If we think of a disciplined, organized culture with a great sense of well-being, Japan comes to mind. Indeed, this nation is well known for promoting habits for a better life.
The millenary customs of the Japanese translate into a higher quality of life: according to the World Bank, Japan is one of the countries with the highest life expectancy in the world. It is also one of the nations with the lowest crime rates and the highest level of education. So, if you want to achieve greater well-being, we recommend 7 Japanese habits that you can apply to your daily life.
1. Be a grateful person
Gratitude is a deeply rooted value in Japanese culture. It is common to show respect and appreciation to people for any help or consideration received through expressions such as Arigatou or a nod of the head.
Gifts are also often given to people as a way of expressing appreciation. If you want to thank someone and do not know how you can think of an object that has a meaning for that person and surprise them.
2. Get rid of what you don’t need
Look around you and ask yourself: do you need everything you see? Many times, we tend to keep objects that remind us of moments and situations in our lives, or we think we are going to use them later. However, the Japanese have a belief that it is best to de-clutter your surroundings and leave only the essentials to attract peace of mind.
This advice can be applied to countless items: the desk where we work, old clothes, the refrigerator, or boring studies. It follows that if you are tired of studying uninteresting subjects but need to finish the course, ask for help from friends or, for example, a paper writing service, but do not overwork yourself with unpleasant work.
If you are interested in this topic, you can watch the television programs of Marie Kondo, a Japanese woman who revolutionized the world of order and decoration with her theories about minimalism.
3. Take off your shoes before entering the house
One of the habits we most associate with the Japanese is that of taking off their shoes before entering the house. This custom is not exclusive: it is also adopted by countries like Canada or the Nordic nations (if you are interested in the subject, you can see this curious map that shows which countries follow this tradition).
By taking off our shoes, we prevent a lot of dirt and bacteria from the street from entering our home. In fact, a 2008 study found an average of 421 thousand bacteria on the outside of the shoes analyzed.
4. Follow a Japanese diet
When it comes to eating habits, the Japanese win all the international awards: their diet is recognized as one of the most nutritious and balanced in the world. Traditional Japanese food is based on a wide variety of fresh foods that provide plenty of essential nutrients and just the right amount of carbohydrates.
Science backs up this perception in the West: a study published in the European Journal of Nutrition associates Japanese diets with lower rates of heart disease and obesity.
5. Take a hot bath before bedtime
The Japanese are known to take a bath before bed to release the stress of the day, relax muscles, and have a more restful sleep. While many people do this at home, public baths, known as sentō and onsen, which have hot springs with very beneficial properties for the skin, are also very common.
If you live in the West, finding such establishments is not an easy task. However, you can always take a relaxing bath with salts and foam before going to bed.
6. Take a forest bath
Is there a forest near the city where you live? Then you too can take a shinrin-yoku (forest bathing), an age-old habit that can be translated as “forest bathing.” Although the term can be misleading, it does not refer to taking a bath in the forest but rather to entering a forest environment and taking a walk in an attempt to sharpen the five senses.
In Japan, forest bathing is very popular: each year, some 5 million people attend forest therapy sessions at one of the 65 official centers. Health benefits include reducing stress and strengthening the immune system.
7. Do the right thing
The Japanese are known for strict adherence to traffic rules and road signs. They also value punctuality, have a strong work ethic, and have a strong sense of responsibility to the community in which they live. In other words, this is a very disciplined society.
Try to apply this habit in your life, especially with those rules that have been designed for the common good: not littering in the street, obeying traffic signs, respecting your turn in line, and being respectful of others.
Learn from the habits of the Japanese
Thanks to their age-old habits, the Japanese are admired by many other cultures around the world. This civilization’s discipline, respect, harmony, and humility translate into greater well-being and a better quality of life. Undoubtedly, applying some of these tips can bring us peace of mind amid our routines. We encourage you to try it too!