What is the secret of the extraordinary longevity of the Japanese from Okinawa, and especially the residents of the village of Ohimi? Located in the northern part of the island, it has nearly 3,000 people and is called the Village of Centenarians. Two Spanish authors – Héctor García and Francesc Miralles, set out to investigate on the ground how the elderly manage to be active and happy until the end of their days, and arrive at the Japanese philosophy of ikigai – doing what you love, being filled with satisfaction and joy, and be thankful.
10 laws derived from the wisdom of the elders of Ohimi:
- Always stay active, never retire. If a person abandons what he loves and can do, he loses the meaning of his life. Therefore, even after you “officially” end your professional path, it is important to continue doing meaningful things, to develop, to create beauty or benefit for others, helping and giving shape to your little world.
- Take it easy. Rushing is inversely proportional to quality of life. As the old saying goes, “If you go slow, you’ll go far.” When you stop racing, time and life take on a new meaning.
- Don’t overeat. When it comes to nutrition and longevity, the phrase “less is more” applies. According to the 80 percent rule, you should eat a little less than you want – to keep your health intact for a long time.
- Surround yourself with good friends. They are the best elixir to distract from worries – with a pleasant conversation, with telling or listening to anecdotes, with advice, with joint fun, sharing, dreams… All this makes existence easier and more fun. Or in other words: life together.
- Get fit for your next birthday. Just as water is clear and clean when it moves, so the body that carries you through life needs daily maintenance and movement to serve you for many years. In addition, physical exercise leads to the release of hormones of happiness.
- Smile. A friendly and cheerful appearance attracts others and relaxes the person himself. It’s okay to be aware of things that aren’t working, but you shouldn’t forget the privilege of being here and now in this world full of possibilities.
- Reconnect with nature. Although most people live in cities, we are all created as part of nature. We need to return to it often to recharge our batteries.
- Be grateful – to your ancestors, to nature that gives you air and food, to your companions in life, to everything that fills your day with light and makes you feel happy to be alive. Dedicate a certain moment of your day to gratitude – this way you will increase the flow of your happiness.
- Live for the moment. Stop regretting the past and worrying about the future. All you have is today. Make the most of it so that it deserves to be remembered.
- Follow your ikigai. Somewhere inside you lies a passion – a unique talent that fills your days with meaning and pushes you to give your best to the last moment. And as Viktor Frankl says – “if you haven’t found it yet, your next task is to find it.”
Selected from: “Ikigai – Japan’s Secrets for a Long and Happy Life”, Hector Garcia, Francesc Miralles, ed. The nest