Lifestyle has been called many different names over the years, including heredity, social structure, cultural setting, and predisposition. The term originally was coined by Austrian psychiatrist Alfred Adler in his famous 1929 work, The Case of Miss R. In this book he describes the elements of a human’s personality as established at birth. According to him, one’s “psychological constitution” can be described by four elements:

Lifestyle describes a person’s attitudes, thoughts, behaviors, and lifestyles. There are four primary perspectives of life-styles: instinctual, ritual, independent, and complementary. Our daily experiences and environment generally mold the way we think, feel, and act. Consequently, we notice differences in lifestyles across cultures. This leads people to define themselves against a model of a healthy lifestyle.

For Adolph Adler, the key to studying a persons’ individual characteristics lies in observing his behavior in the social context of his time and place. He claimed that his study of the masses was “the language of the masses.” This resulted in the formation of his “ontological grammar,” which consists of his descriptions of the common structure of behavior across cultures. Adler’s theories on Lifestyle and Culture industry went on to influence the thinking of scholars for decades to follow.

Most current scholars agree that the two perspectives described by Adler are not mutually exclusive; however, they are often suggested to be closely related. Many authors suggest that Adler’s theory of a healthy lifestyle consists of four elements, including an active lifestyle, a self-directed one, complementing one, and a complementary group. Adler’s idea that a person’s Lifestyle can be derived from his attitude toward, freedom, authority, and relationships has also been suggested as the basis for his notion of a healthy lifestyle. Other authors have suggested that Lifestyle can be defined as the sum of good or bad qualities, a quality, or a mixture of all these elements. Still, many scholars maintain that the meaning and function of Lifestyle to each individual is left to be determined by the individual’s context and situation.

Theories regarding Lifestyle differ as much as personal behaviors. While the purpose of a healthy lifestyle is to live an active and healthy lifestyle, some scholars maintain that Lifestyle can be defined as the attitude or quality of being concerned with, receiving, making, and taking advantage of one’s environment or the experience of others. In a solo lifestyle, an individual’s Lifestyle may consist of being self-employed, working, or staying home. These perspectives describe two distinct lifestyles: the community of single people and the community of families.

Some other types of definitions exist, and they include vegetarianism and veganism. Vegetarianism is a lifestyle that excludes animals from being eaten, including all ingredients derived from animals (such as milk, eggs, honey, meat, etc.). On the other hand, veganism is a lifestyle that include some animal products, but does not exclude other plant-based foods such as lentils, pulses, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. As you can see, there are numerous different definitions of what a vegan lifestyle means, and no two vegan lifestyles are the same!

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