What Is Lifestyle?


A lifestyle is the set of habits, values and attitudes an individual embodies in his or her daily activities. These are the personal elements that define a person, distinguishing them from others and that determine their behaviour. They are also the fundamental determinants of an individual’s health. A healthy lifestyle is comprised of three basic components: sleeping well, eating healthily, and exercising regularly. It also involves avoiding tobacco, stress and drug abuse and maintaining healthy relationships. This lifestyle is especially important for young adults as they transition into adulthood and begin their own careers and families.

While there are many definitions of the term, the most common one is that lifestyle is a characteristic way of living that defines an individual’s personal and social identity. It is an expression of the individual’s personality and character that is formed in childhood. These personal aspects are then shaped by the individual’s culture and environment.

In the field of sociology, there are two major perspectives on lifestyle: those that emphasize the internal dimension and those that focus on the external dimension. Theories that emphasise the internal dimension include Thorstein Veblen’s “emulation” concept, and those of Max Weber that regard lifestyle as a characteristic of status groups which differ from other social strata in a manner that distinguishes them from them and enables the group to differentiate itself.

Both of these models, however, tend to disregard the influence of the environment and the importance of the sociocultural-economic context within which a person’s lifestyle develops. Furthermore, they tend to focus on consumption patterns.

There is an ongoing debate about the concept of lifestyle in society and in academic disciplines such as psychology and health. Often, research in this area refers to lifestyle as the presence or absence of health risk behaviours such as smoking and excessive drinking. This tends to impose a certain medical perspective on the lifestyle construct, which limits its scope.

A third perspective on the concept of lifestyle considers a person’s values and beliefs. For example, Asian cultures may place a high value on filial piety, leading individuals to choose lifestyles that prioritize family events over other leisure activities, while Western cultures tend to favor individualism, leading individuals to make lifestyle choices based on personal preferences and self-image.

Psychological theories that emphasise the internal dimension of lifestyle include social cognitive theory, proposed by Albert Bandura, which identifies the role of observational learning and self-efficacy in the development of new behaviours. In addition, the concept of life span stages developed by Erikson provides a framework for analyzing changes in lifestyle over time and in relation to other personal factors. These theories provide a more comprehensive overview of the lifestyle construct than those that focus solely on the risk behaviours of health. Moreover, they enable a more holistic view of lifestyle as a complex construct that includes both the personal and the social dimensions. This approach can help researchers develop effective methods to encourage healthy lifestyle behaviours.