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7 Japanese Practices For Grief To Live Better

I read a few Japanese practices that apply to everyday living and I applied it specifically for grieving. Take all of these with a grain of salt as this is written just to hopefully ignite some inspiration for someone who may need it whether its you or for someone you know. I already apply a lot of these to my own life and often forget to live my life with these intentions.

1.“Ikigai” - Life’s Purpose

After loss (or just life difficulties) it can often feel like you’ve lost purpose in life. Trust that you will find it (again). They say Grief is love with no where to go but I don’t entirely agree. I think the love interwined with Grief means you can continue to instill love in the person you lost but also repurpose that love to the world. Identifying your “Ikigai” is generally based on understanding simply what do you love? What are you good at? What do you believe the world needs? And, do what you can be paid for.

2. “Kaizen” - Continal improvement

Make small improvements. Not even day by day, but moment to moment when it comes to grieving. It won’t be linear. You’ll have continuous ups and downs but long term improvement moves that way. Slowly trending upward when you zoom out. Don’t try to be perfect as that won’t happen. There is purpose in imperfection. To me this shrinks the opposing figure that is Grief and breaks it down into smaller intentions that with time will be huge. Give yourself Grace.

3. “Ganbaru” - Doing One’s Best

This ties in with “Kaizen” to me. Patience and doing your best. Be patient with your grief and tribulations. Only you know if you’re doing your best and sometimes doing your best may feel like $hit. Be patient. Give yourelf grace and stay determined to put in the effort when things are tough to work through it. And, somedays you don’t want to put in any effort. That’s okay, too.

4. “Hara Hachi Bu” - 80% Full

No wonder people always bring food to grievers in the early stages! The overarching message is to eat til you are 80% full. What we put in our bodies is something we all know. It is a foundation in living a healthy energetic life and also with grief. It also develops good habits and discipline that will transcend into other aspects of our life though it’s incredibly hard to eat in grief or during our tribulations in life. Good food habits are pivotal for a healthy body and mind and when you have a healthy body and mind it only helps us in Grief. In this method it speaks on the practice of eating slowly and all things in moderation.

5. “Shoshin” - A Beginner’s Mind

This one hits hard to me. After loss it feels like you have a new identity and an entirely new life like you have to start over or become a beginner again. From what I read it’s having a beginners mindset being open to new ideas and new possibilities rather than thinking you know everything. Be open to new possibilities despite the pain. Have an open mind to your own process which may not even feel like a process. Try different things and see what works for you and what doesn’t.

6. “Wabi-Sabi” - Beauty in Imperfection

There is beauty in imperfection. Life is imperfection. “Appreciate the fleeting nature of life” as I read. Loss is the epitome of ‘fleeting’. Realizing the fragility makes us realize the importance of bein present with the people we still have and this life we still have to live. Grief is imperfect and your grief is your grief. Embrace the imperfection of Grief and even ourselves.

7. “Shinrin - yoku” - Forest Bathing

This is a practice of relaxation of spending time in a forest or just nature. To me simply being in nature and engulfing myself with all my senses is energetic rejuvination. It forces me to be present and in that presense I often come out with a a new feeling. Nature is a great place to reset amongst your grief or whatever you’re going through. Whether it’s a walk, a meditation in grief or just walking barefoot in the grass. Return back to whats natural.

All of which I wrote may not feel right for everyone in Grief or wherever you are in life. These are just suggestions that I thought all have healthy habits involved that can easily apply to the grief process. Grieving is such an individual experience that it isn't 'one size fits all' as much as it is 'you have to try on a few different pairs of shoes' before finding the one that fits.

I hope this helps in some way and see below some other grief podcasts from DEAD Talks that I love that may help as well.

Subscribe on APPLE PODCAST or SPOTIFY PODCASTS to receive notifications of all new DEAD Talk episodes.


All Things Grief from episode 150 with Nora McInerny:

or watch on Spotify HERE or Apple Podcast HERE.

Speaking with a Grief Expert with David Kessler:

or watch on Spotify HERE or Apple Podcast HERE.


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