Being Judgmental is Stressful

I recently spent a week on the Greek island Ikaria. The island is best known as one of the so-called Blue Zones: one of the five regions in the world with an unusually high number of people who live up to the age of hundred- and stay in good health.

A number of theories have been posited about the reasons why so many people in these regions are able to grow to an advanced age without succumbing to the usual ageing related problems we encounter across the world: dementia, cardiovascular diseases and the like. Factors that have been identified by research to contribute to the longevity and quality of life in Blue Zones, include:

  • a balanced diet based on local produce
  • a strong community
  • regular physical exercise
  • a sense of purpose in life

However, the most striking characteristic of the people I spoke to, was their peculiar concept of time and how they relate to others. Among the people I spoke to, there was a lack of judgement related to the passing of time, to themselves and to others.

Ikarians accept that old age and death are inevitable parts of life and instead of focusing their efforts on their fight to control time and illness, they concentrate on enjoying every moment of their existence. Their labour is directly related to their lives, as they grow their own food and wine, serve local communities, organize festivities for their own entertainment (the so-called panigyria) and produce tools and items they use in their day-to-day lives.

Additionally to this direct connection between work and personal life, I found a remarkable lack of self-judgement or of judging others. As stated above, Ikarians accept the flow of life and don’t try to control it. They are not hard on themselves and if plans don’t work out, you will often hear statements such as ‘tomorrow is another day’.

Furthermore, during my time on the island I didn’t hear any malicious gossip or covert critique of the lifestyle and behaviour of other people. Instead, there is a sense of strong community spirit and willingness to help others. When I arrived at a panigyri without cash to pay for food and drink (card payments are a no-no in such locally organized festivities), a local lady we had only met the previous day offered to lend me money and had to rely on my promise that I will repay her the next day.

This judging of ourselves and others is a great contributor to our ever accumulating stress and anxiety. It makes us unhappy and uncomfortable about the world we live in. Start today by identifying an area where you have been overly self-critical and making a promise to yourself to be less self-judgmental. You will notice that this will have a direct positive impact on how you feel by the end of the week.

By keeping our stress and anxiety levels below excessiveness, we can all improve our quality of life and be a little bit more like the Ikarians.

Published by Kostas Panagiotou-The Freedom Composer

Creating Clarity and Freedom for overwhelmed solopreneurs, small business owners, therapists and creatives - | Composer | Birman cats

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