Published By: Jayati

From Ikigai to Wabi-Sabi: 10 Japanese life hacks for a happier you!

Uncover the keys to a long and happy life with these awesome life hacks from Japan!

Japan isn't just famous for its cultural heritage and technology – it's a place where unique approaches to life help create balance, productivity, and mindfulness. These methods, beyond simple self-help tips, embody profound philosophies that have shown countless people worldwide a path to a more harmonious and positive life. Today, let's explore 10 Japanese hacks that you can apply to bring more happiness into your life!


Think of "Ikigai" as your life's compass—the reason for being that unveils your passions, values, and talents, aligning them with what the world craves. For the Japanese, it's not just a concept; it's a journey to unearth their purpose. They credit Ikigai for their long and joyous lives, making a daily commitment to activities that add value, harmonising with their passions and the world's needs. So, Ikigai is not just a word but a vibrant map leading to a life rich with meaning and fulfilment.


The concept closely aligns with having a high threshold for tolerance and patience, as "Gaman" translates to enduring toughness and the unbearable with patience and dignity. It encourages maintaining composure during stressful moments and standing firm, even in the face of adversity.


"Kaizen" unfolds as the art of continuous improvement, where every small step propels you towards a better version of yourself. It's a lifestyle upgrade that spans both the professional and personal arenas. Envision a company crafting Kaizen magic, infusing daily improvements to enhance efficiency and quality. Now, shift the focus to your personal journey – Embrace Kaizen for your health, where slight adjustments to your diet and a gradual increase in physical activity form the foundation of a better you. Kaizen recognises that greatness is found in the small steps we can take every day.

Shikita Ga Nai 

The essence of this concept is encapsulated in the phrase "It cannot be helped." While we've all heard similar advice like 'C'est La Vie' in French or 'Que Sera Sera', the people of Japan genuinely strive to embody this philosophy in their lives. It signifies the art of letting go of things beyond our control.


This ancient Japanese philosophy essentially entails accepting life's imperfections and maximising their potential. The core idea is to alleviate the burden of pursuing perfection, urging individuals to embrace themselves and life as it is, rather than constantly yearning for more. This concept seamlessly applies to our daily lives by cultivating an ability to find beauty in flawed or imperfect aspects. It's like cherishing an old, worn piece of cloth for the rich history and character it holds, possibly carrying memories of your mother. Similarly, it means valuing a failed experiment as a unique opportunity for learning and growth.


Shintoism is Japan's native religion, which believes that every element in nature possesses a spirit or soul. It encourages people to live in harmony with nature and to respect the spirits within it. Embracing Shintoism's principles can deepen our appreciation for the world and bring about inner peace.


"Ma" is like the pause between musical notes, emphasising the importance of empty space in art and design. In our lives, it guides us to appreciate the tranquility of stillness and silence, urging us to find harmony in the spaces between moments.


Kakeibo is a Japanese budgeting method designed to effectively manage personal finances. It entails the proactive practice of recording both income and expenses to gain a clearer understanding of one's spending habits. This method proves particularly beneficial for those aiming to save more or take control of their financial situation.

Shu Ha Ri 

Shu Ha Ri outlines the stages of learning for a student. In the initial stage, Shu, the student diligently repeats actions and forms, strictly following the teachings of one master. Moving to Ha, the student starts incorporating teachings from various masters into a cohesive practice. Finally, in Ri, the student no longer relies on a mentor, learning independently through personal practice and experience. In essence, Shu Ha Ri encapsulates the idea that 'when the student is ready, the teacher will appear. When the student is really ready, the teacher will disappear,' echoing the wisdom of Tao Te Ching.


"Mottainai" reflects the regret of wasting resources, emphasising the need to be mindful of what we use and to minimise waste. This principle is not limited to food and can be applied to various aspects of life, encouraging the conservation of energy and the reduction of waste in different areas. 

These Japanese practices are really something when you bring them into your life. They make things better and more beautiful with what you have. They help you get better at things by refining your skills and reminding you to tune into the nature and elements around you. Finding happiness becomes easier when you bring positive influences into your life, and these techniques are just the thing for that!