attractive in their clothes, and unable to get motivated to change.
Sometimes, starting with health improvements can change your entire perspective. See each day as an opportunity to become your best self. Set achievable goals that involve both exercise and internal improvement through healthy eating. Pack several healthy snacks over the weekend that you look forward to enjoying between meals. Start the day with exercise for a spike in endorphins and serotonin that make you feel invigorated.
Make the World Better
Each morning gives you a fresh opportunity to touch the lives of those around you. Though we feel more connected than ever, many of our connections are electronic. We have less physical touch, less personal interaction.
There are people in your sphere of influence who are hurting, stressed, overwhelmed, and alone. You carry within you the power of encouragement. When you choose to express kindness, you uplift the spirit and refresh the soul.
For your family, you don’t just provide income and put food on the table. Your love is what enables your spouse to face challenges with strength and gives your children feelings of security. When you get out of bed, you play a powerful role in making the world a brighter place.