Ikigai, or the reason you get out of bed in the morning, has been closely linked to positive mental health and longevity. It is no surprise that those who swear by living solely in the scope of their Ikigai, specifically super-centurions in Japan, are some of the happiest amongst us. This is because these individuals prioritise their individuality for the greater good. For example, a poor man whose Ikigai leads him to a life of cultivating crops into his 80's and is happier than a rich man working solely to earn even more money, will have more to be grateful for in his day to day life than those of us who need to hire private islands to feel excited about our upcoming time off work.
Ever got to the end of a long working week and look forward to switching off at the weekend and doing something you passionately enjoy and makes you happy? This sounds familiar to most of us and I hope that you do find time to enjoy yourselves. Rearranging our lifestyles to fit around work is not a healthy way to live. The gravy train, the rate race, Dolly Parton’s 9-5. What time do you actually leave to fulfil the greater good you have to offer this planet? If you were to concentrate the majority of your time around the things you enjoy, regardless of wealth or circumstance, who would benefit. Would your improved happiness and enjoyment of life reflect on your children, your partner, your friends, strangers who we encounter on a random basis?
An Ikigai is simply your purpose and passion. Examples of people who follow their Ikigai are often found in Asia, such as in Okinawa, Japan, and they include old men and women who never retire, just gently grafting away at their enjoyed craft or hobby, making enough money to provide for themselves and those they care for, and fitting around their work gentle but regular exercise and a healthy diet. This leads to a thriving state of mind and emotional health and there are estimated strong positive correlations between lifestyles built around one’s Ikigai and longevity. When I present this way of life to people they often assume it to be an ideology of something far fetched and that at their stage in life it’s too late to uproot their careers just for the sake of their mental health. This is one of the saddest things I think our societies feed us. Whatever age you are, you deserve to live your own unique and enjoyable life and your reasons for choosing to follow your Ikigai would be good enough - regardless of what others say. If somebody’s mental health is not a good enough reason for adapting to a happier, healthier lifestyle than what is? What do we have to offer, aside from our minds that actually belongs to us and not Earth?
In no way am I trying to sell this idea for you. I would not financially profit. I simply want to assure people that there are ways of life that contribute positively and negatively to their mental health and that with time you can shape a lifestyle that supports and feeds your mind and emotions to the full.
If you would like to find out more or even take the test to find out what your Ikigai could be then click here.