Living a Mediterranean Lifestyle is for everyone, not just for people of the Mediterranean region.  It is called the Mediterranean Lifestyle because the 7 pillars of this practice were formed by observing the daily lives of  people residing near the Mediterranean Sea.  Countries and regions such as Greece, Cyprus, Italy, Spain, France, Turkey, Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, Israel, Egypt, and the banks of North Africa all play a part in defining the Mediterranean Lifestyle.  Collective similarities of daily living combine to make this list focused on longevity, love and happiness.

1. Follow A Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean Diet primarily consists of vegetables, fruits, legumes, and whole unrefined grains.  Fish, dairy, and poultry should be enjoyed 3-5 times per week.  Red meat and sweets are not prohibited but preferably reserved for special occasions.  Notice the base of the pyramid depicts meals being enjoyed with good company, and perhaps a walk after dinner.  Emotional wellbeing is just as important as the food we eat.

2. Spend Time With Friends and Family

A picture of four generations.  From the top left down to center: My mother, my Theia (aunt), my Yiayia (grandmother), my great Yiayia, and baby me.

Meeting up often with friends or family to enjoy a bite to eat or a drink is typical of the Mediterranean lifestyle. Surrounding yourself with people who make you feel great, or people who you respect, is a wonderful way to reset your mood and enrich your life.  There is nothing like the experience of genuine conversation and the exchange of positive energy.

3. Make Relaxing Part of Your Routine

Spending time away from my phone and computer with a cup of coffee or tea allows me to pause and reflect in a simple way.

Making time to rest, reset, and calm your mind will directly contribute to a stronger sense of self and lower stress levels.  No matter where you live, the daily rush of living in modern times can raise anyones blood pressure. We are constantly surrounded by technology and digital communication inside and outside of the home. It is important to unplug and find relaxing activities, hobbies like gardening or puzzling, even taking a nap to balance your day. 

4. Smile More, Laugh Often

A positive memory of pure happiness, grilling fresh fish on the terrace of my Theia's (Aunt) home on the Island of Kimolos, Greece.

Scientific studies have shown that enjoying a good laugh stimulated the release of serotonin in your body. Serotonin stabilizes mood and enables brain cells and the nervous system to communicate with each other.  The presence of serotonin is also linked to better sleep and digestion. So, smile and laugh every day! 

5. Slow Down To Enjoy The Simple Things

I can sit for hours in my seasonal garden, inspecting my plants and hoping to find a few butterfly cocoons about to hatch.

The practice of "Slow Living" and minimizing the material aspects of your life is a growing trend today.  When you over fill your surroundings it is harder to identify what you truly need.  Regain perspective of what it means to LIVE by enjoying what naturally surrounds us.  I think this saying best describes it: "Stop and smell the flowers".

6. Be Productive With Passion

One of our Artisan Friends, Maria, working on the Silk Hair Turban.

Living with a purpose often relates to fulfilling your passion.  You may have experienced a social norm in which people venerate others who are always "busy".  This is a common misconception that being "busy" relates to being productive.  Being truly productive means achieving or producing a significant result.  If you find your "busy" time is not producing a significant and positive result in your life, you should consider re-evaluating ways you can be more productive.

7. Practice Joyful Movement

I love enjoying a casual yoga practice mid-morning to energize my day.

Regular exercise is important for physical and mental wellbeing.  But, that doesn't mean you have to engage in high-impact strength or extreme cardio workouts.  In reality, those may do more harm than good and are not sustainable in the long-term scope of life.  Choose daily movements that are moderately challenging but joyful to practice.  My two favorites are Yoga and 3-5 mile walks.

I hope you are inspired to live a bit more "Mediterranean"!

Credit and thanks to The Mediterranean Lifestyle magazine for inspiring this post.

Health and happiness,

Alexandra Damiano

October 01, 2022 — Alexandra Damiano