Book Review 96: IKIGAI by H. Garcia & F. Miralles

As a teacher I don’t reflect much on my mortality during the school year because the school year keeps my attention fixed on students, teaching and learning, and family. I have to interact students who lose loved ones or are applying to colleges, I have to plan lessons and grade papers, and I have to take care of my family. So the 180 days of a school year takes a lot out of me. But when the summer break hits I have space to reflect. One topic of reflection which fills my attention is my own mortality and mortality of my loved ones. I’m not so sure why I reflect yearly so heavily on my mortality.

Another reason why I reflect upon my mortality is because I take care of as many health related appointment as I can during the summer months. In the summer, I tend to my dental work, I take care of my eye care needs, and I complete an annual physical. When my blood test numbers come back I’ll reflect upon how well I’m doing and how poorly I’m doing in the eating habits and physical activity levels. So annually I think about the condition of my body is in and I adjust the ways I can extend my life and increase my wellbeing. My body is aging and yearly summers remind me of that reality.

Although my body is just a casing for my spirit, I am perpetually trying to find ways to keep my body healthy. This book, IKIGAI, has given me some tools to care for my body so I can have some longevity.

I do not recall how I found this book and I’m unsure why I pick it up but I am glad I did. This book is about how to live a long life. This book studies a region of Japan which has the highest percentage of people who live to be over one hundred years old.

The authors give four ways we can live a longer healthier life based upon their studies of a Japanese community that lives longer and healthier than any other human community in the planet. These four life-changing principles/practices are simple and we all can do them. They include:

  1. Eating
    • Eat until you’re 80% full Then stop
    • Eat more fruits and vegetables
  2. Exercise
    • Walk and ride your bike more
    • Incorporate movement into every day life
  3. Spend time with good people.
  4. Live purposefully.

Ikigai means that you were living a meaningful life which will increase your chances of long life. These four principles/practices are things everyone can do today. Don’t assume these things are for others to do; they are for each of us to do to increase our chances of an longer more full life.

What would you add to this list?



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