LIFESTYLE defines a person’s life as it revolves around their personal interests, values, orientations, and behaviors. The word was originated by Austrian psychiatrist Alfred Adler in his 1928 book, The Case of Miss R. With the implied meaning of “the basic nature of a person as determined early in life”, the concept was taken up and used by the American psychiatrist, Kurt Goldstein, in the book Lamentation. With Goldstein’s own interest in studying the concept in relation to family dysfunction, he took it upon himself to codify the theory into two concepts, the concept of LIFESTYLE AND CHILDREN.
The word LIFESTYLE itself is not a reference to any particular age category, but rather the general concept that a person’s predominant focus in life is on their health, happiness, and quality of relationships. Goldstein believed that human beings were born with a “lifestyle code”, and that these “lifestyles” dictate much of who we are as people, as well as determine much of our success in life. The lives we lead and live dictate much of what we become. These “lifestyles” include both conscious choices and unconscious behaviors, such as healthy lifestyle choices such as exercise, diet, smoking, and other physical activity, and unhealthy lifestyle choices such as overeating, poor nutrition, and other forms of emotional abuse. One could also add cultural practices, such as gender roles, to the equation as well.
Many psychologists agree with this view, including those who adhere to the “American Culture”, which emphasizes the fact that healthy lifestyles and happiness are more important than anything else, in life. Max Weber, in his many books, has maintained this point. Even within his own theory of the concept of LIFESTYLE, it is clear that he believes that a person is only truly happy when they are leading a healthy and balanced lifestyle. He calls this a lifestyle code and provides examples of different lifestyles in terms of how he sees them, and illustrates how each of these lifestyles can contribute towards a happy and successful life. These are the LIFESTYLE basics.
One thing that all Weber’s LIFESTYLE books have in common is that they stress the importance of lifestyle choices. A LIFESTYLE book will contain at least one chapter on each of the four areas of LIFESTYLE and will explain how living a healthy lifestyle can contribute towards happiness and success, both personally and socially. All of these chapters will discuss some aspects of lifestyle choices, such as exercise, diet, and smoking. They will also go into the specifics of how these choices will influence your body and mind.
In his theory of LIFESTYLE, Max Weber refers to these four aspects of life-styles as having four components, or dimensions. The first dimension, or aspect, is called “practicality”; these LIFESTYLE principles pertain to how people live in the here and now and are focused on living according to what will benefit them (usually in concrete steps, like habits). The second dimension, or aspect, is referred to as culture; this dimension is about values and social norms, and is focused on how those who practice the lifestyle relate to others and the world around them.
Weber’s third dimension, or fourth, is known as social capital. This is a concept of measurement that relates the level of control and authority over one’s LIFESTYLE life-style to one’s ability to enjoy a variety of everyday life-styles. We see an aspect of this concept in Weber’s definition of culture: cultures have different strengths and weaknesses but are nonetheless unified by their shared values. The fifth dimension is referred to as ritual, and it can best be explained as the degree to which a LIFESTYLE relates to and manifests rituals and ideas associated with particular groups or communities. By comparing and contrasting these various perspectives on life-styles, we can begin to understand human freedom, individuality, and prosperity more clearly.