This Japanese Tradition Could Help You Lead a More Meaningful Life

Reboot your mind, soul, and body—starting now.

japaneseLuciano Mortula LGM/ShutterstockLet’s be honest: Nothing is worse than waking up already dreading the day. For one, it be a sign that you’re in the wrong career. Or maybe you need to take a step back from life before you totally burn out. Whatever the case, memorize the Japanese tradition of ikigai; it could be your key to health, happiness, and so much more.

Yes, this philosophy really is as good as it sounds. There is no direct English translation, but it is believed that the term ikigai combines the Japanese words ikiru—meaning “to live”—and kai, which means “the realization of what one hopes for.” These two definitions together roughly translate to “a reason to live” or “the thing that gets you out of bed in the morning.” In other words, the idea of ikigai means having a purpose in life. This is the one secret you need to live a fulfilling life, according to science.

So, how does one acquire ikigai? In a speedy interpretation of the philosophy, experts recommend asking yourself four questions: What do you love? What are you good at? What does the world need? And what can you get paid for? Then, find an answer that balances all four points.

After responding to those questions, you could discover that devotion to your job or career helps your reach ikigai. But the Japanese don’t stop there. In fact, a 2010 survey of 2,000 Japanese men and women found that just 31 percent believed work was their ikigai, Business Insider reports. The concept of ikigai requires more than a nine-to-five commitment; those who reach this idea have also developed self-realization, as well as a feeling of responsibility and attachment to a certain group, such as family and friends. After all, good friends come with plenty of health benefits.

Adopt this philosophy for happiness, and soon you’ll be getting up on the right side of the bed—every morning. Plus, you have much more to look forward to: Science says you’ll be happiest during these two years of your life.

[Source: Business Insider]

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