Ikigai: the Japanese Mystery to Find Happiness

In our culture there is no word that defines the meaning of what in ikigai culture represents in Japan.

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In our culture there is no word that defines the meaning of what in ikigai culture represents in Japan. According to the Japanese, everyone has an ikigai, a reason to exist. Some have found it and are aware of it, others have it inside, but they are still not aware of it or even, they may never reach it.

The current society bombards us with the culture of the material, the positive thing that is to have more money, a better car or a luxurious home; This pushes us to work harder and harder to get all these goods but also to forget ourselves, our inner well-being. On the other hand, jobs are increasingly precarious and in most cases we are obliged to accept them, not by vocation but by necessity. In the end, this situation becomes a circle from which it is very difficult to escape and that also creates great dissatisfaction in the staff.

In the book Ikigai, the secrets of Japan for a long and happy life, Hector García and Francesc Miralles have captured the experiences lived by the Japanese centenarians of the village of Ogami for a healthy and happy life. In addition, they describe some keys so that each one of us looks inside for the reason for their existence. In this way, self-esteem will increase and you will begin to be aware of those activities or more pleasant life forms that lead to a state of inner peace.

“Happiness is the meaning and purpose of life, the whole purpose and purpose of human existence.”


These are some keys that reveal this Japanese mystery to find happiness:

Ikigai, the reason to live

The reason why these Japanese centenarians get up every morning is the foundation or legitimate reason that justifies being or existing. For them there is no word or the concept of retirement, they continue to carry out the same tasks until the end of their days as it is a satisfaction to do what they like for the good of the community.

“The objective is to identify what each of us is good at, what gives us pleasure when it comes to realizing it and, in addition, makes us aware that we contribute something to the world. When we carry it out, we have more self-esteem, because we feel that our presence in the world is justified. Happiness would be the consequence, “says Miralles.

Encourage social relationships

The Japanese elders offer themselves to collaborate with everything related to their environment, they feel part of the community and useful for society.

Encouraging and promoting social relationships is very positive for the quality of life. When we relate, the mood improves and gives us great emotional benefits. Relationships help to be more independent, decisive and to improve cognitive abilities.

Healthy nutrition

The secret of feeding these Japanese is based on taking a wide variety of foods in small dishes. Raw fruits and vegetables are the foundation of the diet. They barely take sugar directly and if they do, it is sugarcane, grown in their own fields.

They consume fewer calories and to achieve it they are governed by hara hachi bu, a principle that defends that you should stop eating when you are at 80% of your stomach capacity.

Think positive

The inhabitants of Ogami lead a life free of stress and anxiety, for them the rush does not exist. Optimism and smiling are the main laws that are reflected in the laws of ikigai.

Our actions are based on our thoughts. If we change the way we think, we can begin to change the decisions we make. The human being always seeks personal growth, both physically and emotionally. Practicing positive internal conversations can help us to carry out actions that lead to great achievements.

Practice exercise

Every morning they practice group exercise before starting the routine. They are basic exercises that consist of stretching the muscles and moving the joints. The purpose of this physical activity is to reinforce the spirit of cooperation and unity of all the participants.

“Very little is needed to make a happy life; It is all within yourself in your way of thinking.”

-Marco Aurelio-

The search for our ikigai can be long and deep, but once found we will feel that happiness invades us because we have found our “reason to exist” that is based on four basic pillars: passion, vocation, mission and profession.