Eudaimonia is the final stage of the journey towards empowerment, happiness, and inclusion. Helping the people we work with reach their full potential in society and within their community is the reason why we do the work that we do. This blog post will look at what eudaimonia is. It will also tell some of the stories of the people who have participated in our programmes and inclusive martial art sessions and illustrate how Ikkaido's 6E strategy has helped them in their journey towards reaching eudaimonia.
Ewi's (left) health and well-being improved massively after engaging in health-enhancing physical activity and working with Ikkaido after a tough couple of years.
What is Eudaimonia?
Eudaimonia is human flourishing in society. A person, regardless of their disadvantages, functioning to their fullest potential and creating positive changes in their community.
Eudaimonia relates to
In 1998, Martin Seligman conducted a scientific study called Positive Psychology on what makes life most worth living. The study focused on the concept of eudaimonia. Through this research, Seligman created "The Questionnaire for Eudaimonic Well-Being," which listed six dimensions of eudaimonia:
Perceived development of one's best potentials;
A sense of purpose and meaning in life;
Investment of significant effort in pursuit of excellence;
Intense involvement in activities; and
Enjoyment of activities as personally expressive.
All our projects and programmes are designed to deliver on these six dimensions. Inclusive Martial Arts and health-enhancing physical activity aid self-discovery by encouraging self-reflection and motivation. Courses such as BOOST help participants discover their strengths and weaknesses, providing them with the tools to improve their well-being. Projects that focus on entrepreneurship, such as EVA-FEM and In Touch, help participants to achieve their greatest potential and ability. Encouraging people with disabilities and fewer opportunities to work within their communities to support one another and discover their passions and value drives a deeper sense of purpose and meaning in life. In line with the pursuit of excellence, our programmes also focus on educating participants, improving their access to regulated qualifications and increasing their employability. For example, Financial Lit 4 Women and BEAT IT! teach participants new skills and assist them in becoming the best versions of themselves. PRIMAE also offers people with disabilities and fewer opportunities fully accessible and inclusive OFQUAL regulated qualifications. All our work involves encouraging active participation in activities, from inclusive martial arts to self-defence classes to entrepreneurial workshops, as well as many more. The purpose of the projects and programmes we deliver is to encourage personal expression and enjoyment on people's way to eudaimonia.
Aristotle coined the term to mean the 'highest human good'.
Eudaimonia Success Stories
There are countless success stories of Ikkaido engaging people in the 6E strategy and helping them towards reaching eudaimonia. Below are just a few of the people Ikkaido has helped.
M celebrating at Buckingham Palace, September 2019.
We have been following M's story in our previous blog posts on Ikkaido's 6E strategy to eudaimonia. M is one of the people that we have engaged in the 6E strategy. We have had the joy of seeing her flourish in society and achieve her dreams.
M had always dreamed of becoming a PE teacher. However, the horrific experiences M endured meant that her life had gone horribly off-track from what she imagined it to be as a child.
At the age of 11 she was routinely physically and sexually abused by her father. Sport participation helped her to cope, but a knee injury left her unable to take part. Without sport, she began to self-harm and frequently ended up in hospital. At 23, her husband was investigated for the abuse of one their children. The self-harm became so horrific that she used a cheese grater to disfigure her face and arms. A few years later, a botched operation left her with multiple physical and mental impairments. M was extremely depressed when she began to search for help for her and her son's.
Ikkaido engaged M in the 6E journey. Previous blog posts illustrate how Ikkaido engaged and empowered M, helped her with education and employability, and developed her entrepreneurial skillset to get her to where she is now and equip her with the ability to achieve her dream of becoming a PE teacher.
M's story is one of phenomenal success. In just a few years, M went from being severely unwell and suicidal to living the life she had always dreamed of with her two happy and healthy sons by her side. As a result of engaging in the 6E journey to eudaimonia, M was able to improve her physical and mental health, expand her skill set, and pursue her dreams again. M's recovery and achievements were so successful that they were recognised in 2019, when she was invited to celebrate at Buckingham Palace. In 2018, M won Disability Coach of the Year after taking several coaching qualifications in Inclusive Martial Arts with Ikkaido, qualifying her to teach. She is currently the “Face” of Lucozade Sport and a representative for the role of sport in improving people's wellbeing. Above all, though, it was landing a job teaching PE in a Primary School - achieving her childhood dream - that really marked success and happiness for M. After all her years of struggle and hardship, it is safe to say that M flourishes in society, is a role model in her community, and has achieved eudaimonia.
"I came to Ikkaido through the Kickstart Scheme that Universal Credit was offering, which happened to be one of the best things that has ever happened to me. I had been signed off work for months with depression and was still quite unwell when I began working with Ikkaido. My anxiety was overwhelming and I was trapped in a vicious cycle, wondering how I would ever get out of it.
My body was still recovering from severe depression when I began my job as a Marketing and Fundraising Officer. I had very low energy levels and got physically and mentally exhausted easily. The Ikkaido team were incredibly supportive in every aspect of my life and cared most about my wellbeing. The job gave me purpose and enabled me to write - something I enjoy enormously - along with developing my skillset and learning employable skills. The opportunity to work within a community and help others was incredibly rewarding and gave me a purpose.
I was so physically weak when I was depressed that I struggled to walk longer than 30 minutes. Ikkaido engaged me in weekly martial art sessions, which gradually improved my fitness. I'm now the most fit I've been in years and work out regularly, whilst still participating in karate.
Ikkaido also put me on to BOOST, a programme to monitor and improve my wellbeing. BOOST has enabled me to see the areas that need improving in my life and has given me the tools to improve them. I work with a mentor and coach weekly, helping to overcome my anxiety and the mental barriers that I face. My diet and eating is also something I have struggled with. The team at Ikkaido have helped me improve my diet by teaching me about nutrition and helping me overcome psychological barriers, enabling me to eat foods I would never have dreamed of eating.
Ikkaido has helped me overcome huge psychological barriers that I didn't think were possible to change. I can't thank them enough for the help they have given me. My experience at Ikkaido has been truly life-changing."
Kit is 22 and lives in Oxford. He has autism, anxiety, depression, and borderline personality disorder. Before Kit came to Ikkaido, he had recently dropped out of university and moved back in with his Dad. Kit was struggling and things at home weren't great during lockdown. As a consequence, Kit's mental health was in a pretty bad way. Kit decided to come to Ikkaido because he knew that exercise can improve your mental health and because he wanted to do something that was specifically for disabled people.
"I can't recommend Ikkaido enough. I really think it's done wonders for my mental health.”
Kit said of his experience, "I'm so glad I did it. Having something that I can escape to and throw myself into, and where I can forget about everything else that's going on in my life has been great for my mental health. I've also found it to be a great emotional outlet. It feels good to be good at something again and to connect with other disabled people. I don't have to hide who I am and I don't have to worry about trying to hide my disabilities either. I can't recommend Ikkaido enough. I really think it's done wonders for my mental health."