If you woke up thinking, ‘How am I going to make it through today?,’ then take a deep breath – believe it or not, there is a way for you to wake up happy every day.
Have you heard of Ikigai?
It’s a popular Japanese philosophy that, in English, translates to ‘reason for being’, and it’s being used as a tool to help people find what makes them truly happy, and find perfect balance in their lives. And we’re not talking about ‘I just won the lotto’ kind of happiness, we’re talking about the kind of happiness that means you wake up smiling and feel excited about the day ahead, knowing that you’ve found your purpose in life.
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The ancient philosophy takes into consideration your life’s wants and needs; what you love, what you are good at, what you can earn money from, and what the world needs – and the sweet spot where they all intersect is Ikigai, and where you’ll find perfect balance. This handy visual might make it a little easier to understand…
So how exactly do you find this Ikigai?
You ask yourself four questions:
1. What do I love? This will identify your passion.
2. What am I good at? This will identify your vocation.
3. What can I be paid for? This will identify your profession.
4. What does the world need? This will identify your mission.
You’ll need to dedicate a couple of hours to this exercise. If you’re stuck on a question, move onto the next one and come back to it later – often, it’s the questions we battle with the most that identify the areas that are in need of the most attention. After jotting down every idea – and we do mean every idea (you should keep going until you are completely out of ideas), take some time to reflect and identify where these four areas merge. Congratulations – you’ve found your Ikigai and you’re on track to wake up happy every day!
But if this all feels too much like hard work, don’t worry, here’s a speedy cheat sheet of simple changes that will help you wake up happy every day.
- Open the curtains
Let the sunlight in as soon as you wake up. Research has shown that exposing yourself to natural light first thing can actually help you sleep better at night, and it will instantly boost your mood and energy levels. Try having your morning coffee outside.
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- Don’t hit snooze
As tempting as ‘just another 10 minutes’ is, falling asleep again and starting a new sleep cycle just to be jerked awake shortly afterwards will only make you groggy in the long run. If you can’t face getting up right away, stay in bed (sit up so you’re not tempted to close your eyes again) and do a 5 minute meditation (you could even call it a ‘beditation’)!
- Be inspired
Start your day off on a positive note by listening to something that inspires you during your commute to work. It doesn’t matter if it’s a podcast or your favourite playlist, it just needs to be something that boosts your mood.
- Go to sleep happy
Research has shown that gratitude is closely linked to happiness so it makes sense that in order to wake up happy, you should try to go to sleep happy. The trick to a restful night’s sleep and turning in on a positive note is jotting down – or just making a mental list – of three things from the day that you’re grateful for.