Ikigai is Japanese word which means a reason for being or passion for life. In a new book Ikigai: the Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy life. The authors try to find out why people in Japan have such a passion for life and work, why one village in Japan has the highest percentage of 100-year olds. How having strong Ikigai brings longevity and happiness. Many of things mention in the book are very similar to the practice and philosophy of Tai Chi (such as: take it slow, reconnect with nature and live in the moment). At the end of the book the authors list the Ten Rules of Ikigai:
1. Stay active and don’t retire.
Once the authors arrived in Okinawa, they were shocked to find out how many people simply do not retire — in fact, they even note the lack of a Japanese word for the concept. In order to do what you love for as long as you can, the authors suggest that you make it a priority to stay active in all stages of life and keep doing something you value.
2. Take it slow.
“When you leave urgency behind, life and time take on new meaning,” the authors advise. So instead of rushing your daily tasks, try to savor and enjoy them for the sake of your Ikigai. Which is key in moving in Tai Chi.
3. Don’t fill your stomach.
“Less is more when it comes to a long life. Eat a little less than your hunger demands.” According to authors, one of the most popular phrases in Japan is to “fill your belly to 80 percent.”
4. Surround yourself with good friends.
“Friends are the best medicine, there for confiding, sharing stories, getting advice, having fun, dreaming… in other words, living.” Basically, it’s a great excuse to gather your friends for drinks more often. Hey, it’s for your health!
5. Get in shape for your next birthday.
“The body you move through life needs a bit of gentle daily maintenance.” While the folks on the Japanese island of Okinawa do not perform rigorous exercise, they do regularly get up and move their muscles.
“It’s a privilege to be in the here and now”. Do your best to stay positive no matter what life throws your way.
7. Reconnect with nature.
“Human beings are made to be part of the natural world. Return to it as often as you can,” the authors say. Try to make time in your busy schedule to get back to nature.
8. Give thanks.
“Give thanks for everything that brightens your day and makes you feel lucky to be alive.” Try to be more grateful to people around you and to the gifts life gives you. Do your best to give more thanks throughout the day.
9. Live in the moment.
Stop thinking about the past and the future and think about this moment, right now. Make the most of it.
10. Find your Ikigai.
“There is a passion inside you, a unique talent, that gives meaning to your days and drives you to share the best of yourself until the very end.”