What Exactly Is a Lifestyle?

In its most general sense, lifestyle is the behavioral attitudes, interests, behaviors, and orientations of a social group, individual, or society. The word was first introduced by Austrian psychiatrist Alfred Adler in his 1929 bestseller, The Case of Miss R. This definition is often used interchangeably with characterological theory, which suggests that every human characteristic can be understood, and that these characteristics can then be organized into a structure by which humans can understand their behavior.

Freud is generally credited with inventing LIFESTYLE, as a result of his studies of primitive peoples who lived in comparative isolation. According to Freud, the reason for this loneliness was that their level of personal contact and interaction with other individuals was significantly lower than that of today’s moderns. Freud believed that the need for socialization, or the urge to interact with other people, was an important component of human development. Because of this need, Freud suggested that one way to encourage this development was through self-schemalization, or involving the individual in an ongoing exploration of his/her past and his present. One example of this is described in the LIFESTYLE theory:

So, what is LIFESTYLE? The LIFESTYLE theory is a reworking of the term “lifetime” in that it applies to a person’s entire life, instead of just a specific period within that life. Because of this flexibility, the theory can theoretically apply to anyone, anywhere, at any age – it is not limited to a particular era or social setting. While it has recently been put into use in the context of digital technologies (particularly social media, which seems to generate more usage in its “social” tagline), the LIFESTYLE theory can also be applied to traditional (as well as non-traditional) human interaction.

For example, one type of LIFESTYLE is a facilitated reflection (or Livescience) experience. Here, the individual goes through a series of questioning and discussions, facilitated by a therapist. As you may know, facilitated reflection is considered one of the most effective ways to learn new information. The purpose of the reflections is to help the individual explore and challenge their existing beliefs, as well as the new ones they are discovering. In this case, the facilitated reflections occur within a Livescience-based virtual environment.

Another type of LIFESTYLE would be the active lifestyle. An active lifestyle, often times referred to as a solitary lifestyle, is a deliberate practice of living in one’s own space, away from society at large. Many advocates of LIFESTYLE theorize that people whose lives are lived in isolation, either due to mental or physical health issues, tend to display more psychologically disordered behaviors than those who live in a LIFESTYLE with other humans. In addition, some advocates argue that isolated solitary lifestylers are more prone to suicidal tendencies and behavior.

Some advocates of LIFESTYLE encourage practicing a “word lifestyle,” which basically means living an entirely solitary life. The idea is that all humans have the ability to link with others. To do so, they do not need to physically interact with anyone else in order to establish new connections. Some experts argue that when a person is surrounded by many people, they begin to feel lonely and isolated. This causes the person to use technology, such as the computer, to disconnect from others, even if they are only online for a few minutes at a time. Still, other experts maintain that, while technology may be necessary to have an LIFESTYLE, the word lifestyle itself can actually facilitate solitary living.

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