5 Secret Steps To Wake Up Every Morning with Ease (A Gift From Japan)
Is it hard for you to wake up in the mornings? Do you hit snooze too many times, and feel like you just want to stay in bed forever? You are not alone. Almost 80% of people struggle waking up. You can experiment with physical tools to help you like investing in a firm bed or a light therapy alarm clock. However, these tools are from outside of you, and may not be sustainable in the end. It is better to focus on internal tools that last. To wake up easily every morning, you can incorporate a Japanese concept of ikigai.
What Not To Do If You Want To Wake Up Easy
Before we get into ikigai, let’s discuss what not to do if you want to wake up every morning without issues.
First of all, do not ever hit a snooze button. When you hear an alarm clock but then go back to sleep, it creates neural pathways that tell the brain and the body that the alarm does not actually mean getting up. This leads to you waking up feeling more and groggier with each snooze. Your head will feel fuzzy, your brain foggy, and you will be in a worse mood. If you use an alarm clock to wake up follow through and make yourself get up when it goes off. This will train your body to feel alert when it rings.
Why Would I Not Hit Snooze?
So why would you not want to hit snooze? The answer is, you will want to wake up and start off with your day immediately when you are clear about your reason for waking up.
This is where ikigai comes in.
The philosophy of ikigai, in a nutshell, is your reason for living, a reason for waking up, the passionate mission that drives your life.
It is used by centenarians of Japan, people who live till at least 100, in the Blue Zones—rare places in the world with long longevity and high happiness ranking.
The Japanese use ikigai to live their life purpose on a day-to-day basis, to have meaningful older years (especially after retirement), and even waking up in the morning.
Ikigai literally translates to “a reason to wake up in the morning” or “a reason to live.”
A Natural Geographic journalist explains that ikigai helps people in Okinawa, Japan to live until their 100th year… and more. Sounds incredible, doesn’t it?
This concept can be applied and transformed into a daily ritual to wake up every morning refreshed and ready to take on the world. Japanese neuroscientist Ken Mogi explains how to do just that—and more—in his book Awakening Your Ikigai.
5 Steps to Ikigai—Reason To Wake Up Each Morning
Ikigai can be brought to life in a five-step easy morning ritual.
Step 1: Starting Small
Do not get into the habit of drowning yourself in world problems or your job’s tasks as soon as you wake up. Many people have a habit of going straight to their phone each morning and either scrolling through Facebook or reading the news. While there is nothing wrong with staying aware of world events and what’s happening in your friends’ lives, overwhelming your brain with that much new information and sometimes bad news is not healthy.
Instead, make a ritual of brewing a healing cup of tea, or making a nutritious breakfast.
Start your day with a meditation, writing three things you are grateful for, or short exercise or yoga routine.
Step 2: Accept Yourself
Discontent happens when you are too hard on yourself, when you feel like you are not doing enough, or doing too much, instead of just loving yourself and your life progress exactly where it is at.
You can choose a mantra that fills you with self-love, and either repeat it to yourself a few times, or draw it on the mirror, so you see yourself next to that inspiring phrase when you first look at yourself.
I love myself fully.
My life is moving forward perfectly.
I am a creator of my own destiny.
Step 3: Connect With Others and the Planet
Instead of relying on social media for connection every morning, it is instead recommended to get in touch with a friend or a loved one as soon as you can. They will fuel you with positivity and remind you of good things in this world.
You can make breakfast or tea plans with a friend right before work, or call someone you love for a short chat as soon as you wake up or on your way to work using a headset.
You can also snuggle your pets! They also have a lot of love to give.
Step 4: Find Joy in Little Things
The ikigai way is to slow down, not hurry, and notice the little things that are happening around you. If the weather is wonderful, appreciate it. If you have a piece of nature nearby, even if it is just one tree or a small flower garden, say ‘hello’ to them every morning.
If you have pets, give them a good snuggle each morning. If you live with others, ask about their upcoming day even if you are still too tired to socialize. It will wake you up and brighten your day.
When you are out and about for the day, notice strangers you come across. Smile and acknowledge people around you.
Step 5: Be Present
Finally, for all of the steps above and everything else you do every day, try and live in the moment. Do not worry about work deadlines until you are actually at work. When at work, forget the person who cut you off, that is in the past.
If at any moment, you feel like the present moment is slipping away from your mind—get your mind back into the present through simple exercises. Take a few deep breaths or chant a few ‘oms.’ List in your mind five things that you can see, hear, smell, feel, and even taste. Repeat the phrase used by famous gurus until you feel it in your heart:
Where am I? Here. What time is it? Now.
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