From FOMO to Forest Bathing: 7 Japanese Psychology Hacks to Find Joy

Struggling to cope with your environment and create a positive mental well-being? Then you are at the right place and this blog is for you.

From FOMO to Forest Bathing: 7 Japanese Psychology Hacks to Find Joy

In the past, the importance of mental health was not given enough attention, but now changes are happening in society towards its recognition and prioritization. At least one person in every household is willing to challenge the misconceptions and stigmas surrounding mental health. These individuals are akin to revolutionaries, as these people are helping future generations from the shackles of intergenerational trauma. There's always that one individual who carries all the burden, as they are the ones who experience their feelings most intensely. The Japanese have all these philosophies that help them find beauty in the act of living. As someone who watches anime, I’m deeply intrigued by the lifestyle and culture in Japan which is how I got introduced to the seven ways that are most commonly connected with finding happiness in life according to Japanese culture. 

Why mental health awareness is important?

A guy struggling with mental health issues sitting in his room

A positive attitude in life helps you become happier. But this is not easy and this attitude doesn't come naturally to some. At that point, this has to be cultivated within yourselves. Taking care of our mental health should be the first step as many ignore it which later leads to some serious issues down the road affecting your sanity. Just like physical health, our mental health needs to be prioritized too as it affects our entire lifestyle. Also, there is this myth in India that treating your mental health and tending to it is seen as a sign of weakness. This is why raising awareness and taking action to address mental health issues is important. The most effective way towards creating this awareness is to normalize having conversations about our mental well-being. There are a few measures that can be taken to improve our mental health and to support those who are dealing with mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. This blog discusses one of the several methods, which is understanding Japanese ways of dealing with life.


The 7 concepts mentioned here don't necessarily represent a single, structured practice in Japanese culture. But these concepts when connected with different aspects of mental health can help you relieve your stress and improve your mental well-being

The concept of Gaman to cope with anxiety : 

Coping with anxiety can be debilitating and is something 1 out of 5 people in our society struggle with. What if I tell you there is an amazing concept in Japanese culture called Gaman, which means "to patiently persevere in tough times"? Anxiety can be very tiring as it affects your physical health too. The only way to deal with is to understand what triggers this feeling inside you, understand it deeper, and find a solution that will heal you. Ignoring this will only provide you a temporary satisfaction which means you‘ll have to deal with this again.

In a society like ours, where children are taught expressing emotions is a sign of weakness this can be very difficult. But the fact that you are on this blog means that you are someone who wants to break yourself free from this stigma. It'll be very late if you start waiting for people to understand this concept. So instead practicing and incorporating Gaman in your life can be very relevant to healing and this way we learn to normalize and accept our choices to find peace rather than following some other conventional methods. But enduring hardships with patience is just one aspect of Gaman; it also involves discovering significance amid struggles. When you practice Gaman to manage anxiety, you're not avoiding your issues; rather, you're acquiring the skills to face them.

Ikigai as a Guide to Self-discovery:

"Find your Ikigai" written on a marble

Just like how Emily Dickinson wrote: “I am out with Lanterns looking for myself,” all of us at some point in our darkest times search for ourselves. Ikigai is a Japanese philosophy that means "reason for being." This idea emphasizes finding the purpose of life through introspection. It's about identifying where your values, skills, and purpose meet in creating a fulfilling and meaningful life.

You can use Ikigai as a map for self-exploration. Asking questions to yourself like, What values are important to me? What skills do I enjoy using? What problems can I help solve? These questions can guide you towards your Ikigai and know more about yourself. Small, daily actions like spending some time on your favorite hobby or something, aligned with your values can contribute to a larger sense of purpose. This very concept of Ikigai might not solve all your problems at once but by providing purpose, focus, and resilience, this philosophy can make you a skilled navigator like Nami, in “One Piece”. Just like how Nami found her way amidst the waves you can find joy even in rough seas too.

Healing Your Innerchild with Shinrin-yoku: 

Japanese people have these values and a deep connection with nature which is etched into them because of their culture. They are taught to spend so much time in nature that it lets them find solace in the woods. Appreciating the nature around you and immersing oneself in nature is a practice often referred to as Shinrin-yoku, which translates to "forest bathing." If your motive is to let go of your past wounds then this technique can be very beneficial as it allows you to self-reflect on your life after taking an introspective look into it. Going outside, breathing the fresh air, and looking at the greenery around you can do magic in creating a positive mental well-being and healing the past traumas you had as a child. 

Wabi-Sabi to acceptance: 

With acceptance comes power. Realizing changes are the only permanent thing and finding beauty in them lets us see life differently. Finding beauty in imperfection is a perfect way to see things from a different perspective. Our very existence itself is impermanent and that is what makes it beautiful. By fostering acceptance, letting go, and appreciating the beauty in imperfection we learn that all that has happened till now were all just experiences to better yourself and nothing more. We live in an imperfect big world where everything is fleeting. Remember that you are here in this flawed world for a very little time and your imperfections are part of what makes you unique and beautiful. Embrace your past, present, and future thus creating a positive mental well-being.

Omotenashi, fostering positive relationships:

A guy struggling with poor mental health being consoled by his friends

Does social media affect relationships?


Even though it helps us connect people from all around the world. It makes us take connections for granted. So making real-life connections is more important than virtual connections through digital platforms. Putting small efforts into relationships makes them stay longer. Solitude is something that certain people love and these people require that space to reflect on the things they are worried about. But then there are others who crave closeness and want someone to be their listener or understand their problems. Someone who doesn't judge and understands that everyone in their life deals with their issues. Also, anxious people sometimes can't even figure out what triggered these feelings in them so they might need someone to open up to. Omotenashi in Japanese is a concept that emphasizes being kind and building positive relationships and these relationships can impact you so much that they can make you feel safe and loved.

Stress Management with Shikata ga nai: 

Shikata ga nai in Japanese translates to something like "can’t be helped". Some things in our life can't be controlled and this very awareness helps manage stress by reducing resistance to uncontrollable situations. When we try to worry, the anxiety intensifies. So this awareness allows us to focus on what we can control and to let go of those we cannot control. Some things are the way they are, if they can't be helped then accept it.

Ganbatte and seek Help:

A girl enjoying the fresh breeze and sunset in a beach

Ganbatte in Japanese means “to hang in there”, though this means to do your best it doesn't imply you have to deal with your struggles alone. Seeking help when you need it the most shows your true strength. Sometimes, "doing your best" means acknowledging you need help and not giving in to your negative thoughts. This concept can be related to the concept of Omotenashi which focuses on creating positive relationships. Being there for each other in situations helps us humans to live the moment peacefully.


The above-mentioned philosophies are all powerful tools to better your mental health and you can practice this to soothe the situation you are in. However, this may take so much time as they are to be incorporated into our lives day by day thus making it a habit. But if you feel like you are struggling so much with anxiety and other painful outcomes of poor mental health then the first thing you should be doing is seeking help from a professional psychologist and get your therapy booked.