The Island of Happiness and Longevity
Can you imagine a life filled with happiness, no stress, good health, and almost limitless aging? Have you ever wondered what the secret is to living a happy life? Welcome to Ikaria!
This Greek island is off the Aegean Sea where living there is living a youthful life filled with happiness. The island of Ikaria is about 25 miles of beautiful mountains, surrounded by the blue Mediterranean sea. Ikaria’s population is less than 10,000 ageless people. The people that live on the island of Ikaria are known as “Ikarians”. People that refuse to die, by refusing to be stressed, sick or senile. Sounds impossible, right? On this island- it is possible.
Ikaria Is a Blue Zone
Ikaria is famous for being one of the “Blue Zones” in the world. So, what’s their secret to the fountain of youth? Well, it’s a combination of a few things based on the Ikarian culture and island consensus. They didn’t suddenly all agree to live a long life. It just happens to be this way because of their environment.
Did you know that Ikaria is known for having the most siblings over age 90! More so than anywhere else in the world. It’s their way of life. They organically take care of their overall physical and emotional health. Ikarians do not go to the gym, and they don’t take any special pills or supplements. They also don’t go on any fad diets.
They walk everywhere. Strangely enough, wheelchair accessibility doesn’t exist there. If they have an artificial leg and walk with a cane, they still walk everywhere. There are no escalators, or even shuttle buses to take you places. Ikarians can burn over 1,000 calories just by doing everyday work, household chores, walking to the store, or walking to see their friends. So, how do they seem to outlive us by at least 10 years or more? Here are the amazing Ikarian secrets we must know:
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1. The Ikarian Diet
They eat amazing food and drink homemade wine. It’s not a typical bottle of red wine, like Merlot. We are talking homemade and very strong. Drinking to Ikarians is not something that they come home and do after work. They don’t come home to a glass of wine after being stressed working all day. It’s always consumed with food or friends. They drink a lot, but they rarely drink alone. Some drink 3 glasses of wine per day. You might be thinking wow, 3 glasses a day could be considered an alcoholic. However, alcoholics don’t necessarily live to be 90-125 years of age. It’s all about moderation in consumption and a balanced lifestyle.
The Mediterranean diet is part of their lifestyle as well. They eat fresh plant-based foods, fish, nuts, fruit, and a little protein, but not too much. It’s also common for them to eat foods such as honey as a natural remedy to coat the stomach. Typically, they will eat a big spoonful of honey on toast in the morning and drink natural homemade herbal tea by the gallons, which is considered a natural diuretic to keep inflammation at bay. Some people joke that Ikarians must have a natural aphrodisiac in their tea because they are even more frisky during their old youthful age.
2. The Ikarian Family Life
Have you heard of the saying, “It takes a village to raise a family?” This is true for Ikarians. Grandparents and older people are treasured in Ikaria. They all live together. It’s not like many families in the United States where older parents are sent to a nursing home to live with people they don’t know, because they can’t be taken care of by their own relatives. In Ikaria, family and friends are everything. They respect and love each other and care for each other. Ikarians can all live in the same house helping one another. They are never left alone to live because they don’t believe in being alone. And they believe that being together with friends and family is what happiness is all about.
3. The Ikarian Sleep Routine
Ikarians love their sleep, as they should. They go to bed late and sleep in. Time doesn’t really exist in Ikaria because the lifestyle there is to wake up late, work a little, and rest again by taking an afternoon nap. Then they enjoy their nightlife and repeat the same routine day after day. Ikarians do not go to sleep early or wake up early. They live life to the fullest without time constraints, because there is really no concept of time in Ikaria.
4. The Ikarian Nightlife
Ikarians have the energy of teenagers, playing instruments and partying well into their 90’s. They know how to party and dance, and enjoy themselves long past tomorrow by maximizing social engagement and minimizing stress. They never watch the clock and they can easily stay up past 1 or 2 am socializing. “Early to bed, early to rise”- this saying is not relatable in Ikaria. They stay up late enjoying life. For the most part, they are minimalists that enjoy every moment in life and find joy and beauty in the little things like food, wine, music, dancing, socializing, and intimacy. They move to live and live to move. Who needs the gym when you burn calories by walking everywhere, working, and doing chores. Most days they will knead bread, sew, clean, do housework, etc. They are always active and they don’t just say they’re going to retire and then do nothing. They live their lives as if they are always young.
5. The Ikarian Worklife
Ikarians still work. However, they do things that they love. You will find them gardening, painting, doing crafts, socializing, dancing, and drinking. They can be a century old and still work. Ikaria is a place of serenity. People do not typically have mental health issues or suffer from dementia the way older people do in other places of the world. In fact, they only have a small trace of dementia. Their clarity and mental sharpness go hand in hand with living a long time. Ikaria is a place where people die peacefully at a very old age- typically during sleep or after sex.
The Ikarian lifestyle is like being in a time-capsule of youth filled with happiness, longevity, mobility, and no stress. They live happily together with family and friends, enjoying every moment to the fullest. Wouldn’t the world be a much happier place if we all lived the Ikarian way?