The Wisdom of a Green Lifestyle by Lisa Olson
The acronym LIFESTYLE may sound a bit peculiar, but it actually refers to the elements that define and support the human lifestyle. The original term was coined by Austrian psychiatrist Alfred Adler in his classic book, The Case of Miss R. for the meaning of “the primitive psychological character of an individual as determined early in life”.
In some ways, LIFESTYLE lives up to its name: it is a model of a healthy living lifestyle which is applicable to everyone and is constantly in need of modification as one’s needs change throughout their daily life. According to the book, this kind of lifestyle is not exclusive to any age group or class, and can apply to anyone regardless of physical prowess, financial resources, or background. However, it does focus more on the need to adapt a particular LIFESTYLE to one’s unique situation at any given time. For instance, in the case of Miss R., Adler recommends that members of this age group should not make drastic lifestyle changes without first taking stock of their current strengths and weaknesses, as well as their long-term personal goals. By doing so, Miss R. can determine whether a major lifestyle adjustment is warranted, or whether they should instead pursue a more gradual approach towards improving themselves and their environment.
Another way to look at LIFESTYLE is to view it as a snapshot of one’s habits and personality traits – it is not a rigid framework that requires strict adherence. This type of lifestyle also requires flexibility and a willingness to take risks, as flexibility is needed to adjust to changing circumstances and environments, as well as to change one’s lifestyle to match these changes. Adler emphasizes the importance of defining the concrete aspects of a LIFESTYLE, rather than merely applying the concept to a generic case study. These concrete aspects are what define individual lifestyles, as well as how they interact with and influence one another.
There are four broad elements of a healthy lifestyle: physical activities, mental activities, social interaction, and purposeful leisure time. In The Wisdom of Your Body, Dr. Mary Ennis defines each element in more detail, including the specific physical activities that form the basis for a healthy lifestyle and the general types of mental activities and leisure time that help maintain this balance. While the elements of LIFESTYLE may overlap somewhat with the definitions presented in this text, the book ultimately presents a more accurate picture of this critical life skill. As mentioned above, LIFESTYLE is not a rigid framework and flexibility is, in fact, one of the core benefits of a healthy lifestyle. Through this lens, lifestyle change can occur incrementally, which makes the process both more meaningful and less stressful for participants.
The final component of LIFESTYLE is a exploration of personal identity and values. Ennis provides numerous examples of people who have successfully navigated the transition between healthy lifestyles and new healthier goals. She even provides some specific suggestions for how you can create your own personal identity and how others can help you to do the same. A green lifestyle is about much more than eating right and getting enough sleep; it’s about forging an identity for your own personal life, one that you can continue to live despite the current environmental conditions.
The book LIFESTYLE offers an excellent opportunity for those who are looking to move beyond the basics of healthy living. While there are many different approaches to living a healthy lifestyle, the health problems associated with poor eating and lack of physical activity pale in comparison to the serious issues related to sedentary lifestyle and chronic stress. Through this accessible reference, readers can find the practical tips and strategies needed to make positive lifestyle changes that reap long-term benefits for everyone. Those who make changes can enjoy the rewards of increased quality of life, as well as the opportunity to reduce overall health risks.