What Is Lifestyle?

A person's lifestyle is a pattern of daily activities, interactions and consumption. It includes traditions, pastimes and values shared by a group or culture. This also includes views on politics, religion, health, intimacy and more. In addition, location plays a large role in a person's lifestyle, such as living in a city versus the suburbs. A person's lifestyle is also impacted by their environment, work and hobbies.The term lifestyle is derived from the Greek word "style" which refers to a manner of life. Poets were the first to describe lifestyle, as they were able to capture the essence of personality. In modern times, lifestyle has become a popular subject for study and research, with various definitions. The most common defines it as a way of life and identifies it through a set of choices and behaviours, based on the individual's sociodemographic characteristics and the social context.Theories that stress the external dimension consider the main focus as being the individuals' social positioning in the society (as in the models of Thorstein Veblen and Max Weber) or their desire to distinguish themselves from other groups by means of specific'schemes of life', which involve conspicuous consumption (as in the model of Jean Bourdieu). The principal limits of these approaches lie in the fact that they do not analyse the causes of lifestyle, nor do they explore the evolution of different lifestyles in time, in relation to the changes in the sociocultural and economic structure.Other theories highlight the internal dimension of lifestyle, which refers to a person's personality and identifies their personal'style' or character. The most important contribution to this approach comes from the concept of the ego-identity developed by Adler, who defined the lifestyle as a behavioural and cognitive pattern that determines a person's motivational drives and self-esteem. These are then reflected in the choices and behaviours that characterise an individual's daily life.The third current is the so-called "profiles-and-trends" approach, whose core idea lies in establishing a correlation between attitudes and interests on the one hand and behavioural patterns on the other, analysing them from synchronic as well as diachronic points of view and exploring how different models of lifestyle are related to the emergence of cultural trends in a given society (as in the work of Daniel Yankelovich and William Wells).A healthy lifestyle is comprised of regular exercise, a balanced diet and adequate sleep. It also includes abstaining from tobacco and other harmful substances, and limiting the intake of alcohol. Lastly, it is important to be kind to yourself when attempting to change your lifestyle. It takes time to develop good habits, and there will be periods of lapses. However, a person who is committed to improving their health can take a series of small steps to reach their goal, such as replacing processed grains with whole ones, or cutting back on sugary beverages. This way, the lifestyle change is easier to stick with over the long haul.