Only staying active will make you want to live a hundred years. Ikigai - the happiness of always being busy. Treat everyone like a brother, even if you’ve never met them before. Nurturing friendships, eating light, getting enough rest, and doing regular, moderate exercise are all part of the equation of good health. Helping others might be an ikigai strong enough to keep people alive. The keys to longevity are diet, exercise, finding a purpose in life (an ikigai), and forming strong social ties—that is, having a broad circle of friends and good family relations. Members of blue zone communities (communities with the longest average lifespan) manage their time well in order to reduce stress, consume little meat or processed foods, and drink alcohol in moderation. Fill your belly to 80 percent. Rather than overeating and wearing down our bodies with long digestive processes that accelerate cellular oxidation, stop eating when you feel your stomach reach 80 percent of its capacity. Extra food will give us pleasure in the short term, but not having it will make us happier in the long term. The Okinawan diet is rich in tofu, sweet potatoes, fish, and vegetables. A moai is an informal group of people with common interests who look out for one another. Maintaining an active, adaptable mind is one of the key factors in staying young. Having a youthful mind also drives you toward a healthy lifestyle that will slow the aging process. Just as a lack of physical exercise has negative effects on our bodies and mood, a lack of mental exercise is bad for us because it causes our neurons and neural connections to deteriorate—and, as a result, reduces our ability to react to our surroundings. Most health problems are caused by stress. Mindfulness is a stress-reduction method of focusing on the self: noticing our responses, even if they are conditioned by habit, in order to be fully conscious of them. In this way, we connect with the here and now and limit thoughts that tend to spiral out of control. People who maintain a low level of stress, who face challenges and put their heart and soul into their work in order to succeed, live longer than those who chose a more relaxed lifestyle and retire early. Go on a walk for at least twenty minutes each day. Sleep seven to nine hours every night. Those who face challenges with a positive outlook and are able to manage their emotions are already well on their way toward longevity. A stoic attitude—serenity in the face of a setback—can help keep you young, as it lowers anxiety and stress levels and stabilizes behavior. Create an unhurried, deliberate lifestyle. Know how to approach challenges with a positive attitude and don't be overwhelmed by the obstacles you face. “Why do you not commit suicide?“ - Viktor Frankl. “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way.“ - Viktor Frankl. “He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how.“ - Nietzsche. Our health depends on the natural tension that comes from comparing what we've accomplished so far with what we'd like to achieve in the future. What we need, then, is not a peaceful existence, but a challenge we can strive to meet by applying all the skills at our disposal. Existential crisis is typical of modern societies in which people do what they are told to do, or what others do, rather than what they want to do. They often try to fill the gap between what is expected of them and what they want for themselves with economic power or physical pleasure, or by numbing their senses. It can even lead to suicide. “We don't create the meaning of our life, we discover it.“ - Sartre. We each have a unique reason for being, which can be adjusted or transformed many times over the years. Just as worry often brings about precisely the thing that was feared, excessive attention to a desire can keep that desire from being fulfilled. Humans can help break negative cycles and reduce anxiety. We all have the capacity to do noble or terrible things. The side of the equation we end up on depends on our decisions, not on the condition in which we find ourselves. Prisoners in German concentration camps had the greatest chance of survival when they had things they wanted to accomplish outside the camp. Accept your emotions without trying to control them, since your feelings will change as a result of your actions. Accept our desires, anxieties, fears, and worries, and let them go. “In feelings, it is best to be wealthy and generous.“ - Shoma Morita. Morita therapy:. Accept your feelings. Obsessive thoughts become more intense if we try to control them or get rid of them. We don't create our feelings; they simply come to us, and we have to accept them. We can't predict or control them; we can only observe them. “Hello, solitude. How are you today? Come, sit with me, and I will care for you.“ - Thich Nhat Hanh. Do what you should be doing. Character is grounded in the things we do. Focus on the present moment, and if we are suffering, accept that suffering. Discover your life's purpose. We can't control our emotions, but we can take charge of our actions every day. “What do we need to be doing right now? What action should we be taking?“. The four phases of Morita therapy:. Isolation and rest (5-7 days). Rest in a room without any external stimuli. No television, books, family, friends, or speaking. Only thoughts. Observe the rise and fall of your emotions as you lie down. Light occupational therapy (5-7 days). Perform repetitive tasks in silence. Keep a diary of your thoughts and feelings. Take walks and do breathing exercises. Do simple activities, such as gardening, drawing, or painting. Still no talking. Occupational therapy (5-7 days). Perform physical tasks, such as chopping wood and other activities such as writing, painting, or making ceramics. No talking besides the tasks at hand. The return to social life and the “real“ world. Reintroduced to social life, but maintain meditation and occupational therapy. Naiken meditation:. What have I received from person X? What have I given to person X? What problems have I caused person X? “If you are angry and want to fight, think about it for three days before coming to blows. After three days, the intense desire to fight will pass on its own.“ - Morita. Find flow in the tasks you've chosen to do, eat in a balanced and mindful way, do low-intensity exercise, and learn not to give in when difficulties arise. You must accept that the world—like the people who live in it—is imperfect, but that it is still full of opportunities for growth and achievement. “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.“ - Aristotle. While in flow, you are entirely focused on performing as well as you can. You know exactly how to act at each moment. There is no future, no past. There is only the present. Everything, including your consciousness, is united as a single entity. You are completely immersed in the experience, not thinking about or distracted by anything else. Your ego dissolves, and you become part of what you are doing. “Be water, my friend.“ - Bruce Lee. “Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. That is relativity.“ - Einstein. What makes us enjoy doing something so much that we forget about whatever worries we might have while we do it? When are we happiest? Flow is the pleasure, delight, creativity, and process when we are completely immersed in life. Flow is the state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter; the experience itself is so enjoyable that people will do it even at great cost, for the sheer sake of doing it. When we flow, we are focused on a concrete task without any distractions. Our mind is “in order.“ The opposite occurs when we try to do something while our mind is on other things. The 7 conditions for achieving flow:. Knowing what to do. Knowing how to do it. Knowing how well you are doing. Knowing where to go. Perceiving significant challenges. Perceiving significant skills. Being free from distractions. To be able to concentrate for a considerable amount of time is essential to difficult achievement. Choose a difficult task, have a clear, concrete objective, and concentrate on a single task. Communicate the team's mission clearly. Compass over maps: In an increasingly unpredictable world moving ever more quickly, a detailed map may lead you deep into the woods at an unnecessarily high cost. A good compass, though, will always take you where you need to go. It doesn't mean that you should start your journey without an idea where you're going. What it does mean is understanding that while the path to your goal may not be straight, you'll finish faster and more efficiently than you would have if you had trudged along a preplanned route. It's important to reflect on what we hope to achieve before starting to work, study, or make something. Having a clear objective is important in achieving flow, but we also have to know how to leave it behind when we get down to business. Concentrating on one thing at a time may be the single most important factor in achieving flow. Be in a distraction-free environment and have control over what we are doing at every moment. Don't look at any kind of screen for the first hour you're awake and the last hour before you go to sleep. Turn off your phone before you achieve flow. There is nothing more important than the task you have chosen to do during this time. Artists protect their time. That brings them happiness, sometimes at the expense of other aspects of their lives. During meditation, label your thoughts and let them pass without judging or rejecting. Rituals give us clear rules and objectives, which help us enter a state of flow. Happiness is in the doing, not in the result. Rituals over goals. The happiest people are not the ones who achieve the most. They are the ones who spend more time than others in a state of flow. Write down all the activities in your life that make you enter flow and then answer these questions:. 1. What do the activities that drive you to flow have in common? 2. Why do these activities drive you to flow? 3. Do you flow more when doing things that require you to move your body or just to think? Flow is like a muscle. The more you train it, the more you will flow, and the closer you will be to your ikigai. “Eat and sleep, and you’ll live a long time. You have to learn how to relax your mind and your body. You keep both busy, you’ll be here a long time.”. When you have a clear purpose, no one can stop you. “Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting.” - T. H. White. The sense of community, and the fact that Japanese people make an effort to stay active until the very end, are key elements of their secret to long life. If you want to stay busy even when there no need to work, there has to be an ikigai on your horizon, a purpose that guides you throughout your life and pushes you to make things of beauty and utility for the community and yourself. “The grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.” - Washington Burnap. Don't worry. ”The secret to a long life is not to worry. And to keep your heart young—don’t let it grow old. Open your heart to people with a nice smile on your face. If you smile and open your heart, your grandchildren and everyone else will want to see you.“. “The best way to avoid anxiety is to go out in the street and say hello to people”. Cultivate good habits. ”The key to staying sharp in old age is in your fingers. From your fingers to your brain, and back again. If you keep your fingers busy, you’ll live to see one hundred.”. ”I eat a bit of everything; I think that’s the secret. I like variety in what I eat; I think it tastes better.”. ”Working. If you don’t work, your body breaks down.”. ”To live a long time you need to do three things: exercise to stay healthy, eat well, and spend time with people.”. Nurture your friendships every day. ”Talking each day with the people you love, that’s the secret to a long life.”. Live an unhurried life. “My secret to a long life is always saying to myself, ‘Slow down’ and ‘Relax’. You life much longer if you’re not in a hurry.”. ”Do many different things every day. Always staying busy, but doing one thing at a time, without getting overwhelmed.”. Be optimistic. Antioxidant Foods: tofu, miso, tuna, carrots, cabbage, seaweed, onion, soy sprouts, sweet potato, peppers. Drink jasmine tea. Studies from the Blue Zones suggest that the people who live longest are not the ones who do the most exercise but rather the ones who move the most. “Metabolism slows down 90 percent after 30 minutes of sitting. The enzymes that move the bad fat from your arteries to your muscles, where it can get burned off, slow down. And after two hours, good cholesterol drops 20 percent. Just getting up for five minutes is going to get things going again.“ - Gavin Bradley. Combine physical exercise with an awareness of our breath to help us to bring our consciousness in line with our body, instead of allowing our mind to be carried away by the sea of daily worries. Most of the time, we are just not aware enough of our breathing. Everyone with a clearly defined ikigai has in common that they pursue their passion no matter what. They never give up, even when the cards seem stacked against them or they face one hurdle after another. “Fall seven times, rise eight.“. “God, give us grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, courage to change the things which should be changed, and the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.“ - Reinhold Niebuhr. A wise person should not ignore life's pleasures. A wise person can live with these pleasures but should always remain conscious of how easy it is to be enslaved by them. Stoicism centers on the idea that there is nothing wrong with enjoying life's pleasures as long as they do not take control of your life as you enjoy them. You have to be prepared for those pleasures to disappear. Our pleasures and desires are not the problem. We can enjoy them as long as they don't take control of us. The objective of the virtuous person is to reach a state of tranquility: the absence of negative feelings such as anxiety, fear, shame, vanity, and anger, and the presence of positive feelings such as happiness, love, serenity, and gratitude. Negative visualization: imagine the worst thing that could happen in order to be prepared if certain privileges and pleasures were taken from them. Worrying about things that are beyond our control accomplishes nothing. “It's not what happens to you, but how you react that matters.“ - Epictetus. “Om manni padme hūm“: Om is the generosity that purifies the ego, ma is the ethics that purifies jealousy, ni is the patience that purifies passion and desire, pad is the precision that purifies bias, me is the surrender that purifies greed, and hūm is the wisdom that purifies hatred. Instead of worrying about the past or the future, we should appreciate things just as they are in the moment, in the now. The changes in the world around us are not accidental but rather form part of the essence of the universe. We should never forget that everything we have and all the people we love will disappear at some point. Only things that are imperfect, incomplete, and ephemeral can truly be beautiful, because only those things resemble the natural world. Wabi-sabi teaches us to appreciate the beauty of imperfection as an opportunity for growth. What makes me fragile? Certain people, things, and habits generate losses for us and makes us vulnerable. Who and what are they? To build resilience in our lives, we shouldn't fear adversity, because each setback is an opportunity for growth. “Happiness is always determined by your heart“ - Aida. “Keep going; don't change your path“ - Aida. Once you discover your ikigai, pursuing it and nurturing it every day will bring meaning to your life. The moment your life has this purpose, you will achieve a happy state of flow in all you do. When we spend our days feeling connected to what is meaningful to us, we live more fully; when we lose the connection, we feel despair. Modern life estranges us more and more from our true nature, making it very easy for us to lead lives lacking in meaning. Powerful forces and incentives (money, power, attention, success) distract us on a daily basis; don't let them take over your life. Our intuition and curiosity are very powerful internal compasses to help us connect with our ikigai. Follow those things you enjoy, and get away from or change those you dislike. Be led by your curiosity, and keep busy by doing things that fill you with meaning and happiness. Life is not a problem to be solved. We should not worry about finding our ikigai. Just remember to have something that keeps you busy doing what you love while being surrounded by the people who love you. The 10 rules of ikigai:. Stay active; don't retire. Take it slow. Being in a hurry is inversely proportional to quality of life. “Walk slowly and you'll go far.“. Don't fill your stomach. Less is more when it comes to eating for long life. Surround yourself with good friends. Get in shape for your next birthday. Smile. We should never forget what a privilege it is to be in the here and now in a world so full of possibilities. Reconnect with nature. Give thanks. Live in the moment. Stop regretting the past and fearing the future. Today is all you have. Make the most of it. Make it worth remembering. Follow your ikigai. There is a passion inside of you, a unique talent that gives meaning to your days and drives you to share the best of yourself until the very end.