Lifestyle is the general attitudes, interests, behaviors, and behavioral orientations of an individual, family, or group. The word was first introduced by Austrian psychiatrist Alfred Adler in his classic book, The Case of Miss R. with the figurative meaning of “the basic character of a person established at early childhood”. In more recent years, the meaning of lifestyle has evolved. Today, the phrase is used to refer to a set of values and attitudes about life. It can also be used to refer to certain behaviors or standards.
A good definition of a healthy lifestyle is one that encourages people to take responsibility for their own health and that encourages people to become active participants in community events, organizations, and social activity. The lifestyles we want to describe are those that lead to a sense of satisfaction in doing meaningful work, having an interest in the world around us, having a balanced self-image and respect for other people. Lifestyle choices that promote these kinds of positive outcomes are called active lifestyles. Those that promote a sense of passivity or emotional numbness are considered passive lifestyles.
There are many examples of lifestyle types. Some examples of active lifestyles include sports, outdoor activities, dance, gardening, dancing, weight lifting, bicycling, swimming, and skiing. These activities can be pursued individually or in teams. Some examples of passive lifestyles include sitting in a rocking chair or merely being a passenger in a vehicle. Some examples of unhealthy lifestyles include chronic or prolonged poor health, eating a diet consisting primarily of junk food, being overweight or obese, not getting exercise, using drugs or tobacco, not getting social interaction, and/or relying on one’s health to meet basic needs.
When it comes to describing the extremes of each lifestyle, it is important to think of them as extremes. The definition of a minimalist lifestyle is living a life that is lived in harmony with nature, while the extreme of a vegan lifestyle would be living a life that is entirely organic and unplugged from technology. The true meaning of veganism is living a lifestyle that is committed to a vision of an earth where animals and plants are respected and not abused. Some examples of extreme lifestyles include living in an animal cage, eating only vegetables and fruits, recycling everything one can find, having no access to electricity, being committed to an abstinence lifestyle, abstaining from sex, and spending one’s time engaged in spiritual practice. A minimalist approach to life might consist of a minimalist diet consisting of organic foods and choosing the minimal amount of money one spends on clothing, food, shelter, traveling and cosmetics.
A vegan lifestyle is a common example of an active lifestyle. As one becomes more involved in the vegan community and as the base of their eating and social life changes, the vegan can move towards becoming a minimalist and eventually become a vegan. Many people who are new to the vegan community, either out of curiosity or misinformed by the vegan movement, believe that veganism is a strict vegan lifestyle. However, in truth, veganism is simply a more aware lifestyle, one that seeks to minimize animal exploitation while still respecting the needs and desires of the animal kingdom.
Veganism does not require a membership to any organization; veganism is about choice, not compulsion. People often mistake the lifestyle of a minimalist with that of a vegan. Vegans do not participate in animal exploitation in any way. The vegan lifestyle is all about choice, respect for the planet, respect for other animals, and responsibility in making choices regarding one’s own health, well-being and relationships. To be true to these principles requires minimalism. For more information on how to lead a vegan lifestyle, check out some lifestyle blog articles online.