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Article  •  1 August 2023


Improve your life with the 10 rules of Ikigai

Nailing these essentials will help you discover your Ikigai and live your best life.

We all want to live our best, most fulfilling lives – but that is quite a lofty goal.

Even when you have the best intentions, it can be challenging to know where to begin. Should you adopt one tiny lifestyle change? Should you do a total overhaul of your current bad habits? Is it more effective to start by focusing on your physical health or your social life?

Thankfully, Ikigai is here to help. With rules distilled from the wisdom of the centenarians of the rural town Ogimi in Okinawa Japan, the book lays out a path towards a better life by discovering your ‘ikigai’ or ‘the happiness of always being busy’. With generations of living and learning to back it up, Ikigai breaks the concepts into bite-size, actionable steps.

If you want to improve your life – in any realm – start with these ten steps, and see yourself change as you move down the list.

10 rules of ikigai 

Chart showing the 10 rules of Ikigai
  1. Stay active, don’t retire: Those who stay active stay passionate about life. Ikigai suggests that once your professional activity has ended, it’s important to stay engaged and in tune with the world around you.
  2. Take it slow: It is hard to enjoy life when you’re rushing through it. Make sure you take time to stop and smell the roses occasionally. After all, beauty is often found in the small moments that add up to make a lifetime.
  3. Don’t fill your stomach: According to Ikigai, one of the secrets to living a long and healthy life is to avoid overeating. The book suggests eating until you're about 80% full, leaving a bit of space in your belly.
  4. Surround yourself with good friends: Nothing makes you feel more alive than having fun with friends. Not only can friends brighten your mood, but they can also be a fabulous support system through all stages of life.
  5. Get in shape for your next birthday: There are so many benefits to being physically healthy, so it’s a great goal to strive for year after year. In addition to keeping your body functioning in tip-top shape, exercise also releases hormones that make you feel happy.
  6. Smile: In addition to making you feel good, smiling can also make you appear more friendly to others. When it feels hard to smile, try and remember everything you have to feel grateful for in life.
  7. Reconnect with nature: Time outdoors is time well spent. Whether you live in the city or the countryside, try to find ways to spend more time in nature.
  8. Give thanks: There are so many benefits to practising gratitude! In addition to cultivating a more positive mindset, regular gratitude can contribute to greater happiness.
  9. Live in the moment: Staying present is a major key to feeling fulfilled and happy in daily life. Try your best to soak up each day for what it is, taking the good and bad as they come without rumination or anxiety.
  10. Follow your ikigai: We all have a passion – a driving force – inside of us. Do what you can to identify your ikigai, and once you have, live by it. Check out the diagram below to help you identify what your ikigai might be.
Chart showing what ikigai is.


Want more? Start reading Ikigai here

Feature Title

2014 offered The life-changing magic of tidying 2016 surrounded us with hygge In 2017, we’ll discover our ikigai Ikigai – the Japanese secret to a long and happy life from the world’s longest living people.
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