Ikigai – how to live a long and fulfilled life

The first book I read this year is called Ikigai, / The Japanese secret to a long and happy life / and it is a beautiful, inspiring book, I warmly recommend to everyone.

Ikigai means the happiness of always being busy or reason for being, and the authors travelled to Okinawa, the island with most centenarians in the world, to find out more about the secrets to a fulfilled and happy life. According to those born in Okinawa, our Ikigai gives us the reason and the motivation to start a day, every day of our life.

The book gives good information about what is stress, how to achieve meaning in life, what is flow of here and now, and why daily rhythm and structure is so important.

Our Ikigai is different for all of us, and it requires a patient search to find it. When we connect to that which is meaningful to us, we live more fully and happily.

Modern lifestyle takes us away from our true nature, making it easy for us to lead lives lacking in meaning. Powerful sources and incentives (money, attention and success) distract us on daily basis.

Our intuition and curiosity are powerful internal compasses to help us connect to our Ikigai. Therefore it is important that if we follow the things we enjoy and get away from those things we dislike. That we let us be led by our curiosity and we keep busy by doing things that fill us with meaning and happiness.

Life is not a problem to be solved, so we should remember to do things that fill us with joy and to surround ourselves with people who love and respect us, as meaningful social contacts are major source of a good life quality.

There are ten ‘rules’ or positive things which help develop our Ikigai, and help our life quality:

ikigai symble
These are (these are ten rules as mentioned by the residents of Ogimi)

1. Stay active, don’t retire -those who give up things they love doing and do well, loose their purpose of life
2. Take it slow – when we leave urgency behind, life takes on a different meaning
3. Be aware of how much you eat – we should eat less than our hunger demands
4. Surround yourself with good friends – friends are the best medicine
5. Get in shape for your next birthday – maintain your physical body so you keep it running for a long time. Plus, exercise releases hormones that make us happy.
6. Smile – A cheerful attitude is not only relaxing, it also helps make friends. It is good to recognize things that aren’t so great, but we should be grateful for the good things in our lives.
7. Reconnect with nature. Human beings are made to be part of nature, and reconnecting with nature recharges our batteries.
8. Give thanks. Spend a moment every day giving thanks
9. Live in the moment. Stop regretting the past and fearing the future, as today is all you have. Make the most of it.
10. Follow your Ikigai. There is a passion inside you, a unique talent that gives meaning to your days and drives you to share the best of yourself until the very end. If you don’t know what your Ikigai is yet, your mission is to discover it.

Wishing you all a great start of the year,

With best regards,
Melinda

Source of inspiration: Hector Garcia and Francesc Miralles, `Ikigai,- The jananese secret of long and happy life’.