Recently I read about the world’s blue zones. Maybe some of you know it already. They are called blue zones – places in the world where people live longer and healthier than anywhere else on earth. I read more and more about it, and Ikigai, the Japanese concept of life came up.
I found it really interesting to add it in my blog.
Blue zones in the world:
So first, something about, blue zones. In each of these places people living to 90 or even 100 years old are very common. And they aren’t just living long either—these people are living healthy—without medication. I was surprised to know that.
Dan Buettner, Blue Zones founder, has discovered five places in the world – blue zones – where people live the longest, and are healthiest: Okinawa, Japan; Sardinia, Italy; Nicoya, Costa Rica; Ikaria, Greece, and Loma Linda, California.
The island of Okinawa, where Ikigai: Japanese concept has its origins, is said to be home to the largest population of centenarians in the world. That’s really extraordinary longevity of the Japanese, right? far more than the global average.
Those who study why the people of this island in Japan live longer than people anywhere else in the world, believes that one of the keys—in addition to a healthful diet, a simple life in the outdoors, green tea, —is the Ikigai that shapes their lives.
So, is it the reason there are more centenarians in Okinawa than anywhere else?
How does it inspire people to stay active until the very end?
What is the secret to a long and happy life?
Ikigai : Japanese concept of Life
A combination of the Japanese words “iki” , which translates to “life,” and “gai” , which is used to describe value or worth. Ikigai is all about finding joy in life through purpose.
Ikigai is what gets you up every morning and keeps you going.
It also means having a “purpose in life”
Ikigai is what allows you to look forward to the future even if you’re miserable right now.
Hector Garcia, a writer of Ikigai: The Secret to a Long and Happy Life believes, however, that this Ikigai shouldn’t just be linked to the elderly folks. In fact, it’s currently more popular than ever with younger people both in and outside of Japan.
Though it may sound career-focused,Ikigai is not always about financial endeavors. Having a hobby that you can dedicate your time to, raising a family, or being able to work and make steps towards diving deep into that passion project you’ve always fantasized about, are all Ikigai.
Japanese people believe that the sum of small joys in everyday life results in more fulfilling life as a whole
Find your own Ikigai:
If you’re feeling lost or unsure about what your Ikigai is, there are a number of ways to refocus your mind and purpose.
“If you find yourself blocked because change is difficult, try adding something new to your life: a new hobby, new circle of friends, or a new job on the side,” Garcia suggests.
Buettner suggests making three lists: your values, things you like to do, and things you are good at. The cross section of the three lists is your Ikigai.
But, knowing your Ikigai alone is not enough. You need an outlet. Ikigai is “purpose in action,” he says.
Garcia breaks down the rules for longer and healthy life
- Only eat until you are 80 percent full
- Stay active and don’t retire
- Get in shape through daily exercise
- Surround yourself with good friends
- Leave urgency and adopt a slower pace of life
- Smile and acknowledge people around you
- Reconnect with nature
- Give thanks to anything that brightens your day and makes you feel alive.
- Find and follow your Ikigai
Friends, we all are born curious. Our insatiable drive to learn, invent, explore, and study deserves to have the same status as every other drive in our lives. We have to learn to turn off the autopilot mode of our life that’s steering us in an endless loop.
And of course, Ikigai- will be different for all of us. We all are searching for meaning in life. When the day is well spent , feeling connected to what is meaningful to us, is the day we live more. And when we lose connection, we feel despair.
The author says – we don’t need huge ambitions to find meaning in life, it might simply be in playing guitar, writing a book, helping others, having a cup of tea with friends occasionally. And we should not worry too much about finding it.
Life is not a problem to solve. Just remember something that keeps you busy doing what you love. And living 90 or 100 as healthy and happy would be very easy. We really don’t know. Right ?
Don’t get trapped in the never-ending need to do everything faster, better, and harder. In contrast, discovering your ikigai will help you slow down and enjoy life more. Identifying your life’s purpose will also help you live longer.
I really wish you a long, happy, and purposeful life.