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Do You Want To Live To 100+?

30/08/2017 15:41 BST | Updated 30/08/2017 15:41 BST

"Monotony collapses time; novelty unfolds it", Joshua Foer, 'Moonwalking with Einstein'.

In recent pieces for HuffPost I've written about Sisu - A Finnish term that quite literally means to have guts, be courageous and have the drive to act regardless of the situation and circumstances.

And Shinrin-Yoku - A practice that since the 1980's has become regarded as a cornerstone of preventative healthcare and healing in Japanese medicine.

But something you'll be hearing a lot more about in coming months is Ikigai , again a not-so-new lifestyle trend and one that is also moving from east to west.

In a nutshell, Ikigai is the Japanese secret for a happy life.

It's a combination of two Japanese words Iki (to live) and Gai (reason) and provides a sense of a life worth living by focusing on the small stuff.

On the Japanese island of Okinawa, which prior to 2000 had the longest life expectancy of all the prefectures in Japan, to live a healthy and happy life to over 100 remains commonplace, and any centenarian can readily name their Ikigai.

In a 2013 TED Talk, Dan Buettner suggested that Ikigai was one of the reasons people in the area had such long lives.

Certainly one recent study agrees that the concept of Ikigai can be an important supportive element for health among the elderly. Whilst another 7 year research study involving 43,391 adults aged between 40 - 79 and living in the Ohsaki area, found that those who answered No to the question, "Do you have Ikigai in your life?" were more likely to be unemployed, have poorer physical and mental health and a greater chance of suffering cardio-vascular disease.

So what is an Ikigai?

An Ikigai can be as small and insignificant sounding as you like and you can certainly have more than one. In fact, it is very much the case of the more the better and there's no hierarchical structure.

One Ikigai is considered no more important than another and the purpose of each is to give your life some purpose, and inculcate a sense of a life worth living .

So, an Ikigai might be as simple as drinking a morning coffee, talking with someone you care about on the phone, clearing leaves in the garden, playing a board game, reading a book, going on a bike ride, jogging.

Of course, having purpose is more than moving 20 steps in one direction, rather than one step in 20 directions, but it's a start.

And all these Ikigai - however small and routine - all add up. It's ok to think small and allow yourself to slow down to enjoy the things that you might usually rush through, or barely notice in the passing.

In this sense it has much in common with mindfulness and using the practice to help slow down, cut through the constant motion and commotion of everyday life, create some space and objective distance, and see life through a different lens.

Regular mindfulness practice can also encourage feelings of gratitude which precedes happiness and if you are also able to find joy in small things through Ikigai, you have the frame of mind to build a happy and purposeful life.

86,400 seconds are deposited into your account everyday by the Bank of Life. No refunds, or stock piling possible. So, spend wisely and maybe combining the discipline of Ikigai with the practice of mindfulness, will not only give you a raison d'etre but also boost your self-esteem, happiness, morale and life satisfaction, together with an added dividend of a few extra years.

Paul Mudd is the author of 'Uncovering Mindfulness: In Search of a Life More Meaningful' . As well as being an occasional contributor to The Huffington Post, he is also a contributing writer for Thrive Global . Through The Mudd Partnership he works with business leaders, organisations and individuals in support of change, leadership excellence, business growth, organisational and individual wellbeing and well doing, and introducing Mindfulness. You can follow the continuing journey Uncovering Mindfulness on Twitter @TheMindfulBook and @Paul_Mudd

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