Looking for ways to find everyday purpose? Trying to stay engaged and present at work (and at home)? You don’t need to “Eat, Pray, Love” yourself around the world, or even manage a downward dog. Some of the most powerful ideas tend to be the simplest. Take, for example, the ancient Japanese philosophy of Ikigai. Ikigai is a word describing the pleasures and meanings of life. “When Ikigai is practiced and present in life, it can dissipate stress, ease anxiety, and help you find the purpose to wake up to joy every day”, according to Ken Mogul, author or Awakening Your Ikigai.

Here’s how to incorporate Ikigai philosophy into your daily routine:

1-Be an early riser. Getting up early is part of Japanese tradition. Adjusting your schedule to meet the rhythms of the sun is believed to help you feel more alert and energetic. Pay attention to the details of your day and look forward to enjoying a favorite beverage or small snack.

2-Look forward to your commute. What, what??!??  Yes, actually enjoy your commute time by choosing a favorite audio book or podcast to listen to. Purposeful activity produces something worthwhile so part of your enjoyment of the activity is the satisfaction of having done something. Even something as simple as enjoying your favorite music or learning a new language can turn your commute into an activity that brings joy and the satisfaction of accomplishment.

3-Shake up your routine. Change things up during the day, if only for a minute. If you’ve been in the office all day, take your lunch break outside. If you’ve been alone, talk to someone. If you’ve been in team meetings, be alone. This eases restlessness and re-energizes you.

4-Take a mid-afternoon mind break. By mid-afternoon, when we tend to get a little bleary-eyed, Ikigai practice calls for taking a break and doing nothing (harder than it sounds!). Take a break and empty your mind for 10 minutes. According to tradition, releasing all thoughts helps sort out your memories and balance your emotions. It helps you focus on being present and more mindful.

Try incorporating these simple and powerful ideas into your daily routine. Experiment with rising with the sun, thinking differently about your commute, switching up your routine, and taking a mid-afternoon brain break, to see if Ikigai philosophy brings more peace, meaning, and purpose to your day.

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