A Different Perspective on Lifestyle Therapy
“Lifestyle” is basically the attitudes, ideas, behaviors, and orientations of a person, community, or society. The word was first introduced by Austrian psychiatrist Alfred Adler in his famous 1929 book, The Case of Miss R. with the simpler meaning of “the primitive way of living”. The use of the term “life style” expanded to include not only the life styles of individuals, but the cultures they lived in.
Since then, many other terms and descriptions have been used to specify the scope and definition of the word “lifestyle”, including community, cultural, social, and conventional. Social and communal are probably the most commonly used term to describe the range of perspectives on lifestyle that are found in most communities. In the last decade or so, the term “lifestyle content” has also begun to gain traction. This more specific term describes the contents of the two concepts just described, i.e., lifestyle and social media.
Lifestyle refers to the general characteristics and elements that are common to all members of a specific community. In the context of the term, a single individual would be considered a “lifestyle”, and his/her values and actions would be considering the “lifestyle content” of that individual. The word “lifestyle” thus denotes a way of doing and acting. It is a broad term that covers a broad range of practices and behaviors. A good example of a lifestyle content is a social media management practice that would likely be considered to be a lifestyle in the work place, at home, in public settings, or in any other social setting. While this might seem to be a bit extreme in both its definition and in application, the point is that it is useful in identifying practices that are typical of a wide range of people who share some commonalities and who can then serve as a reference point for understanding what is expected of them.
Lifestyle in the context of social media can refer to a number of key elements that include the ways in which people create and maintain connections on the Internet, including typical practices such as creating profiles and following others on networks such as Facebook or MySpace. It can also refer to specific types of content, such as a blog or a status post. In many ways, the distinction between a lifestyle and a set of behaviors becomes blurred, since the ways in which people engage with these social media networks (such as by posting status updates, sharing links to images or videos, or commenting on photos or posts) can be considered as part of a set of activities that are lifestyle in their own right. This is true not only with social media but also with offline, social activities, such as hobbies, groups, or teams. However, there is one key difference between the two: that the content created and managed by offline social media users is much more closely tied to that of their personal lives and daily routines.
As an example, it would be a mistake to describe the work of the late American humorist Dick Gregory as “back-to-the-land movement” or “party animal comedy.” Rather, he was a professional to use his craft to tell stories, share ideas, comment on events in his community and around his home, and much more. The same can be said for the late Michael Moore, whose movies and TV shows were far more about social issues and political commentary than about being a comedian. A “life of the lifestyle” would therefore be a more appropriate description of their work.
The distinction between a set of behaviors and a set of practices is important to the study of Lifestyle Therapy. While many practitioners of this approach consider themselves “life coaches,” they do not fall squarely within the definition of a life coach. Rather, Lifestyle Coaches facilitates clients’ efforts to create new patterns of engagement with the world around them, and they work with them to develop new and revitalized ways of looking at the lives they lead and of living. Some practitioners of this approach call themselves “Lifestyle Trainers,” while others simply refer to themselves as “life coaches.”