Finding Purpose, Joy and Health!
Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel
At times like these it’s important to stay healthy, find joy and our purpose in life. These are the things that will get us through our worries and difficulties.
One of the reasons that the Japanese live such long and productive lives is that they strive to find their ikigai – reason for being – and focus on doing the things that give them a sense of purpose and joy.
Dating back to Japan's Heian period (794 – 1185), ikigai centers on finding happiness in everyday living. Translated from the Japanese, it means "the thing that you live for."
It involves finding meaning in life that may or may not be related to your paid work activities. It could come from creative pursuits, family or community.
American psychologist Abraham Maslow noted this in his famous Hierarchy of Needs, in which the highest need is "self-actualization."
Each person's ikigai is unique, stemming from your values, beliefs, talents and sense of self. By developing your talents – whether it's surfing, cooking, gardening, arts, helping others – you can turn them into joyful pursuits that are healthy, as well.
Scientists have found that people who experience ikigai are healthier and have less stress, anxiety and heart disease because it helps regulate the brain's dopamine and serotonin levels – things that we all need more than ever now.
And, if your ikigai develops into a product or service the world needs, it may even turn into a successful career or business…or a way to make the world better.
In Italy, which has been hard-hit by the coronavirus, opera singers and musicians are performing from their balconies to entertain their quarantined neighbors.
Musicians and artists in other parts of the world are putting on impromptu shows, as well. In Orange County, CA, people are using colored chalk to create pictures on the sidewalks in front of their homes to bring joy to walkers.
Ideally, ikigai will be a part of your life at all stages…with different talents emerging over time and circumstance that contribute to a happier and healthier life and can make us stronger.
Forbes magazine says, “Discovering your ikigai, or passion, can be one of the greatest journeys you will embark on.” – especially now.
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