How Keeping Busy Will Make You Live Longer With Happiness? – “Ikigai”

How Keeping Busy Will Make You Live Longer With Happiness? - "Ikigai"

Living a long life is not important. But how you live that life, this is important 

Pawan Gurjar

Every single soul in this universe will have the wish to live longer, stay healthy, and all with happiness. Not all know that the secret to a long life comes from finding joy and purpose every day. Most of us conclude that these ideals are mere dreams that only a blessed few achieve.

In this summary of Ikigai by Hector Garcia Puigcerver and Francesc Miralles, you’ll learn a long life, a sense of purpose, deep happiness–what if all three fundamental notions came from the same place?

  • This book covers many topics related to the “art of living”.
  • The authors define Ikigai and the rules of Ikigai; they conducted one hundred interviews in Ogimi, Okinawa to understand the longevity secrets of centenarians and super-centenarians.
  • A variety of different topics like Blue Zonelogotherapy, longevity, flow, tai chi, Morita therapy, yoga, resilience, and many more are defined. 

The people of Okinawa, Japan have been practicing Ikigai for decades and this is their “reason to live”. This practice has made Japan a part of the Five Blue Zone of the world where people live the longest. 

Ikigai Key Idea 1: The secret to longevity is a deep purpose in life

Ikigai, in Japanese, is written by combining the symbols that mean “life” with “to be worthwhile”.

Translates roughly because of the happiness of always being busy. 

They can also describe it as an intersection between four unique elements: what you’re passionate about, where your skills lie, how you can earn a living, and what the world needs. Many Japanese believe that everyone has an ikigai or destiny, that they were born to fulfill. 

However, while some people find their ikigai quickly, others must seek it out. If you fall into this latter category, it’s important to persist; Ikigai will ultimately be what motivates you to get out of bed in the morning.

That’s why Okinawans often attain a high specialization and attention to detail in their daily work.

Ikigai is also the key to longevity. So, if your ikigai is your job, never retire. And if your ikigai is a hobby that brings you meaning and joy, never give it up.

The benefits of this commitment are clear. Medical studies conducted on Okinawan centenarians have found low rates of both heart disease and dementia.

The 10 rules of Ikigai

  1. Stay active; don’t retire.
  2. Take it slow.
  3. Don’t fill your stomach.
  4. Surround yourself with wonderful friends.
  5. Get in shape for your next birthday.
  6. Smile.
  7. Reconnect with nature. 
  8. Give thanks.
  9. Live at the moment.
  10. Follow your Ikigai. 

Ikigai Key Idea 2: Stress and Credentials

  • Many people seem older than they are. Research into the causes of premature aging has shown that stress features a lot to do with it.
  • The American Institute of Stress investigated this degenerative process and concluded that stress causes most health problems.
  •  Existential Crisis is typical of modern societies in which people do what they are told to do, or what others do, rather than what they want to do. They often attempt to fill the gap between what’s expected of them and what they need for themselves with economic power or physical pleasure, or by numbing their senses.
  • Those who give up the things they love doing and do well lose their purpose in life. That’s why it’s important to stay doing things useful, making progress, bringing beauty or utility to others, helping, and shaping the surrounding planet, even after your ‘official’ professional activity has ended.

Ikigai Key Idea 3: Morita Therapy

  • Many Western forms of therapy focus on controlling or changing the patient’s emotions. In the West, we believe that what we expect influences how we feel, which successfully influences how we act. In contrast, Morita therapy focuses on teaching patients to simply accept their emotions without trying to regulate them, since their feelings will change as a development of their actions.
  • Logotherapy and Morita therapy are both grounded in a personal, unique experience that you can access without therapists or spiritual retreats: the mission of finding your ikigai, your existential fuel. Once you discover it, it’s only a matter of getting the courage and taking the trouble to remain on the proper path.

Ikigai Key Idea 4: Flow

  • The happiest people are not the ones who achieve the most. They are those who spend a longer time than others during a state of flow. ​
  • To achieve this optimal experience, we have to focus on increasing the time we spend on activities that bring us to this state of flow, rather than allowing ourselves to urge trapped in activities that provide immediate pleasure.
  • Artists, for example, who carry the torch of their ikigai instead of retiring, have this power. Art, altogether forms, is an ikigai which will bring happiness and purpose to our days. Enjoying or creating beauty is free, and something all citizens have access to.
  • To focus on a task, we need:

1. To be in a distraction-free environment

2. To have control over what we do at every moment. ​

Ikigai Key Idea 5: Longevity Diet:

  • They eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables every day, and seven types of fruits and vegetables are consumed by Okinawans on a day-to-day basis.
  • Grains are the foundation of their diet. Japanese are normally rice people, including Okinawans, sometimes adding noodles. 
  • Eat fish an average of three times per week.
  • Tofu, Miso, Tuna, Carrots, Goya (bitter melon), Kombu (sea kelp), Cabbage, Nori (seaweed), Onion, Soy sprouts, Hechima (cucumber-like gourd), Soybeans (boiled or raw), Sweet potato, Peppers
  • Okinawans drink more Sanpin-cha—a mix of green tea and jasmine flowers—than any other tea… Okinawans drink an average of three cups of Sanpin-cha every day.
  • White tea, with its high concentration of polyphenols, maybe even more effective against aging. They consider it is the natural product with antioxidant power in the entire world—to the extent that one cup of white tea might pack the same punch as a few dozen glasses of fruit juice.

In Japanese culture, there’s a belief that only imperfect objects, like a cracked teacup, can be beautiful. We know the concept of wabi-sabi, and it can help you find more enjoyment in your day-to-day life. So, try to let go of the quest for perfection that’s so common in life, and instead accept the beauty that lies in all of life’s imperfections. The result will be extra energy, less stress, and longer life.

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