The Concept of a Lifestyle

Generally speaking, a lifestyle is a way of living that you create to fit your beliefs, values, interests, and goals. It can be a diet, exercise routine, religion, or any other activity that defines your day-to-day choices and behaviors. Creating a healthy lifestyle requires consistent and disciplined choices. You don’t have to run a marathon or go on a fad diet to be healthy; it is simply incorporating regular activities that benefit your mind, body, and relationships.

The concept of a lifestyle has been used and defined in various ways throughout the scientific literature. Because of the broadness of this construct, it has been difficult to identify a common definition of the term. As a result, researchers have developed different theories and research variables that are quite distant from each other.

One trend that began with Alfred Adler interpreted lifestyle as a style of personality. This approach focused on the notion that the framework of guiding principles and values that people develop in their early years define a system of judgement that will guide them through their lives. This approach has been further developed by Milton Rokeach and Arnold Mitchell in their work on Values & Life Choices (VLC) and Values Orientations (LOV).

Another current of research on lifestyle is more concerned with the external dimension of lifestyle. These interpretations focus on the idea that a person’s lifestyle is a nonverbal way of conveying a status-role and belonging to a group. It is also influenced by the notion that culture and society are constantly changing and taking on new forms.

A more recent current of research on the concept of a lifestyle has taken as its starting point the notion that lifestyle is an integral part of a person’s identity and socialisation processes. The notion of lifestyle as a product of the individual’s socialisation is reinforced in studies conducted by Georg Simmel and Pierre Bourdieu, who re-examine the major explicit definitions of the concept in psychological and sociological literature through three interpretative keys: internal, external, and temporal.

For example, a healthy lifestyle may include a diet that is low in sugar and fat and high in fiber, vegetables, and protein. It may also involve regular and moderate exercise. In addition, a healthy lifestyle will likely include a good night’s sleep.

Lastly, a healthy lifestyle is likely to be influenced by family, friends, and community values and traditions. Mennonites, for instance, live a lifestyle that is based on the principles of simplicity, peace, and brotherly love as directed by their Anabaptist Christian faith. Moreover, a lifestyle that is rooted in spirituality and community can be beneficial to the health of the community as well as the individual.