The art of simplicity

It seems the people of Ikaria, a Greek Island in the Aegean sea, have the art of simplicity sown up. And it seems that simplicity can lead to a (very) long and healthy life. I read this great article by Dan Buettner, and couldn’t help but want to visit Ikaria. I have no desire to live to be a centenarian, but it captured my heart with regards to the way of life on this island. It seems that they know how to live and breath simplicity.

Not Ikaria, but from the beautiful island of Naxos

The key points that spoke to me were:

  • Exercise as part of everyday life. Garden, walk around the town, use your body each and every day.
  • Don’t focus on time. Be fully present in the moment, and enjoy where you are now.
  • Take regular afternoon naps and have regular sex.
  • Eat food from the land, high in nutrients and low in animal fat and dairy. Also very little sugar and white flour is consumed.
  • It’s also not just WHAT is eaten, but HOW. Take time in the company of friends to enjoy your meal. “Food here is always enjoyed in combination with conversation.”
  • Spend time with friends, just hanging out, drinking, talking and laughing. There is something quite powerful about having a sense of belong and a way to be engaged in your life and the life of others.
  • There is a real sense of community, with there apparently being no word in Greek for privacy. “When everyone knows everyone else’s business, you get a feeling of connection and security.” There is a sense of belonging and that everyone is looking out for you.
  • Have a sense of purpose. As Dan noted, “Being able to define your life meaning adds to your life expectancy.”

I hope to be able to go to Ikaria one day, but in the meantime I will take their lessons and implement as much as I can in my day-to-day London life.

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