Want to be happier and live longer? Learn the secret of life from the people of Okinawa, Japan

Everyone wants to live a longer life and thinks a more comfortable life filled with the luxuries bought by money, can do this. But according to the studies, your diet, social connections and ikigai (purpose of life, in Japanese) is the reason for a happy and longer life.  You may have heard about the Blue Zones of the world where people are living happier, healthier and longer lives than others.

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Blue Zones listed by the National Geographic team and an author of Newyork Times, Dan Buettner, are: 

1. Okinawa, Japan 
2. The Italian island of Sardinia
3. Loma Linda, California
4. The Nicoya Peninsula, an isolated part of Costa Rica
5. Ikaria, an isolated Greek island

Here we are discussing the lifestyle of Okinawans, how they have a great life expectancy and what you can learn from them to be more happy, healthy and live more than the average.

1. Ikigai

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Ikigai is a Japanese term that means ‘a reason for being’. So the ‘ikigai’ or the purpose of your life helps you to live worthwhile. It is the purpose that creates energy in you to take effective actions in the direction of your purpose. The life expectancy of Okinawa is 83.7 years and the island has 35 centenarians for every 100,000 citizens that is 5 times more than the rest of Japan. Okinawans follow the rule, they live for a reason and live more. Actually like other countries Japanese never retire. They keep doing something effective after their official retirement unlike people believed to do rest only after retirement.

2. Social relations

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Just like better sleep and healthy diets helps you to live healthily, the same way the good relations with family, friends and society help you to live happy, healthy, and longer. Okinawans know this basic principle very well. Actually, Okinawa is an island with fewer facilities but people with good hearts. They communicate well with each other and help others to fulfill their daily needs. They form social support groups on the basis of their common interest. They meet, gossip, share experiences and even aid financial assistance if any member requires it.

3. Diet (what to eat) 

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Diet is a very basic point of your lifestyle that keeps you healthy. And the diet of Okinawans is high in carbs and low in calories and fat. They focus on soy products and vegetable-rich meals while occasionally eating pork, noodles, rice or fish. They include herbs and spices that are used for health benefits in traditional Japanese medical culture.

4. How much to eat

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There is a famous quote in Japanese 'Hara Hachi Bu'. It means in English that 'Eat until you are 8 parts full’. Before eating every Okinawan person says this quote to remind himself and his mind that eat until when your stomach starts feeling full. Actually, no one can estimate that the 80% limit is reached so they stop eating when they are no longer hungry. Rather than consuming 2000 calories a day they actually intake 1800-1900 calories that keep them fit and restricts from being fat.

5. Physical and mental exercise

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Everyone knows the importance of physical exercises that keep you fit and boost your immunity. But for a happy, healthy and long life you have to keep your brain active and fit and for that, you have to do mental exercise daily. Okinawans follow this idea, as they walk daily, working in fields that are a part of physical exercise. And for keeping their mind fresh they keep learning new things and interacting with new people.

You can also do it by learning a new language if you like reading then read a new book, try to play a new game or deal with problems in a new way, talk to strangers or explore new places.

In starting it might feel boring or difficult but when you become experienced and don’t let fear affect you, you feel happier and proud to see the new change in yourself that will surely motivate you to adopt new habits and take challenges.

So here we shared some ways that Okinawans actually follow and these principles are in their heredity. You can also imbibe good points and make your life happy, healthy, and longer more than the average of your country. If you want to know the lifestyle of the people of Okinawans in detail you can read this book (link above): IKIGAI -The Japanese Secret to a Lomg and Happy Life.

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