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Decoding the Japanese Ikigai of longevity

 


Who are You?


The reason for dissatisfaction among people is usually the inability to figure out the purpose of being. The Japanese believe that everyone has an Ikigai or reason to live or a 'raison d'ètre.' The secret of living a long and happy life is finding and working on this ikigai. One would only want a long life if it's happy and they can perform all their tasks on their own. Ikigai is about enjoying your vocation and cultivating healthy habits for life. Recent medical studies of centenarians from Okinawa, Japan, provide several interesting insights about these extraordinary human beings -



  1. Not only do the left much longer than the rest of the world's population, but they also suffer from chronic illnesses such as cancer and heart diseases; inflammatory disorders are also less common.

  2. Many of these centenarians have levels of vigour and health that would be inconceivable for other individuals their age in other parts of the world.

  3. As a result of drinking tea and eating until their tummies are just 80% full, their blood tests reveal fewer free radicals responsible for cellular aging.

  4. Dementia and Alzheimer's disease rates are significantly lower than the global average.


It is also customary in Okinawa to form close bonds with local communities. A moai is an informal group of people with a common interest to look out for one another. Serving the community is considered a part of ikigai. Members of a Moina makeup set monthly contributions to the group. This charge entitles them to attend meetings, meals, games, and shogi tournaments (Japanese chess). If a member runs into financial difficulties, he can tap into the moai's savings. While the accounting methods of each moai differ depending on the community and its economic resources, the sense of belonging and support provides individuals with a sense of security and helps to increase life expectancy.


 


The Blue Zones


There are five regions called the blue zones, which have a better life expectancy than the rest of the world -



  1. Okinawa in Japan - In addition to the ikigai and moai philosophies, the residents enjoy a diet rich in vegetables and Tofu, often served on tiny plates.

  2. Sardinia in Italy - locals on this Island consume plenty of vegetables and one or two glasses of wine per day. Another element closely related to longevity is the community's cohesiveness.

  3. Loma Linda in California - People here exercise regularly and keep a healthy fixed routine.

  4. The Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica - Local remain remarkably active after 1920 of the reasons older residents have no problem getting up at 5:30 in the morning to work in the fields.

  5. Ikaria in Greece - one of every three habitats of this island near the coast of Turkey is over 90 years old (a fact that has earned the nickname the island of long life). 


 


The concept of flow


A sense of flow in life and work is considered an important aspect of ikigai. To obtain this best experience, we must devote more time to activities that bring us into this state of flow rather than allowing ourselves to become engrossed in activities that provide immediate gratification. When we are in flow, we are completely focused on completing the activity without being distracted. According to DePaul University professor Owen Schaffer, the conditions for achieving flow are:



  1. Knowing what to do

  2. Knowing how to do it

  3. Knowing how well you are doing

  4. Knowing where to go

  5. Perceiving significant challenges

  6. Perceiving significant skills

  7. Being free from distractions


The primary condition of achieving flow is concentrating on a single task. Multitasking decreases productivity and makes us would likely to commit mistakes. When we aim to perfect one task, it helps us feel calm and in control of the task at hand. Flow is mysterious like a muscle, the more you train it, the more you will flow and the closer you will be to your ikigai. 


What do the long-living eat?


The mortality rate from cardiovascular disease in 3 hours The Lost in Japan and died almost certainly has a lot to do with this. It's no coincidence that the Okinawa diet is frequently addressed at nutrition panels around the world. The main characteristics of this diet are -



  1. Locals consume a wide range of meals, particularly veggies. Variety seems to be the key. According to a study of Okinawa's centenarians, they consumed 206 different meals regularly, including spices. They ate an average of 18 different items every day, in stark contrast to our fast-food culture's nutritional deprivation.

  2. They eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables every day along with steamed fish and rice. Vegetables, potatoes, legumes, and soy products such as tofu are staples of an Okinawa diet.

  3. They rarely consume sugar and if they do its cane sugar. Their sodium intake is also low, 7g, as compared to the average 12g. 

  4. They consume fewer calories than the average of 1785 working compared to 2068 in the rest of Japan. They believe in eating only until their stomach is 80% full. 


Finding our ikigai 


Your ikigai is determined by your passion, profession, mission, and vocation. What you love decides both your passion and mission while what you are good at tells your passion and profession. What you can be paid for is your profession or vocation and your vocation with what the world needs should be your mission. Understanding the synergy between these is your ikigai. This can be done by thoughtfulness and meditation. Sime daily habits that will act as catalysts in your ikigai journey and make you healthier are -



  1. Every day, go to work or go for a walk for at least 20 minutes.

  2. Use your feet instead of an elevator and escalator this is good for your posture your muscles and your respiratory system among other things.

  3. Avoid spending too much time in front of the television by engaging in social or recreational activities.

  4. Replace your junk food with fruits and you will have less of the earth to snack and more nutrients in your system. 

  5. Getting the right amount of sleep 7 to 9 hours is good but any more than that makes us lethargic.

  6. Join a sports team or play with youngsters or pets. This not only sculpts the body but also the mind and increases self-esteem.

  7. Be conscious of your daily routine to detect harmful habits and replace them with more positive ones.


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