Discovering a Different Lifestyle in Ikaria
Anna Katsas made a life-altering decision in 2022 when she left West Hollywood, California, to live in Ikaria, Greece, a place known for having one of the longest average lifespans in the world.
The move was driven by family ties, particularly her 90-year-old grandmother, who was born on the island.
The Biggest Change: Social Connection and Kindness
According to Anna, the most significant change she noticed in Ikaria is the social, kind, and caring nature of the people.
She highlighted the welcoming atmosphere where she felt safe enough to say hello to everyone during her walks in the village. The residents responded positively, often leading to conversations and unexpected connections.
Examples of Genuine Connections
Anna shared instances where simple greetings led to meaningful interactions. She recounted meeting a previously unknown cousin by saying hello, leading to coffee, cookies, and deep conversations. Additionally, she observed the community’s consistent efforts to check in on her grandmother, demonstrating a genuine care and sense of community.
Ikaria’s Cultural Foundation: History and Mutual Support
Exploring Ikaria’s history, Anna pointed out that human civilization on the island dates back to the 7th century BC. The residents, faced with challenges like piracy, chose to hide in the mountains, becoming self-sufficient and relying on each other for survival.
This historical foundation, living in houses built into boulders for camouflage, created a culture of mutual support that persists to this day.
Unveiling Ikaria’s Longevity Secrets
Anna’s experience aligns with the concept of “blue zones,” areas with lower rates of chronic disease and longer life expectancies. Ikaria is one of these zones, and its residents share specific lifestyle habits, including natural movement, a sense of purpose, stress reduction, a plant-based diet, moderate alcohol intake, faith, family focus, and a strong social circle.
Netflix’s Exploration of Ikaria’s Longevity
Netflix’s documentary, Live To 100: Secrets Of The Blue Zones, delved into the reasons behind Ikaria’s longevity.
Besides nutritional benefits, the emphasis on interpersonal relationships, romantic connections, dancing, and laughter were highlighted as essential elements contributing to the residents’ extended and healthy lives.