From Denmark to Japan to the ancient art of yoga, we’re looking at new ways to be healthier, happier, and generally more chill in 2018 and beyond.
“Ikigai is personal; it reflects the inner self of an individual and expresses that faithfully.”
– Noriyuki Nakanishi, Osaka University
Ikigai is essentially about finding one’s purpose in life, to do something rewarding and find your ‘reason for being’. This could be to do with work, family or something else. The concept is often given credit for the longer life span of many Japanese people. Everyone will have a personal ikigai. It’s a fairly complex combination of finding the perfect balance between what you love doing, what you are good at, what you can get paid for doing, and what the world needs. And this is just a very simplified explanation. In reality, finding your ikigai takes years, and you may not even find it until you’re older. As it’s deeply personal, any of the elements could not apply. For example, only 31% of Japanese people in a 2010 survey said they consider work as ikigai.
The island of Okinawa off the south west coast of Japan is often looked to in pursuit of ikigai explanations. The population there has an higher than average amount of people that are over 100 years old. Ikigai is ingrained into their lives and is thought to be part of the reason people are living so long there, they know their purpose in life and put it into action. Your ikigai can change as you grow older, it doesn’t have to be set in stone. So no need to add it to your endless list of things to worry about, along with what to have for dinner tonight.
In the meantime, ikigai is one of our inspirations for FLOW, bloomon’s new bouquet collection.
“The most important pieces of equipment you need for doing yoga are your body and your mind.“
– Rodney Yee, famed American yoga instructor
Yoga sprung into the mainstream as a fitness trend in the early noughties, after Madonna and Geri Halliwell were papped carrying yoga mats on the streets of London. But the concept is about more than just honing your abs for the summer holidays. It’s a set of practices or disciplines incorporating mind, body and soul. Originating in ancient India, yoga as a self-care concept is somewhat of an umbrella term. There’s loads of different schools of thought on yoga, but generally it’s a form of exercise involving holding poses, which fuses breathing and focus into the moves, so you can listen to your body and be at one with yourself. Society conditions us to believe only external ‘things’ can make us happy, but the mental teachings of yoga are that you should look within to find happiness. It’s a shame all we can think about is not collapsing when pulling our downward dog move…
“Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.”
– Gautama Buddha, who needs little introduction
Siddhārtha Gautama was the first person to teach Buddhism around 2,500 years ago in India. He was a prince who gave up his riches in the pursuit to end suffering. Buddhists say there were Buddhas – or enlightened ones – before him, but he was the first to teach it to the people. His teachings spread to Central and South-East Asia after his death, and are now practiced in Japan, China and Mongolia and other areas of the West.
Buddhism is the teaching that most life will include suffering, but you can be happy by reaching a state of ‘nirvana’, meaning ‘to be enlightened’. Buddhism teaches that to end suffering, you must let go of the ‘wants’ that you can’t have, and that suffering comes from desire, anger and stupidity (must remember this on the Monday morning commute). You must rid yourself of intolerance and hatred, to be truly happy. And let’s not forget karma: If you do good things, good things will come to you. There are some key ‘rules’ Buddhists live by and they follow ‘The Eightfold Noble Path’, which includes, for example, not harming others and to give up all worldly things. Maybe there’s an app for that?
“Live life today like there is no coffee tomorrow.”
– Meik Wiking, the author of The Little Book of Hygge
Hygge exploded in 2016 as the hot new lifestyle trend. Nordic-inspired hipster drinking spots sprang up, we purchased an insane amount of candles, and we didn’t drink mulled wine anymore – we drank gløgg. But, in Denmark, where it hails from, that’s kinda the opposite of what it stands for. It’s not a trend at all. Hygge is ingrained into Danish people and culture. It’s more than hot drinks, blankets and cosyness. It’s about doing things you like and spending time with your loved ones, feeling safe and calm. Meik Wiking, who is also the CEO at The Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen, explains:“We are social creatures, and the importance of this is clearly seen when one compares the satisfaction people feel in relationships with their overall satisfaction with life. The most important social relationships are close relationships in which you experience things together with others, and experience being understood; where you share thoughts and feelings, and both give and receive support. In one word: hygge.” Don’t forget: Denmark regularly tops the polls for being the world’s happiest country. Get hygge with it.
“Lagom: Not too much, not too little, but perfect.”
– Ella Frances Sanders, International bestselling author and illustrator of ‘Lost in Translation’
Lagom is another Scandi concept. Translated into English from Swedish, it effectively means ‘not too little, not too much’ – or ‘just enough’. The concept is applied to everything from food and drink to people’s achievements . Something isn’t considered lagom if it’s too rich and flashy, or if you at least to *talk *about being rich and flashy. The overall national outlook on life is one of modesty, that nobody is better than anyone else. You won’t get any kudos from the Swedes for showing off your new rolex watch or talking about how much you spent on a new car. Maybe if we applied lagom to post-work drinks we wouldn’t wake up with a hangover so often.