The Japanese concept of Ikigai loosely translates to ‘a reason for being’, and in the delightful book ‘Ikigai – The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life’ authors Hector Garcia and Albert Liebermann explore the custom and happiness of keeping busy and the art of doing something with joy. The Japanese live longer than any other culture in the world, in part due to a healthy diet, the tropical climate, the simplicity of being outdoors and the manner in which the notion of Ikigai shapes their lives. Your interior can embody Ikigai, with a focus on simplicity, raw materials, minimal clutter and lots of natural light.
Here I list 5 ways in which you can embrace Ikigai in your home:
Keeping your palette modest, neutral and most of all natural is a wonderful way to encourage a little Ikigai into your home. Raw and untouched materials such as wood cabinetry, linen fabrics and plastered walls can give an impression of serene calm and is harmonious with an Ikigai mindset. Pared down clean lines, simplistic silhouettes and cream, white and beige colours inspire an even energy flow and still aura within your interior. The Japanese concept of ‘Wabi – Sabi’ means splendour in the fleeting, changeable and imperfect nature of the world. This can pertain to your rustic natural materials, just because something is in a raw state, does not mean it is not pleasing and will not enhance the beauty within your home.
It is important to be attentive in reducing stress at home and one way to ensure you are not inviting anxiety and chaos is to form a desk or workspace that is uncluttered, calming and mindful. Spending a lot of time sitting down can be both physically and mentally draining. As Garcia and Liebermann state, too much time seated can reduce muscular and respiratory fitness which then in turn increases our appetite. Ikigai invites us to build a space that is both comfortable and reassuring, a sleek and tidy desk that will not distract you teamed with sumptuous fabrics and cosy cushions that allow pleasure in your work time.
RECONNECT TO NATURE
The ability to enjoy your home and recharge your soul is hugely influenced by the inclusion of natural materials and plant life. Botanicals that feel ethereal and like a breath of fresh air within your interior. Bringing the ‘outside’ indoors has often been a décor tip for generating a restful and quieting space, within Ikigai nature is a significant part of reconnecting with oneself and an opportunity for personal growth.
“Once you discover you Ikigai, pursuing it and nurturing it every day will bring meaning to your life. The moment your life has this purpose, you will have a happy state of flow in all you do”.
Japanese culture embraces the importance of strong social ties and family traditions, such as gathering for food and celebrations. Ikigai within the home can apply as you designate a communal area that underlines the consequence of togetherness, healthy diet and tasty food. The Japanese phrase “hara har hi bu” translates as ‘fill your belly to 80%’, this notion encourages easting a little less on smaller plates, that will benefit you in the long term. This adds up to a longer and happier life, both in your mental and physical well-being.
Ikigai persuades us to produce elected spaces in the home that are free from technology such as laptops, phones and televisions. A tech free interior incites peace and tranquillity, it allows us to grow and find purpose in our day, we can focus on tasks that make us happy with minimal distractions. There is a sophisticated simplicity to a room or space that has no technology, you can connect to what is meaningful and ‘live fully.’