Lifestyle is a concept that has its roots in psychology. In particular, psychologists refer to the behavioral patterns and dispositions of an individual, and group, over a period of time. The word was first introduced by Austrian psychiatrist Alfred Adler in his classic, The Case of Miss R. His book was largely considered as a reaction against behaviorism. Lifestyle, however, has more to do with the elements of the human condition, with regard to both individual and group traits.
The word has various meanings, according to the source. For example, in German, lifestyle means “customary ways” or “folk habits”, while in English, it can mean “customary ways”. In this latter sense, the word has no relation to individual psychology, even though it may appear to do so from an introductory point of view. Individual psychology is concerned with the psychological makeup of an individual. As such, it is involved in theories like individual differences, and individual styles.
A healthy lifestyle and a balanced life are concepts that have earned widespread acceptance in society. In fact, some refer to well-being as the goal or aim of life. On the other hand, others think of it as the pursuit of happiness. Still others argue that the two are simply different concepts, and there is no connection between them at all. Whatever your view, understanding the concepts and how they influence our well-being is crucial to achieving a truly healthy lifestyle and a truly balanced life.
One way to understand the relationship between the words is to consider how they are used in popular American English. In common usage, the word lifestyle is used to refer to a state of being that is characterized by enjoyment or well-being. On the other hand, the phrase balanced life style is used to indicate a life style that is characterized by balance or orderliness. In this case, the phrase refers to a system that is organized and focused on achieving balance and harmony within the family, the community, the country, and, most importantly, in the world as a whole. The two phrases can be used in a positive sense, indicating that a person lives a life-style that is in harmony with others and the world around him/her.
Using these two phrases, one can begin to understand the differences between an authentic, balanced lifestyle and a lifestyle that are distorted by bad habits, or unhealthy practices. For example, in American English, the phrase fun and amusement suggest that the goal of a life style is having a lot of enjoyable, moment-to-moment experiences, and that could translate to anything related to entertainment, from games, to exercise, to hanging out with friends, to dancing. On the other hand, the phrase healthy lifestyle implies that the aim of a life style is living a healthy life, meaning that the focus is on staying healthy and taking the right precautions to prevent illness and disease.
To bring this phrase and explanation of the differences between healthy and unhealthy lifestyle changes into perspective, consider two examples. One example is that between a sports fan and a non-sports fan. An ardent sports fan may spend hours watching his/her team play through highlights on television. This fan may feel that by following this sporting habit, he/she is achieving a healthy lifestyle changes in the sense that they are enjoying their hobby, that their minds are occupied with things that do not deal with work or other concerns, and that their physical well-being is enhanced. This may be true for some, but there is also the danger that this intense form of self-satisfaction can lead to an unhealthy form of escapism. Such fans should realize that their form of escapism may not lead to a healthy lifestyle changes in the long run.