In Japan, millions of people reach ikigai. According to these people, this is the best way to find the purpose of life, to live longer and better.
The facts have made it clear that the Japanese island of Okinawa, where the concept of ikigai originated, is home to the largest population of centenarians in the world.
This article describes what ikigai is, how it is achieved, and why it can be seen as a way to live longer and better.
What is ikigai?
The concept of ikigai arises from the convergence between what you are good at, what you like to do, and the rewards of your tasks. According to the authors of the theory, this is the best way to find your purpose in life.
Héctor García, the co-author of Ikigai, says: “It is the art of being busy at every moment in tasks that make us happy. It is the reason we wake up every day. It is what we look forward to as soon as we wake up. But it is such a difficult word to define that we have had to write a whole book to explain it. “
According to Hector, humans have coveted objects and money since the beginning of societies. Other humans have been dissatisfied with the relentless pursuit of money and fame and have focused on something more significant than their material wealth.
Over the years, this has been described using many different words and practices but always trying to find the central core of meaning in life.
How to achieve the ikigai?
The basis for attaining kiwi is to emphasize what is essential, not urgent. To understand the kiwi of each one, instead of looking for external stimuli, you must see inside yourself. To achieve kiwi, you must find a balance between:
- What you love (passion)
- What the world needs (mission)
- What are you good at (vocation)
- What they can pay you (profession)
A simple method to understand what is suitable for us is to write down at least three moments in which you felt better during the week. You should review these moments and classify them as the month passes.
To find and achieve your ikigai, you must pay full attention to your activities and look for the patterns you repeat that make you feel better and more passionate.
To achieve ikigai, the authors recommend that you ask yourself the following questions:
- What do I love?
- What am I good at?
- Why can I get paid now, and what could become my future?
- What does the world need?
The ikigai and the blue zones
The concept of ikigai is not unique to Okinawans but to all areas of the world that carry out this lifestyle. According to Buettner, ikigai occurs in what he defines as the blue zones.
Although the author of the ikigai theory points out that there may be more blue zones in the world that he has not identified, it ensures that at least five must be included in the list. The blue zones, according to Buettner, are:
- Icaria is an island in Greece where people eat a Mediterranean diet rich in olive oil and homegrown vegetables. Life expectancy here is distinctively higher than in the rest of the region.
- Ogliastra: the Ogliastra region is located in Sardinia, an Italian island. The longest living populations in the world have been recorded in this place.
- Nicoya Peninsula: The Nicoya Peninsula is a region of Costa Rica. The people who live here base their diet on beans and corn tortillas, do physical work even in old age, and have a tranquil lifestyle.
- Okinawa: This Japanese region is home to the most senior women globally. Their diet is soy-based foods, and they practice different forms of active meditation.
- Loma Linda: In this religious community in California, USA, people are very close and have a vegan diet as a lifestyle.
What do people who find your ikigai have in common?
People who find their ikigai stay active throughout their lives, connect with nature and live in the moment without rushing.
In practice, people who find their ikigai tend to be more curious, confident, routine, and grateful. They tend to have a slower pace of life, surrounded by a solid and generous community.
In addition, although there is no strict diet to achieve ikigai. In the blue areas, similarities have been found in the diet.
Although most groups are not strict vegetarians, they only tend to eat meat about five times a month. They consume alcohol in moderation (a glass of wine three times a week) and fast regularly.
The diet is based on vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and nuts. In addition, in some blue areas, fish consumption is one of the highest in the world.
Sleep well to live longer and better
To live longer and better, sleeping well seems to be one of the keys.
In addition to eating and leading an active lifestyle, people who live in the blue zones have a particular sleep pattern. They do not tend to sleep or wake up according to hours set by work, but they sleep as much as their body tells them to.
In addition, napping during the day is also common in some blue regions, such as Icaria and Sardinia. This can be one of the keys to finding the ikigai and living longer. (1)
Several studies have linked not getting enough sleep or sleeping too much with an increased risk of death, heart disease, or stroke. (1,2,3)
The ikigai is a Japanese concept to achieve a balance in life, find a motivation to get up every morning, and live longer and better. To complete ikigai, you must find a convergence between what you are passionate about, what you are good at, what the world needs, and what you can be paid for.
In the blue zones (where people reach ikigai more frequently), people live longer and with a better perception of life. They all share particular food and lifestyle points.