Presence of Ikigai in life reduce stress, improve health and well-being.
Average age of Okinawa inhabitants is 78 years (men) and 86 (women). They belong to countries with the highest longevity and they are living for many years without any ailments. The decisive main factor for such a longevity on these region is a term called “Ikigai“.
Many people in Okinawa belong to “moai“ a chain of mutual support, providing financial, social and emotional help in life. Besides the very important financial support, the moai community stands out because of its social support, as shown in daily meetings with family and friends at communal meals, tea, exercise and several leisure activities. The key is mutual help, doing something for yourself and, at the same time, doing something for the community.
Food, as well, plays a role in longevity. Many Okinawa people follow the Confucius’s proverb “hara hachi bu“ translated as “eat until your stomach is full from 80 percent”. In addition, they grow a great part of their food by themselves.
Ikigai is the reason why life becomes a valuable existence. The word Ikigai – the meaning of life – consists of two Japanese letters “iki” and “kai“. Iki is connected with life and kai means “to open”, “to begin”. Their connection can therefore be translated as a realization of our desires and expectations. In Okinawa, Ikigai means “a reason to get up in the morning“ and a reason to enjoy life. More precisely ; we can talk about two basic Ikigai meanings:
- Source of values or things thanks to which our life is worthful. It implies a purpose and a meaning and is connected with the joy of being alive. Each hobby, our family, life or work should give us Ikigai.
- Meaning associated with mental and spiritual alignment, based on which people feel that their life is valuable. It does not have to be immediately associated with economic status. Even though you are not having a great day, it does not mean that you are missing Ikigai in your life. If you have a goal and a purpose, you have Ikigai. Actions, that can give you the Ikigai feeling in your life, are not activities you are forced to do. It is a spontaneous and natural behaviour coming from inside.
When you start searching for the meaning of Ikigai, you will surely come across a study by Toshimas Sone and his colleagues from university in Tohoku. He started the study in 1994 and it lasted for seven years during which more than 43,000 adults (from 40 to 79) took part of it. One of the main questions in the study was: “Do you have Ikigai in your life?“ Nearly 60 % who responded in the beginning that they had Ikigai in their life, also stated a lower stress level and a better health status in the self-evaluating questions. They were mostly married, educated and employed.
The absence of Ikigai in life was often associated with death caused by cardio-vascular diseases, mostly by stroke. However, the association with tumour diseases was not rendered. Despite that, we can talk about a significant influence of meaning and value of life on our psychic condition and personal characteristics.
And what about you, do you have your Ikigai? The Japanese say, that every person has it, but the journey to the recognition can be long and often fluctuates into the depths of ourselves. Despite the fact that Ikigai is sometimes in our reach, we can’t grab it. Or we are simply refusing to hear what comes from our inside and then things around us lose their meanings. Reasons may vary: fear, doubts, among others. Maybe only lack of time, when we could be “alone with ourselves“.
95 % of those who perceived the value and the meaning of their lives have continued to live for another seven years after the start of the study. On the other hand, only 83 % of those who haven’t found Ikigai in their lives were still alive. Extend your life fulfilled with happiness and satisfaction, too. You don’t know how to start? Contact us and let’s discover together the meaning and the value of your life so that also you will belong to those who have Ikigai in their lives.