Self

10 Rules Of Ikigai, The Japanese Secret To A Long And Happy Life

Photo: Content Pixie, marekuliasz, visualspace | Canva
Confident Japanese woman, rules of ikigai

Your Ikigai is a Japanese concept that defines your reason for being. Your Ikigai sits at the center of:

  • What you love (your passion)
  • What the world needs (your mission)
  • What you’re good at (your vocation)
  • What you can be paid for (your profession)

RELATED: 7 Japanese Concepts That Will Drastically Change Your Life

Here are the 10 rules of Ikigai, the Japanese secret to a long and healthy life:

1. Take it slow.

“My secret to a long life is always saying to myself, ‘Slow down’ and ‘Relax’. You life much longer if you’re not in a hurry.”

Live an unhurried life. Being in a hurry is inversely proportional to quality of life.

2. Stay active; don’t retire.

“Walk slowly and you’ll go far.”

Only staying active will make you want to live a hundred years.

3. Don’t fill your stomach.

Less is more when it comes to eating for a long life. Fill your belly to 80%.

   

   

Rather than overeating and wearing down our bodies with long digestive processes that accelerate cellular oxidation, stop eating when you feel your stomach reach 80 percent of its capacity.

Extra food will give us pleasure in the short term, but not having it will make us happier in the long term.

4. Surround yourself with good friends.

The sense of community, and the fact that Japanese people make an effort to stay active until the very end, are key elements of their secret to long life. Treat everyone like a brother, even if you’ve never met them before.

RELATED: 10 Signs You Have A Truly Genuine Friendship

5. Get in shape for your next birthday.

Just as a lack of physical exercise has negative effects on our bodies and mood, a lack of mental exercise is bad for us because it causes our neurons and neural connections to deteriorate — and, as a result, reduces our ability to react to our surroundings. Go on a walk for at least twenty minutes each day.

6. Smile.

10 Rules Of Ikigai (The Japanese Secret To A Long And Happy Life)Photo: insta_photos / Shutterstock

We should never forget what a privilege it is to be in the here and now in a world so full of possibilities.

“The secret to a long life is not to worry. And to keep your heart young — don’t let it grow old. Open your heart to people with a nice smile on your face. If you smile and open your heart, your grandchildren and everyone else will want to see you.”

7. Reconnect with nature.

Modern life estranges us more and more from our true nature, making it very easy for us to lead lives lacking in meaning. Powerful forces and incentives (money, power, attention, success) distract us on a daily basis; don’t let them take over your life. Don’t look at any kind of screen for the first hour you’re awake and the last hour before you go to sleep.

RELATED: 5 Easy Ways To Reconnect With Nature & Improve Your Wellbeing

8. Give thanks.

We should never forget that everything we have and all the people we love will disappear at some point. The objective of the virtuous person is to reach a state of tranquility: the absence of negative feelings such as anxiety, fear, shame, vanity, and anger, and the presence of positive feelings such as happiness, love, serenity, and gratitude.

9. Live in the moment.

Stop regretting the past and fearing the future. Today is all you have. Make the most of it. Make it worth remembering.

Combine physical exercise with an awareness of our breath to help us bring our consciousness in line with our body, instead of allowing our mind to be carried away by the sea of daily worries. Most of the time, we are just not aware enough of our breathing.

10. Follow your ikigai.

Everyone with a clearly defined ikigai has in common that they pursue their passion no matter what. They never give up, even when the cards seem stacked against them or they face one hurdle after another.

There is a passion inside of you, a unique talent that gives meaning to your days and drives you to share the best of yourself until the very end. When you have a clear purpose, no one can stop you.

“He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how.” — Nietzsche

RELATED: 7 Fascinating Japanese Techniques That Help People Overcome Laziness

Parker Klein is the founder and CEO of Twos. He previously worked as an engineer at Google but is now focused on helping people stay organized, be productive, and live memorable lives.

This article was originally published at Medium. Reprinted with permission from the author.