Ikigai - The Japanese, foolproof formula for happiness..
15 May 2019 - by Lily Butcher

Finding your bliss with Ikigai - The Japanese, foolproof formula for happiness.
During the month of May here at Urban Jungle, we’re celebrating all thing Japanese in our Nurseries and Cafes. There’re so many elements of this incredible culture that we admire, with one of the most intriguing customs being ‘Ikigai’, simply translated as ‘finding your purpose in life’.

What is Ikigai?
Pronounced ‘ik-ee-guy’ and originating on the Japanese island of Okinawa, Ikigai is an ancient practice that promises to help you find happiness and in-turn, live longer.

Per-capita, more people live to be 100 years or older on Okinawa, than anywhere else in the world. This may be a coincidence, but to us, there’s definitely a connection between Ikigai and a happier, longer life. 
The premise of the practice is to find the perfect balance between your passions, your needs,
your talents and financial stability, to be truly blissful.

Japanese ikigai

Japanese Ikigai
The word derives from ‘iki’ meaning life and ‘kai’ meaning purpose, or the realisation of hopes and expectations. In a nutshell, Ikigai is all about finding your reason to wake up in the morning.
Can you imagine a whole island full of people who have lived over a century and don’t even have a word for retirement, let alone believe in it? Well it’s true! Instead they depend on their ‘Ikigai’ to keep them working as long as they're physically able.

okinawa ikigai
The island of Okinawa. Home to breathtaking beaches, limestone caves and mangrove forests. 
You can see why a peaceful life is attainable here.

How to find your Ikigai
Here at Urban Jungle, our Ikigai is obvious. Plants, plants and more wonderful plants! We use these to inspire others to create their own jungle at home, which we know is proven to help improve mental health and well-being, feeling relaxed and reducing anxiety and stress. Plants really do make people happy.

lily ikigai
Lily, finding her Ikigai amongst the plants at Urban Jungle

For you, Ikigai could be taking time to work on a passion outside of work and your everyday tasks. This could be meditation, art, volunteering or growing your own food. The ultimate Ikigai? Try and find yourself a job that ticks all of the boxes below!

ikigai formula
The formula for a long and happy life

Remember that your Ikigai doesn’t have to be a talent that you spend years perfecting. As long as whatever it is makes you happy, makes the world a better place, and relieves other potentially stressful areas of your life,  whether it's contributing financially, or improving your home life, then it can be your Ikigai.

Here at Urban Jungle, we believe growing plants perfectly ticks all the boxes (or circles) for Ikigai. 

Most adults in the UK love gardening - it is the nations favourite hobby. There is a trend with younger people for growing houseplants, and this will undoubtedly develop into a deep connection with plants and nature as they mature. The world need plants! 

Concrete jungles are harmful to our spirit. By growing plants in our gardens we are providing food and habitat for wildlife, and providing beauty, and air quality for our neighbours and communities. 

You don't have to be good at growing plants to get started. We can guarantee you that you'll have plenty of losses in the early days, but this is how we learn. Over time you'll improve your observation of a plant's needs, and your knowledge of how to respond, just like caring for a child. Your love of plants and gardens will continue to grow throughout your life - we've never even heard of anyone who's 'gone off' gardening - it just doesn't happen.

And finally, will it make you money? Well there aren't many professional gardeners who become millionaires, but you could make a living from your passion. Developing your own beautiful garden, and filling your house with beautiful houseplants, will undoubtedly increase the value of your property, and make it more saleable.

Behold, the bliss!
As modern life gets more and more hectic, finding time for your passions seems like hard work, but it’s vital in living a long and happy life.

In summary, you're simply looking to make time for, and give proper attention to the things in life that make you happy and improve your general well-being. Simple!

The best thing about all of this is you don’t need any preparation to find your Ikigai, you can start right now! Good luck.

What's your Ikigai? Comment below...

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