'Ikigai' is the reason you get out of bed in the morning. It's your purpose, and it's what the Japanese think is the secret to a long and happy life. Your 'ikigai' can be a mixture of many things, including doing what you love, your mission, your passion, what you are good at, your profession etc.
This book is such a good read! Not only is it about finding your ikigai, it also gives lots of other advice on how to have a longer and happier life. In a nutshell the key seems to be simplicity. Less is more. Here are the main findings summarised:
- LIVE FOR NOW // Realise that the only thing that really exists and what we can control is the present. Don't worry about the past or the future, but appreciate the things that are here right now. Keep in mind that things/persons are not here forever with us, but not in a way that will make you worry about it. The realisation that everything/everyone is temporary should actually lead to a greater appreciation for life.
- KEEP RESILIENT // Resilience is the ability to get through a setback and to overcome it positively. You can do this for example by living in the moment, in Japanese this is called: wabi-sabi. This means that you should try to see the beauty of everything that is perishable, changing and imperfect.
- PRIORITISE // Do what is IMPORTANT, not what is URGENT
- LIMIT STRESS // Stress has a negative impact on our health.
- SWITCH OFF REGULARLY // Practise meditation or yoga.
- BE ACTIVE // A sitting existence is the ”enemy of staying young”. Walk for at least twenty minutes a day. If you can avoid using the car, then do! Get to places on your own steam if possible. Don’t use an elevator or escalator, use your legs. Moderately intensive moving of your body equals a longer life.
- SLEEP AND REST WELL // Sleep for between 7-9 hours a night.
- EAT WELL // Eat a variety of foods and not to overeat (stop when 80% full). Limit the amount of sugar you eat. Eats lots of vegetables (broccolli, sweet potatoes in particular), tofu & fish. Eat a variety of foods and mostly plant-based ones. Have lots of little meals as opposed to a small number of large ones.
- RELATIONSHIPS // Have a strong and close relationship with family/friends/neighbours, this is paramount!
- BE MENTALLY ACTIVE // keep using your brain however possible, for example crosswords and other puzzles and games.
- APPRECIATE // Appreciate what you have and focus on the positive as opposed to the negative.
- NATURE // Have a knowledge of nature and your surroundings
- GARDENING // Grow your own veggies and attend to them daily.
- TEA // Drink green and jasmine tea which contain lots of antioxidants.
- ALCOHOL // Alcohol is fine in moderation - 1/2 glasses max a night, do not binge drink though!
- LIMIT TECHNOLOGY // Limit technology and social media (real relationships are much better for you!), do not let it control you or obsess about it. You decide when to look at it, not the other way around. Tip: I put my phone on silent and then wait until it's convenient to check it. Don't use it for an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening.
- NEVER LOSE YOUR SENSE OF WONDER
- HOBBIES // And most importantly, find your ikigai, ie the hobby that you love, the reason that you get up in the morning and practice it whenever you can.
For more tips & advice read the book, available from Amazon here.