From enjoying the present moment to consuming healthier foods to spending more time outside, it is understandable why Italy is actually the second healthiest country in the world! Here are 5 lifestyle habits that we can take from Italy to live a happier and healthier life!
1. Enjoy the present more.
If you live in America, you are probably aware of how fast-paced life feels the majority of the time. The weeks fly by and it can seem as though the population has become more and more impatient. We do not like to wait for people to reply, wait in lines, or for a movie to begin. God forbid we do not hit every single green light when driving to work.
One very common cultural habit of Italians is enjoying the present moment. Many towns in Italy truly embrace a slower paced life and it seems to be beneficial. There has actually been a network in Italy created to encourage a slower paced life known as the Città Slow. It was created in 1999 and aims to help people become more attentive to the world around them. It helps them to focus more on nature and their environment and appreciate everything the world has to offer. When we stop for a moment and begin to be more mindful, we are able to develop a deeper appreciation for life itself.
2. Spend more time with your loved ones.
It is crucial to stop and focus on what is truly important in life. It can seem as though spending time with family is not something that is valued as much in American today when compared to 50 or 60 years ago. “Sunday Dinner” is becoming less common. People are letting their jobs or other responsibilities control their lives and failing to make time for what is truly important.
Spending time with family members and loved ones is proven to relieve a variety of health issues. Some of which include high blood pressure and headaches. Italians are often characterized by being extremely close and family oriented. Often times generations live in one home together. Having others to confide in can undoubtedly promote happiness.
3. Incorporate more fresh food into your diet.
The Mediterranean Diet is valued and encouraged by dietitians all around the world and there is a reason for this. Not only can consuming products in the Mediterranean diet promote a healthier physical body such as decreasing the risk of cancer but a healthier mind as well. One study proved that adults who practiced the Mediterranean diet were less likely to experience depression. A diet that is rich in healthy fats and vegetables can help with depression and anxiety. In Italy, the foods are much less processed and going to the market to pick up fresh fish and vegetables is the norm.
4. Nap more often
In America, overall life quality often comes second to career. Rest is a crucial part of Italian culture and in Italy, there is a designated midday time for it. It is referred to as riposo. During riposo local businesses, churches, museums, and shops close for several hours between 1:30 – 4:00 p.m. so that workers can rest. When one does not get enough rest, they are more likely to have mood swings, gain weight, and feel depressed. It is also exceedingly difficult to concentrate and perform at your best when you are sleep deprived. We can definitely take some tips from Italians when it comes to rest!
5. Spend more time outside.
Many Americans today have desk jobs and spend most of their days in cubicles with no sunlight or fresh air. In Italy, you will find many people enjoying meals outside, taking walks, and even going to school outside! In Italy, there is something called OE (outdoor education) where children have their classes outside. Learning outside is proven to increase memory capacity! A study on depressed people discovered that taking walks in nature boosted working memories at a much higher level than walks in urban environments.