Summary: Okinawa is located in the famously called Blue Zone. Here people live way longer than the average Western life cycle, Okinawan have drive, purpose and a close-knit society. We endevaour to look in to what makes their lifestyle so admirable.
What is the secret to longevity and vitality?
If it would be a simple solution, we would all live well over 100 years. Instead, the world is ridden with various diseases related to food, chemicals, pollution, and lifestyle. We are too busy to eat properly, and too caught up with work to do daily exercise. There isn’t enough time to cultivate friendships and relationships with family. Most modern cultures circle around achievements that are measurable in money, and recognition by society.
There is a place on Earth where people live longer than almost anywhere else on the Earth, a place called Okinawa.
Okinawa- an island in south Japan
The inhabitants of this island carry the secret to longevity and vitality. They live a long, happy and purposeful life. It is necessary to accentuate the word “purposeful”. Even at old age, people get out of bed in the morning with a purpose, a drive, and meaning. They all have clear and divided responsibilities that motivate them through their lives into old age.
Despite the tough and rural environment of the island, and limited access to modern medicine and healthcare, Okinawans are healthier than our Western society. They don’t have cancer, heart disease, diabetes, they don’t struggle with mental issues such as dementia or depression. Also, Okinawan women live the longest on Earth.
Okinawan foster the feeling of Ikigai
Ikigai is the reason for being; a deep sense of value in one’s life. It is the reason to live and to get up in the morning. it means a sense of belonging, satisfaction, and accomplishment that comes from having a daily goal or task to accomplish. Ikigai isn’t about money or success but rather refers to one’s spiritual and mental health while living a life with natural and spontaneous actions.
The meaning of Family
In Okinawa, people foster close and meaningful relationships with each other. Friends and family support each other through life and people are not left alone and unattended. The old support the young, and the young support the old, all living in a friendly and positive symbiosis. These social networks help to reduce stress while also provide a secure support in daily life, where people know they have others to count on when they are in any kind of need.
Clean eating; plant and tofu-based diet
Most Okinawans consume a vegetable and tofu-based, lean, clean, and light diet. They eat nutritious, and low-calorie meals combined with various soy dishes. This diet helps them to stay healthy, and fit. Avoiding heavy meats, as well as fats, sugar and altogether processed food supports a fight against cancer, heart diseases, and also obesity. Metabolism boosting green tea is heavily included in the daily diet. They also consume lots of ginger, mugwort, various herbs, and chilies.
Daily physical activity
Besides eating light and healthy, Okinawan believe in the power of exercise. They build their daily rituals through walking, dancing, and gardening. They spend a substantial amount of time in the outside breathing in fresh air and enjoying the positive benefits of sunshine. With regular access to sunshine and exercise, they are healthier, with stronger bones, higher vitamin levels and in a brighter mood.
Approach to life
Life in Okinawa isn’t necessarily a walk in the park. Although I managed to paint a very bright and easy looking picture of it. It has a strangled, and dark past, that Okinawan manage to leave in the past where it belongs. They focus instead on the simple pleasures of the now.
What we take away from this culture, from one of the very few places located in the Blue Zone, is that life quality should not be measured but fortune and fame. Rather fostering quality of relationships, finding peace of mind in simple everyday acts, and living an activemeaningful life.