Lifestyle has always been the overriding interests, attitudes, behaviors, and personal orientations of a group, individual, or society. The word was first introduced by Austrian psychiatrist Alfred Adler in his 1930 book, The Case of Miss R. With the implied meaning of “the general character of a person as established early on”. Lifestyle can be categorized as internal and external, which are opposite ends of the same coin. A wealthy individual may be known to be materialistic, while a thrifty parent might adopt a more caring and nurturing attitude for his children.
A concrete Lifestyle comprises all the elements that make up a person’s attitudes, ideas, actions, and interactions. These aspects are then given expression in a variety of tangible factors. These factors can be divided into three categories: work, home, and leisure. Work represents the activity that brings money into the life of society, whether this be income or benefits received through salaries or employment. Work also encompasses private, political, and cultural activities. In a working environment, it is common to find computers, other electronic devices, clocks, televisions, faxes, and other workplace necessities.
Home comprises the physical surroundings as well as personal belongings. A home usually includes a bed, clothing, personal possessions, food, and other activities related to personal life. A home in the modern world may have everything listed, but even in earlier times a home was much more than a dwelling place. A homestead or farm was a kind of haven beyond the urban milieu.
The Lifestyle described above, a combination of work and home, represents an ancient and relatively obsolete form of lifestyle. Modern lifestyles, on the other hand, are characterized by impersonal, materialistic pleasures. They include a greater degree of convenience and material comforts, including television, automobiles, telephone lines, supermarkets, stores, fast food outlets, and other large-scale purchases. A more localized lifestyle may be reflected in the expression “I live in a routledge,” which can mean that one’s day-to-day life is a routine of travel from place to place.
Urbanization has transformed the landscape of the countryside. It has brought a greater number of tangible factors into the rural environment, transforming it into a less than uniform habitat of farms and small-town streets. Lifestyle changes resulting from rapid urbanization have resulted in lower levels of literacy, higher poverty rates, greater dependence on government social welfare programs, and a decrease in community participation and social welfare. As a result, both the quality of life of rural inhabitants have declined.
Lifestyle choices are influenced not only by personal characteristics and attitudes, but also by cultural norms and expectations. Even within a relatively small rural community, there are apparent differences in access to resources, opportunities, and social roles. These cultural practices have been described as defining individual personality traits or even family traditions, though these definitions are necessarily fluid given the lack of physical continuity in a rural environment. Even within a single family, the level of variation in lifestyle is widespread. In a home in the suburbs, the dynamics of neighbors and socializing opportunities are very different from those in a rural environment.
The problems of life-styles are particularly acute for those who are the product of a disadvantaged environment. They experience greater health risks, are less likely to finish high school, experience greater poverty and drug abuse problems, and are likely to remain jobless. Lifestyle choices can exacerbate these issues. For instance, the sedentary lifestyle of elderly persons places added stress on cardiovascular fitness. Aging persons are not only physically weaker but also have weaker immune systems, making them more susceptible to disease.
In order to achieve a healthy lifestyle, the goals of lifestyle change must be specific, measured, attainable, realistic, and sustainable. Changing work life balance and other aspects of daily life are easier when they are part of an overall lifestyle change such as dieting, exercising, and incorporating alternative therapies into daily life. Lifestyle change requires consistent effort over time to achieve wellness and optimal performance. Individuals need to take an active role in deciding what changes they want to make to their lifestyle and how they will implement these changes into their lives.