As a follow-up to my previous article introducing the concept and benefits of ikigai, here are some ways of achieving this blissful and valuable state of calm and happiness.
The ikigai way of life means being in the present and taking the maximum value from often the most simple things. This was previously outlined in more detail here – http://watchfit.com/general-health/mental-health/discovering-ikigai-finding-calm/
Now let’s look at simple ways by which everyone can experience the ikigai effect and see why it has made such an impact over so many years in Japanese culture. It has been credited with everything from a more blissful state of mind, a greater productive output, better mental and physical health and longer, to more longer and more active lifespans.
What is not to like?
And the beauty of it is that there’s no need for any skills or ‘higher understandings’. In fact ikigai can be pretty much whatever you want it to be.
So when it comes to finding peace and calm with ikigai, here are a few guidelines that everybody can take on board and benefit from…
Ikigai – A Beginners Guide
- Make A List
We all derive great pleasures from very simple things, sometimes we just need to remind ourselves what they are. It might be a view from out of a window, watering plants in the garden, stroking the dog, listening to a radio show…all things we actually find great enjoyment and even serenity from but have perhaps lost that awareness of what they mean to us.
Make a list of five such things. When you have noted them down, each time you commit to this activity or pleasure, be fully aware of what it means to you and don’t just rush through them.
By doing this you will become more aware of other small but crucial pleasures and this will have a continuous knock-on effect.
- Get Absorbed
We can learn from children here. They are absolutely in the present when they are playing. What matters is what they are doing there and then – they’re not dwelling on the past or worrying about the future – they are finding joy in the immediate. and that is something as adults we can all too easily lose.
If you can undertake an activity and totally commit yourself and immerse yourself in it, you will get greater pleasure and do it better.
The Japanese have an awareness that the day is the day, it is a one-off and it won’t return. The knowledge and acceptance of this means that activities and encounters with people take on a greater value and are treated and enjoyed as such.
- Get up early!
OK, so this might not sound too appealing to many people (thankfully it’s not something I have an issue with) but an early rise is key to the Japanese day. It is believed that the brain is at its optimum first things. It is fresh after sleep, it has been sorting and storing memories and is ready for more. Don’t waste this time lolling in bed!
It is well known that the Japanese indulge in light exercise in the morning and eat something rewarding afterwards. This sets positivity in motion straight away, dopamine is released into your brain and the feelgoods are flowing!
And on a very simple level, just saying “Good morning” and looking at the person in the eye activates the brain’s rewards system and improves the immune system and regulates hormonal levels. Easy!
- Take pride!
Hold yourself to a personal standard, even if you are doing something pretty small and mundane. This is a big part of ikigai. If you take care of every small detail, the greater wholes will look after themselves. Taking pride in work will always improve the quality of that work. This is known as Kodawari in Japan.
- Look outside work
Ikigai is about balance and something that is key to balance in anybody’s life is finding activities outside your work activities. Joy comes from the task itself, the process of it and its completion – not financial rewards or any kind of corporate gain.
Finding peace and calm with ikigai is something that is easily within all of us, and is something we can all derive life-affirming benefits from. Give it a go!
Connect here with Expert Parisa Louie