Now, this may seem like a surprise. All the doubts have a base in the fact that work does cause stress in certain instances. Stress, in turn, has been the cause of many maladies, disorders and an early death. If so, then why are Japanese women still the fittest and the oldest in the entire world? The answer is a bit more complex, but it lies in the difference between the notion of work there. We don’t look at work the same way. Productivity makes a human being have a purpose. He does something beneficial and gets rewarded for it. In these cases, people both provide for their families and make their society a better place. In the western part of the world, we tend to despise work and view it as slavery for low wages. It only causes stress and is, in many cases, a necessary evil for all those who want to survive. In Japan, things are way different.
If an employee is productive in Japan, he is rewarded and praised for his contributions. The salaries are really high, so people feel like they’re investing effort and it pays off. But, that’s not even the whole story. Ever since an early age, the Japanese are taught that working hard is something to be proud of. Their parents and teachers often point out that there is beauty in the struggle. Because of this, their entire economy and industry function flawlessly. Not only are people happier, but they better their environment. That happiness and a sense of belongings are the reasons for longevity. Also, running around all day is a great day to melt some extra pounds. That, along with standing the entire day because of commuting, are excellent ways to live a long, fit life.
We all know that stress ravages the body and damages it in the long term. Even though we mistake stress for a mere emotion, it takes its toll on the body as well. It manifests itself in many different ways. Signs and symptoms vary from person to person. What they have in common is that they cause the body harm and can reduce your life expectancy. Unchecked, stress can lead to multiple debilitating physical conditions. The organ most affected by stress is the heart. When you feel stressed, your heart is pumping harder trying to get hormones to the body to help you cope. A heart cannot sustain such additional activity for prolonged periods of time. This makes the heart susceptible to diseases that can cause it to stop functioning correctly. The added pressure of your blood pumping through the vessels can lead to high blood pressure, which is known as the ‘silent killer.’ Untreated, it can result in an untimely death.
Stress-related eating can lead to obesity and Type 2 diabetes. These health conditions weaken the heart and the body’s systems at large. Stress ages you and makes you look and feel older than what you are. Managing your stress is essential. Most stress cannot be avoided, but it can be managed. Japanese women cope with stress by making the most of the time they get off from work. They don’t laze around though. They participate in community events on national public holidays. It’s normal to go out for the day on an excursion. Usually, it concludes with a bit of shopping. And most women would agree: that’s a de-stressor of note! Sticking to the traditions of Japanese life and incorporating them into the fast-paced lifestyle of today seems to help Japanese women.
Japanese people eat out far less than their Western counterparts. Although they have access to the same takeout restaurants such as MacDonald’s, they don’t make a habit of frequenting them too often. This reduces the amount of unhealthy, unsaturated fats they eat. It’s convenient to grab some takeout after a long day, but it doesn’t do your body any favors. But these meals are loaded with fats and carbohydrates. They don’t contain that much protein. And they contain hardly any vitamins and minerals. The sense of fullness you feel after eating an unhealthy takeout meal is temporary. But the effects on your body are permanent. Intake of foods such as these on a regular basis leads to conditions such as cholesterol. Your heart’s health is in danger. Filling your body with these meals affects your body’s ability to process and break down sugar. This, in turn, will lead to Type 2 diabetes. Takeout meals that are eaten on a weekly basis expose you to the risk of heart disease and diabetes. Too much takeout can see your life cut short.
Bear in mind that just because you’re avoiding takeout restaurants and eating at home doesn’t mean you’re eating healthily. If you’re buying processed foods, you are exposing your body to colors, flavors, and preservatives. Excess sugar, fat, or salt in these meals can be nasty for you. This is where Japanese women have the advantage. Their diets are rich in whole foods which are not processed. They eat a lot of vegetables which are rich in vitamins and minerals. They also consume more rice as carbohydrates than wheat. Food is prepared from scratch which is the healthiest way to go about making meals. Eating out is reserved for special occasions and does not happen often.
Japanese women are renowned for their beautiful, flawless skin. They tend to look younger as it seems that their skin does not age until they get much older. Japanese women don’t get wrinkles as soon as Western women. While they are genetically predisposed to a fabulous skin, they don’t leave it to chance. Japanese women have skincare routines to keep them looking youthful. Their diet also contributes to their age-defying skin. One of the most important skincare factors that keep Japanese women’s skin looking fresh is cleanliness. Hygiene is important in the Japanese culture, and the skin is no exception. Removing makeup and making sure there are no traces left behind is one of the critical steps in the process of skin care. They use an oil-based cleanser. Western women tend to avoid oil-based products as they believe oil is bad for the skin. The Japanese believe that keeping a balance of moisture but getting rid of dirt particles is the secret to good skin.
Keeping the facial skin pores clean is the next step. This is about removing oils that you don’t want on your skin. These include the oils secreted by perspiration and those that pollution adds to the air. A good toner keeps the pores tightened up and reduces their visibility. Products containing alcohol are avoided. Lotion or moisturizer keeps the skin elastic and looking youthful. Touch is an integral part of a Japanese woman’s skincare routine. Massage is a technique used by many women to keep their skin looking young. Women use their fingers and the whole hand to perform facial massages. They also have wooden rollers that they use. These techniques stimulate the generation of new skin cells. They keep a healthy flow of blood to the skin as well which is essential for the healing of damaged skin cells.
One of the unique features of the Japanese diet is wasabi. This plant, commonly known as Japanese horseradish gives a meal an entirely different flavor. It is a staple addition to meals in many Japanese households. It is famous as a condiment for sashimi and sushi. But it also forms part of many other traditional Japanese recipes. Eaten in moderation, wasabi has many health benefits which can make you look and feel younger. Unlike chili peppers which contain capsaicin and make your tongue feel like it’s on fire, wasabi works differently. It has an olfactory effect. The chemicals released when you eat it form vapors that affect your nasal passages. The isothiocyanate antioxidants make wasabi a powerful contributor to a healthy immune system.
Wasabi is low in calories and saturated fats but rich in fiber and protein. It contains the minerals zinc, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, and sodium. The range of B vitamins present in wasabi is impressive, not to mention its Vitamin A and C content as well. Wasabi can prevent certain types of cancer. It also slows down the rate at which cancerous cells grow. These include stomach cancer and leukemia cells. It seems that wasabi can promote the death of cancer cells. This cell death is called apoptosis. Wasabi has anti-hypercholesterolemic properties. They can help to lower cholesterol levels which reduce the risk of heart disease. Wasabi is also a natural inhibitor of clot formation. Clots that form and pass through the brain can cause a stroke. This wonder food is also an anti-inflammatory effect, keeping your joints feeling younger. The high fiber content of wasabi makes it essential for proper digestion and gut health. This is vital for maintaining a healthy weight.
The Japanese have an important concept that forms one of the cornerstones of their culture. It is called ikigai. The term is divided into two words. They are iki which means life and gai which means worth. It’s about a feeling of self-fulfillment and happiness that comes from within. Ikigai is about what brings joy into your life. It could be your job. But it could just as well be your family, a hobby, or an interest. Add to this the concept of yarigai. This speaks to the value of doing something. Hatarakigai is the value of working. Combined, these concepts create a ‘formula’ for happiness for the Japanese. Ikigai has to do with your future and what you plan to do to fulfill yourself and your dreams. It creates a sense of hope and something to look forward to. A sense of purpose allows you to face adversity and conquer it. This is an essential aspect of the concept of happiness in Japanese culture. In Western culture, happiness emphasizes feeling good and having positive thoughts. Japanese culture, however, also takes into account the ability to be hopeful in the face of obstacles as being part of a state of happiness.
Being conscious of what makes you happy and satisfied is based on emotion, not logic. This is difficult to assign to the Japanese culture with its reputation for clinical efficiency and scientific genius. But the Japanese are taught from the time they are young to be in touch with their feelings. They are encouraged to identify their ikigai and make the most of it. Feeling self-fulfilled and happy keeps you looking and feeling younger. The positive feelings it gives you and a sense of purpose make you feel invigorated and alive. Happiness prevents comfort eating, which is the cause of a lot of people’s obesity. Finding ikigai and acting on it seem to benefit Japanese women and keep them looking and feeling more youthful.