The title of this post is the title of a book by Dr. Victor Stretcher. Its subtitle is “How Living for What Matters Most Changes Everything.” This book was referenced previously in the healthy memory blog post, “Ikigai Cuts the Risk of Alzheimer’s in Half.” Although Dr. Strecher never uses “Ikigai” HM will continue to use it because it is concise, captures the meaning precisely, and has been used previously in this blog.
Dr. Strecher asks the reader to consider if purpose (Ikigai) were a drug. “So let’s imagine a drug that was shown to add years to your life; reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke; reduce you risk of Alzheimer’s disease b more than half; help you relax during the day and sleep better at night; double your chances of staying drug- and alcohol-free after treatment; activate your natural killer cells; diminish your inflammatory cells; increase your good cholesterol and repair your DNA. What if this imaginary dog reduced hospital stays so much tat it put a dent in the national health-care crisis? Oh, and as a bonus, gave you better sex?”
Your response might well be what kind of snake-oil is this. However, there is empirical research backing these claims. The difficulty is that this is not a pill. It is a matter of lifestyle governed by Ikigai, having a meaningful purpose in life. Reading this book is interesting. However, achieving the results cited in the previous paragraph requires a lifestyle and a manner of thinking. Dr. Strecher’s book provides guidance on how to do this. Many healthy memory posts will be based on this work, but they can only scratch the surface.