Ikigai: The Reason That Gets Us Out of Bed in the Morning

Ikigai: The Reason That Gets Us Out of Bed in the Morning

Do you sometimes feel that you are not in the flow of life?

Sometimes, while doing a job, do you do it without being in the moment and without realizing it?

If your answers are “yes”, it means you haven’t met the ikigai philosophy yet.

Let’s go on a journey to increase your awareness and be able to look at life more meaningfully. On your journey to get to know Ikigai…

What is Ikigai?

Ikigai is a Japanese word that has multiple meanings. One of these meanings is “being happy by always being busy”. The meaning that we usually encounter and that will be mentioned in this article is “your reason for existence in life”, and the reason that gets you out of bed in the morning”. As it is known, the Japanese worked on healthy and long life so they pay attention to their diet and try to stay in balance. In addition to all these, studies have shown that their philosophy, ikigai, can be counted among the reasons that make a difference in their long and peaceful lives. Because according to the Japanese tradition, everyone has a purpose in life and it should be pursued. If it has not been discovered yet, it would be beneficial to start the journey by discovering this and developing one’s self for these purposes. So how should everyone discover their ikigai?

4 Questions to Help You Discover Yourself

There are four basic questions that the person is expected to ask oneself and that it is thought to be useful to answer. These four questions can show you the activities you need to do in the world by finding the intersection points and putting them into practice after asking yourself. The representation of these questions and their intersections in the diagram is as follows:

  • What do you really like to do?
  • What are you good at doing?
  • What does the world need you to do?
  • What can you do to make money?

we understand that the ikigai provides more efficient and useful outcomes to the Japanese who live peacefully, with high satisfaction, in balance and health. Being in the flow, staying focused in order to increase productivity, and doing the work with passion make things more beneficial. Studies show that being happy in life is directly proportional to being in the flow. Ensuring being able to adapt to this flow is due to the need to integrate with the work done as much as possible and to do it with passion. Then, success and peace will come closer. It is possible to make these comments when we look at the advice of the long-lived Okinawans. Okinawans’ attention to nutritional balance and their passionate pursuit of life goals have shown that they can do what they do best. During the research and interpretations of all these, It is possible to come across the book named “Ikigai-Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life and this article has been prepared by including references from this book.

Learning to Stop Life and Breathe

I think that the activities that take place in one’s routine and relax one’s mind are as important as the questions one asks oneself (mentioned above) in the discovery of ikigai. The anxieties and unease experienced by people can be considered very natural. Being able to stop and breathe in the flow of life and activities that will help the person remember themselves, their goals, passions, and values ​​can also play a big role in the discovery of ikigai. Among the suggestions made to ensure all these, we can give examples such as yoga, meditation, worship, and nature walks, where one can become aware of one’s own inner world.

Japanese Image

8 Weeks For Change

There is some research that shows that meditation shapes the brain and thinking. The most prominent of these studies is the study of Sara Lazar and her friends, a neuroscience scientist at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital. According to information obtained from an interview with Sara Lazar, meditating for 8 weeks to see a change in the brain can help make serious and positive changes in one’s life. Sara Lazar on these changes; While giving examples from his own life, he underlines the reduction of stress, clearer thinking, improvements in interpersonal communication, and empathy. If you want to reach the details of the study and get information about the subject, you can review the page whose link is shared.

How it Started Funny Dogs Comparison Photo Meme

10 Basic Rules of Ikigai

The ten basic rules of ikigai are summarized as follows in the book named “Ikigai-Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life” mentioned and cited above.

1 – Stay active, don’t retire,

2 – Take it slow, don’t lead a hasty life,

3 – Do not stuff your stomach,

4 – Have good friends around you,

5 – Get in shape, get rid of your excesses, exercise until the next birthday,

6 – Smile,

7 – Reconnect with nature,

8 – Give thanks,

9 – Live in the moment,

10 – Follow your ikigai, and realize your life purpose, if you don’t know it, make it your goal to explore.

Effects of the Pandemic on Ikigai

We know that while we are constantly busy catching up with the intensity of daily life, we may not be aware of everything mentioned here at all times. With the COVID-19 Pandemic, which has been the heavy and difficult test that humanity has passed, our way of life and business has changed to a great extent. While there used to be actions that were more integrated with social life in our life goals, now we are trying to stay healthy and manage our affairs from the home environment as much as possible. While we try to keep ourselves healthy both physically and mentally, we can feel tired and overwhelmed from time to time. At such times, I would like to share a few suggestions that might be good to remind ourselves and examine the event from a different perspective with an extraordinary example.

In this period when we focus on running our business and education from our homes, it may be a good start to remind ourselves of saving time and not to forget that we can save ourselves more time with the right planning. Thinking that these times we gain from traffic and long and unproductive lunch breaks are “gifted” to us and organizing activities that can be good for us, maybe amuse or relax during these times will help us to relax both physically and spiritually, so we can act more efficiently in our work.


However, we should be aware of the fact that the time spent in front of the screen is increasing in order to carry out the work, and in order to eliminate the harmful effects of this situation, we should not keep ourselves from the small exercises that can be done at home to become aware of our ikigai instead of staying still. Thus, while protecting our physical and mental health, we can enjoy “recognizing the moment” and “staying in the moment” in the time we will spare for ourselves.

The Scientist Who Discovered His Ikigai in the Pandemic: Isaac Newton

Isaac Newton was a university student when the “Great Plague” took place in 1655, which affected the whole world and affected a large part of the population in England. It was a time when the authorities encouraged staying at home and trying to keep public health safe in order to reduce the rate of the epidemic. In such a period, Newton took refuge in the family farm temporarily and almost discovered his life purpose, his ikigai, with the work he did here. It is said that the tree, which is the subject of the “apple tree – law of gravity” story that comes to mind when Newton is mentioned, is also on this farm. If you want to reach the details of the story, you can reach the news page from the link added to the “Further Readings” section.

Newton Pandemic

What Does Ikigai Briefly Tell Us?

In summary, even if we have to deal with the serious destruction brought by the living conditions and the difficult period;

– that there can always be a purpose and passion for life,

– that we can find this passion, purpose, motivation by discovering ourselves inside, rather than looking for it somewhere else,

– that the existence of auxiliary factors that can move us and enable us to discover our ikigai can be discovered if we want,

– It would be beneficial to look at the event from a different and positive point of view, instead of giving up and giving up on various difficulties that we encounter in the flow of life,

– that people can realize the beauty when they “recognize the moment” and focus on living without breaking away from life.

I hope this article, written for awareness, will remind you that you have a purpose in this journey and that you have the potential to realize this purpose while you are reading this article.

We wish you to stay with health, hope, passion and the beauty that the discovery of your ikigai will bring you…

References and Further Readings

Francesc Miralles i Contijoch & Héctor García. (2016). Ikigai – The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life. Indigo Book

Koyuncu, H. (2020, March 24). He also obeyed the ‘stay at home’ call: Isaac Newton and the great plague epidemic. Retrieved April 30, 2021, from

Schulte, B. (2019, May 03). Harvard neuroscientist: Meditation not only reduces stress, Here’s how it changes your brain. Retrieved April 30, 2021, from

You can access the sources of the images used by clicking on the images.

The proofreading has been done by Asu Pelin Akköse and Mete Esencan.

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Sima Türküner

Hello there! I'm Sima Turkuner. I am a Political Science and Public Administration student at METU. I love to research, learn and share what I have learned. I would like to share with you my articles on topics that I find interesting.

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