Discover Japanese “Mindful Living” to Find Joy in Life!

Do you find yourself busy and can’t find time to relax? When we are too busy and tired, it’s hard to do little things that can make the quality of your life better, like cleaning your room or making a home cooked meal. It is easy to fall into the pattern of eating fast food everyday or scrolling your phone on Social Media.

People in Japan are the same. Many people are overworking and tired. That is why Mindful Living has been in trend for the past few years. We call it  “ていねいな暮らし (Teinei na Kurashi).”

Everyone who is too busy to profit from life can learn the Japanese way of enjoying simple moments in life by trying out “Mindful Living.”

What is Japanese “Mindful Living”?

When we think about mindful life, we imagine Buddhist monks meditating and living a simplistic life in a monastery. We admire their commitment to their teaching, but feel impossible to apply to our own lives. We need to work, socialize and live in a modern fast-paced society.

“Teinei na Kurashi” is a contemporary, non-religious type of mindful living, becoming popular in the past few years in Japan. “Kurashi” means life or living. “Teinei” means being mindful and doing things with care. Imagine that you need to entertain an important person. When you have to serve this person a cup of tea, you will take each step with such care, so that you can serve the best cup of tea that you could possibly make. Being “teinei” is something like that. Instead of serving another person, you will give the same caring attention to yourself and your life.

When you live “Teinei na Kurashi,” it feels like you are staying in a five-star hotel or expensive spa. Food and services are provided with so much care, you would feel so special. Instead of waiting for someone else to give you the five-star treatment, you will give yourself the same special treatment in everyday life.

When we are working long hours and feeling tired, we don’t make a special time for ourselves. We feel like we don’t have enough time to do something special. But if we try to make small moments in life special, you can enjoy your life more.

We all need some moments to be more mindful.

What do Japanese people do to live more mindfully?

Many people find it hard to be mindful and live “Teinei na Kurashi” because we feel like we don’t have time or energy to do anything. When you come home from a long day of work, it’s hard to cook a meal from scratch. We feel like it’s too much work, so rather pick up fast food on the way home and eat it in front of the TV.

But if we decide to make time and make a meal from scratch with care. Your body and mind will appreciate it a lot. You can make pasta from dough or use homemade miso to make tasty miso soup.

If cooking is not your cup of tea, you can serve yourself an expensive cup of coffee or tea. You can also try gardening if you have a green thumb.

Mindful living looks different depending on people. 

Here are some of the examples of mindful living that Japanese people do.


Cooking is essential to our lives. We all need to nourish ourselves with food, but cooking can be time-consuming. We have so many appliances that make cooking easier, such as rice cookers or microwaves. But to live mindfully, Japanese people cook rice using a traditional earthen pot. Unlike using a rice cooker, we need to observe how the rice is cooking and adjust the fire. The cooked rice tastes better when it is cooked with care.

Most people nowadays buy miso or other condiments at supermarkets. In mindful living, people take time to make miso or umeboshi (salted plum) at home, like in old times. After preparing the ingredients, we need to wait for miso or plum to be ready to eat for several months. Because we can’t consume it immediately, we can learn patience.

If you tend to skip breakfast, you can wake up and cook a good and healthy breakfast. Your body and mind will be well-nourished before tackling the day of work. Cooking is something we have to do, but if we become more mindful, it can be a daily source of pleasure.

Take a mindful break

Some people don’t like cooking. In that case, you can be more mindful during the break. In mindful living, some Japanese people buy expensive coffee beans or tea leaves to make it really special. You can grain beans by hand, enjoying the relaxing aroma of coffee beans. You can learn to serve coffee or tea like a professional, giving the same care that you might give to someone very important.

Wear something that you love

If you like fashion, wearing clothes that you love can give you so much joy. To live more mindfully, pick clothes that are expensive but that you want to keep wearing 10 years later. Instead of buying cheap stuff that you will probably throw away within a year, take time to find your favorite objects. If it’s expensive, save money to buy them.

Make a day without any plans

If you have a tendency to be busy even on weekends, it might be a good idea to slow down. Take a day without any plan. You don’t need to do anything in particular. Give your mind time to rest and rewind.

If you are addicted to scrolling on your phone, take a book instead of a smartphone. Your mind will be filled with inspiring ideas.

Instead of binge watching TV, you can go outside and work on your garden. You will feel refreshed after spending more time outdoors.

Think about the earth

Nothing is more mindful than thinking about the future of our earth. Like we serve ourselves with great care, we can also give the same caring attention to the earth. Treat the earth as if we are serving someone really important. It deserves our care and love.

Mindful living is a luxury that we can all afford

Some Japanese people criticize “Teinei na Kurashi”  by saying only people with money and time can achieve it. When we need to work long hours, we definitely don’t have time to make miso from scratch.

Despite the criticisms, mindful living has many followers because of its non-perfectionistic view. The goal is not to do everything in the old fashioned way and make everything from scratch. The goal of mindful living is to find what makes you feel good in daily activities. Treat yourself as someone important, someone who deserves your attention.

I would say that mindful living is indeed a luxury in our fast-paced and overworking society. It is also a luxury that everyone can afford. By making yourself a priority even for a few hours a day, you can live more mindfully and enjoy small moments of your life.