The Benefits Of The LIFESTYLE Approach To Living
LIFESTYLE is the latest sensation on the internet with a plethora of information about how to live the perfect life. According to the lifestyle experts, it is important to examine your current living habits and evaluate whether these help you achieve your goals. Lifestyle is more than simply what we do for a living; it is also who we are and how we define ourselves. It is from this perspective that LIFESTYLE came into being.
The word lifestyle is derived from the word leisure, which means “to use your leisure time in a wholesome manner”, and was originally coined to refer to the fashionable and sociable activities of adults. The current usage of the word lifestyle has become more inclusive, including a person’s daily life, hobbies, attitudes and behaviours, as well as the social and cultural aspects of a person and the community in which they live. The concept of living a “healthy” lifestyle was brought forth by Austrian psychiatrist and psychologist Alfred Adler in the 1929 book, The Case of Miss R. The book sought to define healthy behaviour as one that is not motivated by fear, necessity, guilt or any other form of extrinsic motivation.
In his article, “Theory of Culture Industry”, published in the Contemporary Review of Psychology, Alfred Adler defined LIFESTYLE as: “the manner in which a given set of people interacts with one another and with their environment, and in which this behaviour is shaped by the culture industry in which they live”. The theory of LIFESTYLE differs from that of the mainstream of psychology in that it maintains that there is a strong causation between how a person behaves and how they are treated by others and it also identifies an extrinsic motivation as a contributor to the pattern of behaviour. The fact that it differs from mainstream psychology in its focus on individual differences and the analysis of individual behaviour as a functioning concept instead of a structural definition, places it firmly within the discipline of psychology.
The word Lifestyle in itself may be interpreted in a number of different ways, ranging from a collection of ideas into something more concrete, such as a set of behaviour or a set of lifestyle choices. By identifying LIFESTYLE as a way of living a healthy lifestyle, a collection of behaviour or a set of lifestyle choices, some have used it to explain the difference between a certain type of behaviour (such as a particular type of drinking behaviour) and the attitude you may need to have in order to maintain a particular type of lifestyle. This could be applied to people who choose to lead a healthy lifestyle, for example, or to people who choose vegetarianism, for example.
As an expression of how you view your life, your relationships, and your environment, LIFESTYLE can help change patterns of negative behaviour in a very tangible way. By changing behaviour we can often achieve significant changes in our lives. Changing a lifestyle may be particularly important to someone already living unhealthy lifestyles, for example, in a relationship where they are not involved in a healthy active lifestyle. This could make them feel isolated and alone, and as a result they are more likely to engage in negative behaviours, such as binge drinking and drug use. Changing a Lifestyle could therefore make a positive difference to their overall health and wellbeing.
A positive benefit of the LIFESTYLE concept is that it applies well outside of a mental health or wellbeing context, applying equally well to physical health and well-being. For example, a solo practitioner may find that a healthy lifestyle contributes positively to their physical health and wellbeing, helping them to lead a more active lifestyle and also to cope with illness. This has benefits both to the patient and the practitioner, with the patient being able to benefit from a healthier mental and physical health. Furthermore, the healthy lifestyle associated with a LIFESTYLE approach to living may help others lead a healthier lifestyle, by example, by encouraging a healthier lifestyle through their engagement in a solo professional’s program.