What Is a Lifestyle?

Lifestyle, also known as individualism, is the attitudes, behaviors, and interests of an individual, family, or group. The word was first introduced by Austrian psychiatrist Alfred Adler in his widely-read article, The Case of Miss R. with the implied meaning of “the guiding philosophy of a people”. Adler claimed that there are four components to human life: freedom, community, tradition, and responsibility. These, he felt, are interdependent upon one another; hence, human beings have to be grouped into groups based on these four aspects.

This concept of Lifestyle has taken many twists and turns since then. The word “lifestyle” today may mean anything from eating healthy to keeping busy to being frugal. The dictionary definition however, makes clear its intended meaning: a general disposition towards life which may be characterized by an attitude of comparative mobility, flexibility, independence, personal responsibility, and ecological proximity. These qualities are considered to be vital elements for a good and successful Lifestyle.

There are many types of Lifestyle, from the extremely wealthy, who live a near-pereditary lifestyle, spending one day at one location, to the extremely poor, who live in abject poverty, but engage in a wide variety of activities. Practical, committed individuals, who adhere to a life-style, generally possess many of the essential elements for a healthy lifestyle; such as cleanliness, personal hygiene, social interaction, and a sense of personal responsibility. Many religious Lifestyles are based on a vow of poverty, chastity, obedience, and spirituality; while many non-religious lifestyles are more eclectic and even contradictory, retaining commonalities among the spiritually-inclined and the less disciplined. For many individuals, the term “lifestyle” is synonymous with substance abuse, unhealthy alcohol and drugs, a dangerous career path, and a lack of meaningful employment.

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