The word “lifestyle” was first introduced by Austrian psychiatrist Alfred Adler in his controversial essay, The Case of Miss R. in 1930. With the meaning of “the general character of a person established early in life”, the term was later used by American psychiatrist Williambard Summers in his famous book, How to be Your Own Man.
So what exactly is Lifestyle? According to some experts, Lifestyle can simply be defined as the way of being in the world, an individual’s attitude, disposition, values, beliefs, customs, etc. (ibid). Lifestyle, according to these experts, is everything about an individual that determines how he or she would act in different situations. Some would say that Lifestyle is very important because one’s sense of worth and value in this world depends on how he or she feels about himself or herself. Thus, Lifestyle can also affect an individual’s interpersonal and inter-personal interactions.
According to the new york times, “Lifestyle has become a vague term, used by a multitude of people, for various purposes, with different associations, in reference to different parts of life, in the New York City social scene”. Changing Lifestyle in the New York City social scene refers to adjusting one’s behavior, attitude, beliefs, habits, values, et cetera in light of changing situations. Changing Lifestyle in the social setting in New York City can be compared to altering one’s behavior in light of new opportunities or situations which might present themselves. In a way, this is also similar to the concept of individual psychology where the individual’s behavioral patterns in the past are re-evaluated based on new circumstances and new information.
According to Alfred Adler in the book “The Psychology of Everyday Life”, “Lifestyle, as it concerns the choices people make in their daily lives, tends to change with changes in the economy, emotional and mental stresses, as well as in social environments. This change in lifestyle is called lifestyle consolidation.” Lifestyle changes, such as deciding to drink less alcohol, eat less sugar, get more exercise, quit smoking, and turn to diet and/or medication as a means of controlling anxiety or pain, are common lifestyle choices people make in order to cope with the new stresses which arise throughout the day. Some people turn to alcohol as a means of relaxation while others drink in order to numb the pain of everyday living.
In this case, then, it becomes important to establish a distinction between individual lifestyle. Individual Lifestyle can be described as making informed decisions based on research and personal preference about Lifestyle, while Lifestyle is more encompassing and pertains to the ways people live their lives. For example, there are both Lifestyle elements to a person’s daily life, such as how they decide to get exercise, what type of food they eat, whether they decide to watch television or not, etc. But, Lifestyle encompasses much more than these general choices, and it is the basis for all of a person’s actions in their life whether or not they consciously realize it or not.
For example, one could say thatggy style, the blog, Facebook, Twitter, etc., along with other Lifestyle elements such as: the internet, the techno-granite, the techno-utopian dream-world, the techno-jargon, etc., are all examples of Lifestyle content. Therefore, Lifestyle is more than just making decisions and behaviors for one’s own life. Lifestyle includes the way one perceives, thinks, behaves, learns about, works, socializes, meets and searches for pleasure, among many other elements. Therefore, if a person chooses to work in an office cubicle, according to the Lifestyle of the cubicle, then according to Lifestyle Content a person would have a very different mindset and outlook than someone who chooses to work from home in a cozy office chair among many other Lifestyle Content. In fact, Wolfe has coined a new phrase, “Lifestyle Content,” which I think captures the essence of what Lifestyle is truly about.