Lifestyle is the overall way of life of an individual or group, including their attitudes, beliefs, habits, values, and choices. It can include leisure activities, fashion choices, recreation, diet, physical activity, work-life balance, and spirituality. A person’s lifestyle is influenced by factors such as culture, society, personal circumstances, and their own choices.
Various studies of lifestyles focus on different aspects. Early research, beginning with Alfred Adler, interprets it as a style of personality, which consists of the framework of guiding values and principles that inform a person’s decisions throughout their life. Later, Milton Rokeach and Arnold Mitchell analyzed lifestyles as scales of values organized hierarchically so that different population sectors correspond to them. More recently, researchers such as Lynn R. Kahle and Lynn Connolly have explored the concept of lifestyle as a way to understand people’s motivations and preferences.
In the context of healthy living, a lifestyle refers to the activities and habits that encourage the development of total physical, mental, and spiritual fitness and reduce the risk of major illness. These include regular exercise; a well-balanced, nutritious diet; adequate sleep and relaxation; abstaining from tobacco, drugs, and excessive alcohol consumption; and moderation of stress levels. A healthy lifestyle also includes positive thoughts and feelings.
Some people have a very structured lifestyle, while others have a more free-form one. The location in which a person lives also influences the lifestyle that they have, since some rural environments have different lifestyles than urban settings. Other influences include family structure, cultural environment, age, and occupation.
The lifestyle of a wealthy individual, for example, will vary significantly from that of a poor individual. Affluent individuals will usually have more discretionary income, allowing them to pursue hobbies, recreation, and other interests that they might not otherwise be able to afford. They will often have access to better health care, and they may be more likely to travel to exotic locations.
On the other hand, a poor individual might not be able to afford these things and will therefore have to follow a more restricted lifestyle. In some cases, this may mean following a strict religious diet and abstaining from recreational activities. In other cases, it may mean that they will be forced to work longer hours or accept a lower level of career success.
Another example of lifestyle is the lifestyle of an empty nester, which refers to a person whose children have grown up and moved away from home. This is a very common lifestyle, and it can involve significant changes in daily routines and spending patterns. For example, an empty nester might decide to move to a warmer climate or buy a new car. They might also start pursuing other hobbies and activities that they might not have been able to fit in when their children were younger. In some cases, this will lead to a healthier and happier existence. This type of lifestyle is often promoted in lifestyle magazines and other media outlets.