What exactly is a lifestyle? In its simplest terms, a lifestyle is the general attitudes, behaviors, interests, and social orientations of an adult, group, or society. The word was first introduced by Austrian psychiatrist Alfred Adler in his influential article, The Case of Miss R. in his 1929 book.
Since the publication of The Case of Miss R. it has become an important word in the field of social media and consumer behaviour. In fact, The Case of Miss R. has since been used to explain many of the current discussions that are currently taking place about identity and individualism. However, the word Lifestyle was not originally used by Adler. Rather, it was the creation of an associate professor of organisational psychology named Arthur Miller. He used the term to describe a general type of thinking and behaviour associated with the theatre, which can then be applied to the study of organisations.
As a social media, Lifestyle content refers to anything that an individual or organisation does in their day to day life. As such, it can refer to personal choices, social media activities, beliefs, attitudes and so on. It can therefore be considered a general approach to individual psychology and human behaviour. The study of Lifestyle content and behaviour was first described by Simester in her dissertation on the theatre, which focused on analysing performance within various cultural and social settings. Her research focused on analysing the ways in which the actors and performers dealt with everyday problems such as working hours, sexual harassment and so on.
In her paper, Simester described the concept of Lifestyle as a system of values and attitudes that emerged out of past experiences and informed current social media usage. For instance, she noted that the way American television shows presented workplace conflict resulted in a significantly more hostile environment for women than that portrayed in British television. Similarly, she said that Lifestyle was influenced by the fact that people who identify themselves as being a member of a certain group are likely to act in a particular way to promote that group’s interest.
However, Simester went on to point out that there is considerable room for variation in defining what exactly makes up a ‘healthy’ or ‘active lifestyle’. For instance, she pointed out that the definition of healthy Lifestyle may be quite different when it comes to being a solo lifestyle (owing to the fact that those engaged in a solo lifestyle are generally not related to anyone else) as opposed to a family or household lifestyle. When it comes to family and households, the common definition is usually to include the children and the homemakers. It is for this reason that the Lifestyle of a family and a household has become known as being similar to Lifestyle of a solo lifestyle. In addition, even families who live in close proximity, such as in a rural setting, have been labeled separately on various websites in order to help people draw the right conclusions.
The biggest challenge facing LIFESTYLE and its followers is that the movement may actually have a rather short life-span. There are many people who will start a Lifestyle as an ‘idea’ only to abandon it months or even years later. For this reason, it is important that those who choose to engage in a Lifestyle must be clear about what they are expecting out of it from the very start. Whether it is about losing weight, living longer or enhancing their health and fitness, it is important for people to be clear about what they wish to achieve with their lifestyle change before embarking on it.