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Greek Island Report: Find Your Path to ‘Ef-zeen’

By Marilynn Preston

A year ago, “All Is Well” was officially launched at a beach bar on a small Greek island that is part legend, part movie set and all olive oil, all the time.

As some dear readers know, “AIW” is a 200-page book, weighing less than a pound, with absolutely no dieting at all! The book’s full name is “All Is Well: The Art {and Science} of Personal Well-Being” and it’s a summing-up of many things I’ve learned as a journalist in the 40-plus years I’ve been writing about health and happiness, fitness and wellness, standing desks and sitting presidents.

Last year, “All Is Well” made her first visit to Greece, birthplace of moderation in all realms. (Thankfully, this includes French fries.) More than 100 well-wishers showed up for a party celebrating her coming in to harbor, and people from 12 different countries took her home.

It turns out that the Greeks have a classic expression for that felt sense of personal well-being. The actual spelling would require ancient Greek – but in English, it sounds like “ef-zeen.”

“Ef-zeen!” Say it with gusto. The good life. Life in balance. A life of serenity, security, love, happiness …

“How do you know you’re on the right path?” a woman asked me at a book event in Sarasota. It’s a question that comes up a lot. “It’s like throwing up,” I like to respond. “You know when it’s happening.”

“Ef-zeen!” It’s simple to say – but not all that easy to maintain, which is why we’re grateful to be back in Greece for a refresher course. So far it involves serious amounts of sunshine, reading and a deep dive into the restorative nature of long walks, energizing swims and making hummus from scratch.

As a self-indulgent happy-anniversary-to-us, here are three themes in the book that bear repeating, because personal well-being is very much under attack these days. That means it’s more important than ever to increase awareness, be vigilant and get as much movement and joy into your day as you possibly can.


I can talk about this until I’m red, white and blue in the face: You can’t depend on the government to protect your health and promote your well-being. Self-care is the best care, aided by the best East-West health care team you can assemble.

“The U.S. government is doing a pathetic job of keeping us safe from harmful foods and pesticides, toxic cosmetics and chemicals, polluted air and yucky water,” I trumpeted when the book first came out. And 500 days into our current regime, policies that work against public health and personal well-being are even more prevalent, even more disturbing.


The theme of “too much technology” couldn’t be timelier, and the solution couldn’t be more elusive. We are tethered to addictive devices that appear to make our lives easier (“Alexa! What time is it?”), but in fact our lives feel more hectic, more distracted and more demanding. For sure, it’s taking a toll on our health, as many kinds of cancers grow and suicide rates rise.

But the stress of too much technology always bounces back to personal choice: Will you outsmart your smartphone by using it selectively? Will you leave it behind in pursuit of a day, a night, that just unfolds? Will you spend less time checking your feed and more time feeding your mind and body’s need to rest and digest, re-energize and relate to the actual living, breathing people around you?


Your path to ef-zeen begins with you. Start where you are. You don’t have to go to a Greek island to take the time and make the space to think about your well-being, your relationships, your priorities.

Start where you are: It’s one of the mantras of the book … and the perfect place to end.

Marilynn Preston is the author of Energy Express, America’s longest-running healthy lifestyle column. Her new book “All Is Well: The Art {and Science} of Personal Well-Being” is available now on Amazon and elsewhere. Visit Creators Publishing at to learn more. For more on personal well-being, visit



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