What Is a Lifestyle?

A lifestyle is the way a person lives, including habits, behaviors, and routines. It can include everything from what they eat and drink to how they spend their time. People’s lifestyles vary from person to person, depending on things like their culture, upbringing, and income level. People’s choices also impact their health and well-being. Developing a healthy lifestyle is essential for achieving a balanced life.

Various definitions and conceptualisations of the term “lifestyle” exist in the fields of psychology, sociology, and health care. They reflect a diversity of approaches to the question of what constitutes an individual’s basic way of life and how this is expressed in everyday practices. Some of these approaches focus on a cognitive perspective, others concentrate on a socio-demographic dimension.

In the individual psychology of Alfred Adler, a lifestyle was defined as a style of personality that develops from the framework of guiding values and principles that a person learns during their early years. It encompasses the whole range of an individual’s ways of coping with situations and of compensating for feelings of inadequacy. This concept was later broadened by Milton Rokeach, Arnold Mitchell’s VALS research and Lynn R. Kahle’s LOV research, in which lifestyle was interpreted as an individual’s profile of value dimensions that determine their behaviours.

These approaches, which are based on psychological models, have the limitation that they don’t consider other factors that influence individual lifestyles, such as the socio-cultural context in which they develop, the dynamics of socialisation processes and the interaction between mental and behavioural aspects of the lifestyle. In the light of this, it would seem desirable to move beyond these approaches and adopt a holistic approach that is consistent with a salutogenic and ecosystem model of health.

For example, a person’s choice of diet, exercise habits, work-life balance, leisure activities, and relationships are all lifestyles that are influenced by their beliefs, values, and worldview. It’s important to keep in mind that lifestyle changes aren’t easy and they may require help from family, friends, or healthcare professionals.

When trying to build a healthy lifestyle, set realistic goals and make them attainable. Whether it’s drinking water instead of soda or getting more sleep, small healthy changes can lead to enormous impacts over time. It’s also important to surround yourself with healthy people and support from your community, as studies show that it will increase your likelihood of success. Also, don’t give up if you fall off the wagon from time to time. Realize that this is normal and it will be an opportunity to reevaluate your goals. The best way to get back on track is to remember that every day is an opportunity for a new start. Keep your motivation high and you will find it easier to make those healthier choices again!