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Unlocking Ikigai: Embrace Your Purpose and Free Yourself from Emotional Eating

How do you start your day?

Do you eagerly embrace each new morning, or is it only immense effort that gets you out from your cosy bed?

If you're in the first group, you may have discovered your Ikigai. For those in the second, never fear; your Ikigai is just be waiting to reveal itself!

Ikigai is a beautiful Japanese philosophy that seeks to harmonise the spiritual and the practical in our lives. It's about understanding ourselves, what drives us, and infusing our life with meaning and passion. The term "Ikigai" can be roughly translated to "reason for being," embodying the essence of purpose in our lives. When we identify our purpose, our actions align towards it, providing us with fulfilment, meaning, and a deep sense of contentment.

For many of us, food has been a source of comfort during difficult times...a friend in lonely moments, a companion in times of stress. Emotional eating can become a way to cope with our inner struggles. This is where the concept of Ikigai gains even more significance. When we don't have Ikigai we feel lost, out of integrity, or just 'off'. It's not just about finding our purpose, but also about understanding the relationship between our emotions and our actions, especially when it comes to nourishing your body and soul.

Discovering this purpose becomes motivation and nourishment, not just for the body but for the mind and soul. It's a constant source of satisfaction, vital for our overall well-being. Without purpose, we may find ourselves drifting, lacking direction and achievement, which can impact our eating habits.

Dating back to the 8th century, Ikigai aims to guide us towards finding that meaning and fulfilment and is often illustrated in a Venn diagram, where four elements overlap:

  • What you love.

  • What you're good at.

  • What the world needs

  • and what you can be paid for.

An Ikigai diagram for emotional eaters

If you still need to find your Ikigai, don't worry. There are various ways to shift your focus and discover your purpose. As neuroscientist Ken Mogi suggests, finding pleasure and satisfaction in what you do and excelling at it can be your Ikigai, whatever your profession or status.

Hobbies, family, or even diving into a passion project you've always dreamed of can all be your Ikigai. It can also evolve throughout your life, just like your taste in music or fashion. So, if you have yet to find it, keep exploring and trying new things to discover what truly ignites your passion.

In a study in Kyotango, Kyoto, researchers found that centenarians had one thing in common: a daily hobby they were passionate about. This deep interest provided immense satisfaction, potentially contributing to their long, joyful lives. Passion, dedication, and contentment are the places where we find our meaning. This sense of purpose replenishes our body, mind, and soul, guiding and sustaining us through our journey.

So, if you're struggling to face each day and turn to food for comfort, why not try searching for your Ikigai? To do that remember the circles and ask yourself - what do I love, what am I good at, what does the world need and what can I be paid for?

Finding our Ikigai helps us understand and manage emotional eating, and is part of our journey towards a fulfilling life, so be kind to yourself....and if you'd like to see Ikigai in action, why not check out this blog post, which is my example


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