Ikigai: Secret to live a joyful Life

Joy full life

You must have heard the word ‘Ikigai’ and wondered to yourself that, what does it actually mean? Well, it is a Japanese concept that helps you to live a joyous and fulfilling life and focus on the small things that makes you happy. Ikigai is made up of two Japanese word ‘iki’ which means life and ‘kai’ meaning value, worth, effect. Together it becomes ‘Ikigai’ which means a reason to live (Metcalf).

What do we Mean by Ikigai?

In the past few years, this philosophy has gained importance worldwide. Even the western countries have been adapting Ikigai in life. However, the western adaptation has related it with our professional and business life which is not true to its original context. The word in itself means small, day to day things that makes your life meaningful or we can say finding meaning and worth and showing gratitude in small things that adds up to life. Mieko Kamiya who popularized Ikigai in Japan also established that everyone has a personal force tied to their present, past or even future which is related to their personal experience. Some of them can be:

  • Family
  • Friends
  • Art
  • Music
  • Travelling
  • Experience
  • Future events
  • Culture

These can help a person’s Ikigai and help them establish a sense of satisfaction in life.

Also Read: Let’s Talk about Laughter Therapy

What is the Philosophy Behind Ikigai?

The philosophy of Ikigai involves four aspects or dimensions that are necessarily considered. These aspects can help you give a clarity of where you stand in your life and what changes you need to make to have your Ikigai. Four of them are:

  1. What Do You Love? Something that brings personal joy and you enjoy doing. It can be anything such as poetry, music, cooking etc.
  2. What Are You Good at? This aspect includes the skills that you have earned, talent that you have and hobbies that you have pursued. It includes things such as dancing, sports or even public speaking.
  3. What The World Needs? This aspect of Ikigai explores the human and societal needs. It can be as small as working or doing something for the area you live in.
  4. Are You Paid for It? This aspect of the Ikigai focuses on whether you are getting something in return by following a course of action. It is because it is important to get paid to survive the life.
Role of Ikigai in Mental Health

In today’s chaotic world where everyone is busy in competing against each other and living under the stress and pressure, mental health concerns are getting more and more serious. Many individuals are dealing with distress, anxiety, depression and a lot of other mental health conditions. In such conditions, Ikigai offers a new perspective on how to maintain well-being and take care of our mental health.

The most major thing that Ikigai promotes is having a sense of purpose in life which directly links with our perception towards everyday life. It gives one a reason to wake up and willingness to live life positively by prioritizing their passions and emotional wellbeing. When people engage in things that they love and care about, it adds to their mental health by creating a sense of satisfaction and therefore reducing stress and anxiety in them. When a person learns to find joy and fulfillment in small things, worry takes a back seat.

Also Read: Dating anxiety: Symptoms, Causes and the Management Tools

Think of it as a toddler who finds joy in small things like a candy, watching birds fly, getting wet in rain, playing with soil etc. As we grow up, we start finding these things meaningless and seek for bigger achievement which eventually creates stress and worry in us. By the time we reach our adulthood, all those small joys lose their meaning for us. Taking some time and bringing back those joys and finding meaning in them is what Ikigai encourages. It teaches us to keep that inner child alive. It will lead to a better self-esteem and sense of confidence in a person that they are unique and have their own contribution in their life as well as others.

The concept of Ikigai also contributes to different psychological background such as:

  • Positive Psychology: It focuses on building the character and strength in an individual and inculcate behaviors that helps the person to build a meaningful life, to not just survive but flourish as well. Practicing gratitude and social and emotional well-being is some of the key interest of positive psychology.
  • Existential Psychology: It emphasizes the subjective meaning of human experience, the uniqueness of the individual, and personal responsibility reflected in choice (APA, 2018). It suggests that human beings are free to determine their course of life and pave the direction of their future.

Applying the Principles of Ikigai for Better Life

  1. The first step of improved mental health using Ikigai is to ask yourselves questions of self-reflection like what makes you happy, what are you good at, what brings value to your existence and what are the things you care about. These questions can help you get to know yourself and to identify the purpose of life.
  2. Opening to new experiences is very important to identify one’s passions. You can only be able to answer self-reflective questions when you go out and explore what is out there for you. Getting counseling or guidance can play a very important role while seeking for opportunities and building a plan.
  3. It is important not only accept but also embrace changes in life while applying the principles of Ikigai in your life. It can include shift in your career, reallocating, managing time and resources or making any significant changes needed to move in the direction of Ikigai. It can be intimidating at first, but with consistency it will be rewarding as well.

Also Read: Adopt 21 easy habits for a healthy mind and body

What Does Finding Your Ikigai Looks Like?

Just take the example of a mother who is a housemaker. Indeed, her life is not easy with all those responsibility of the house she carries. She hardly gets any time to socialize and hang out with her friends. However, when she takes care of her children and look after them all the day, feeding them, playing with them and schooling them, she builds a close relationship with them. The smile and joy that her children experience with her is her Ikigai. It motivates and inspires her to go every day and live for her children which eventually drives her as well to live a fulfilling life.

  • https://www.fingerprintforsuccess.com/blog/what-is-ikigai#toc-section-7
  • https://mind.help/news/embracing-ikigai-for-mental-health-and-well-being/
  • https://positivepsychology.com/ikigai/
  • https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/positive-psychology#:~:text=Positive%20psychology%20is%20a%20branch,elements%20of%20a%20good%20life.
  • https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-existentialism-5667161
  • https://dictionary.apa.org/existential-psychology

Exit mobile version