Lifestyle is a collection of attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors, which are the basis of an individual’s outlook on life. The word was first introduced by Austrian psychiatrist Alfred Adler in his 1928 book, The Case of Miss R. with the more literal sense of “the basic nature of a person as formed early in life”. The idea was that the human capacity to experience pleasure is innate and independent of personal factors such as social comparisons or culture, and that we are left free to choose our own level of enjoyment. According to Adler, in most cases, the foundation of a lifestyle is found in the place of one’s residence, and one’s environment provides a major influence on this ability to enjoy.
As it is impossible to separate individual and social aspects in Adler’s definition, the theory of the life-styles is considered to be a significant aspect of modern society, with its implications for education, politics, economics and culture. It can be said that the theories of the life-style theories came about as a reaction to the mass culture that pervades contemporary society and as a result they have had a negative influence on the increased levels of education and knowledge throughout the world. Some of the more popular examples of the influences of the lifestyle theories include: biological theories of meaning and value, theories of instinctual behavior, and the importance of individualism.
In today’s world, the importance of the theory of the life-style has become even stronger, especially since many of the world’s population identify themselves as a member of a specific group (e.g., religious, ethnic, linguistic, or national). Thus, when studying a person’s lifestyle, one must take into account not only his/her level of education, but also his/her place of residence, the community in which he/she grew up, his/her gender, his/her age, his/her occupation, his/her marital status, his/her status in the work force, his/her social network, and his/her tangible factors of cause and effect. By taking into account all of these aspects, a person will be able to determine the various influences on his/her lifestyle and discover how these forces are interacting with each other. In so doing, a person can begin to understand the reasons for his/her own loneliness and alienation from others, as well as understand how they are influencing others around them.