5 Key Takeaways from Ikigai
Do you look at people sometimes and feel like they have got it all together? They take out time for their hobbies, feel satisfied, stress free and you wish your life looked a little more like that? What if I tell you that a long life, sense of purpose and happiness all came from the same place? The secret to living life like this is found on the island of Okinawa, in southern Japan. Okinawa is home to the highest concentration of centenarians in the world.
The secret to living a long life can be described in just one word according to the people of Okinawa – Ikigai. The word Ikigai translates to your sense of being, your purpose that motivates you to get out of bed every morning. Your Ikigai can be your professional job or even your hobby. But it is extremely important to have one in order to have a long, happy, stress-free life.
Here are the top 5 takeaways from the book that will help live a healthy life.
- Have a purpose in life that keeps your mind busy
Having a purpose in life or finding your Ikigai will help you life a long life. Some may find their purpose sooner rather than later. But you should know that everyone has a purpose that they need to fulfil in their lives.
If your job is your motivation, keep at it. If your hobby brings you happiness, don’t give it up.
Keeping your mind busy is a great way to ensure that you live a long life. Lack of mental work weakens your neural connection which is why it is imperative that you keep your mind busy. Playing chess, cards, or any game that makes you think will give your brain a good run. Best way to get your mind to work is to socialise with people, talk to them and have conversations.
While keeping your mind busy you also need to learn how to keep calm which ultimately helps in reducing stress. To do so, you can start working out regularly or practice mediation.
- Morita Therapy to overcome stress
In this fast-pacing world, almost everyone is suffering from anxiety and stress. Japanese have a tool to handle this called the Morita therapy, which was invented by Shoma Morita, a psychotherapist and Buddhist practitioner. Originally it was used to cure chronic anxiety, obsessions but it is also used to cure stress.
The therapy takes part in four phases. The first phase is complete rest with a total cut-off from the outside world. Here the patient is encouraged to give themselves space to feel all the emotions and thoughts running inside them, accept them and make peace with them. The second phase consists of the patient incorporating small repetitive activities in their schedule like taking walks, writing in a diary etc. The third phase includes more physical activities like painting, wood cutting which helps the patient feel engages. Lastly, the fourth phase is to send the patient back in the real world a discovered sense of calm and purpose.
Giving your mind space to breathe is a great way to keep it healthy.
- Immerse yourself in an activity to keep yourself young
Imagine the feeling you get when you are doing your most favourite activity in the world. It could be reading a book, journaling your day, gardening, skating, etc. The feeling you experience at that time is pure joy and calm. You might feel like this is what you want to keep doing. Being in this flow can considerably increase your life span.
Find such an activity and make it a habit to continue it. If you feel like you might be getting complacent, try to push yourself and make it a little challenging. For instance, if you like to read, and you are getting bored of it, try to read a new genre that you’ve never tried. Keep pushing yourself so that you always have that state of flow.
Your activity should not be so dull that you shy away from it but also not very challenging when you’re starting out that you don’t find the courage for it.
- Okinawan diet for a long life
Who better to advise on long life that the ones experiencing it? Japanese diet has been in limelight for years as Japan has the longest life expectancy. Okinawan diet consists of eating different fruits and herbs on a regular basis. For instance, everyday they eat five different portions of fruits and vegetables.
Apart from eating variety of food, Okinawans also eat in small portions. They follow a concept called ‘hara hachi bu’, which means that you only eat till you’re 80% full. The book Ikigai also states that Okinawans have small utensils that help them achieve the goal of small portions.
- Other recommendations from Okinawans
Okinawans recommend that you greet everyone, including strangers, with a smile. This way you can broaden your circle and meet more people. You should try to smile often which helps you feel good and look good. Worrying about things that are missing should not be the focus. Instead, if you start counting the blessings in your life, you will be surprised to see that they are more than you imagined.
Apart from that, cultivating good habits like waking up early, having a hobby, being nice to everyone will automatically help you reduce stress and be more clam.