What does lifestyle mean
In order to clarify what does unhealthy lifestyle mean, first we need to consult what dictionaries say about the meaning of lifestyle.
The definition of lifestyle in Cambridge Dictionary is simple: someone’s way of living; the things that a person or particular group of people usually do.
Collin English Dictionary states that lifestyle is a set of attitudes, habits, or possessions associated with a particular person or group.
World Health Organisation (WHO) had offered the following definition of the concept of lifestyle:
Lifestyles are patterns of (behavioural) choices from the alternatives that are available to people according to their socio-economic circumstances and the ease with which they are able to choose certain ones over others. (WHO 1986: 118)
In other words, the patterns of our daily choices interact with the life circumstances and create a lifestyle.
For instant, the patterns of exercising daily and eating healthy food may create a healthy lifestyle and help the adepts to live a long life. But the patterns of drinking heavy all day long and smoking at least 10 cigarettes a day may create a very unhealthy lifestyle and put the followers in jeopardy.
Depending on the patterns of behaviour, we then can talk about healthy or unhealthy lifestyles, positive or negative lifestyles, modern or traditional lifestyles, simple/ minimalist or complicated lifestyles and so on. Here are some thoughts about healthy and unhealthy lifestyles.
Lifestyle behaviours with health consequences
Modern life involves far less physical effort than it did in previous generations. I can mention the fact that workplaces are more likely to be sedentary, the housework is less demanding and there are far fewer people that are physically active while travelling. Most of travelers prefer modern ways of travelling and stay in the comfort of luxury hotels doing spa than hiking on mountains or swimming in the ocean.
Also, there is plenty of junk food on the market, not to mention different other dangerous temptations. The rise of high calorie snacks and ready prepared meals, combined with the declining cost of such items, all contribute to a solid foundation of a very unhealthy lifestyle.
Even drinking pattern is made it easy to acquire, since alcohol is more readily available and considerably cheaper than has been in previous generations.
The way we spend time, the work we do, the way we travel and our leisure activities will all influence the lifestyle behaviours we make. Choices we make everyday about all these will have a direct impact on our lifestyle.
In conclusion, healthy or unhealthy lifestyles can be defined as behavioural choices made by individuals about physical activity, eating junk food, drinking alcohol, smoking tobacco, taking drugs.
Non-healthy lifestyle behaviours
The non-healthy lifestyle behaviours that have negative consequences on health in the long run are:
- poor diet,
- lack of physical activity,
- cigarette smoking
- excess drinking
- taking of illegal drugs
- some sexual practices
How to change your lifestyle
There are many individuals who would like to change their unhealthy lifestyle and have no idea where to start or where to find an appropriate advice. Professionals, like psychologists and psychotherapists, know how to help people to change their negative patterns behaviours, however not everybody can afford to consult them. Therefore, many people living unhealthy lifestyles may try to change their negative behaviours on their own, without professional support.
The key factors involved in successful lifestyle change
- Right motivation: it is important to have the right motivation in order to be able to do that, otherwise you will give up sooner or later.
- Realistic goal-oriented: many people fail to change their behaviour because they set unrealistic goals.
- A step at a time. Even if you are determined to make a significant lifestyle change, you should split it up into a number of smaller steps and focus on each step at a time.
- Strong belief: people who strongly believe they can change their behaviour are the most likely to do so.
- Replacing one bad habit with a healthier one. For instance, if you always have a cigarette with a coffee you will need to have a well-rehearsed alternative strategy to prevent this habit persisting. You need an implementation plan such as: ‘When I have a cup of tea I will call a friend rather than smoking a cigarette’.