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Healthy lifestyles: motivation, needs and social context

By lifestyle, it is meant a “general way of life, based on the interaction between living conditions in a broad sense and individual patterns of behavior, determined by sociocultural factors and personal characteristics,” according to González. This pattern of relatively stable behaviors of individuals or groups will be closely related to health, to the extent that the concept of health will make a certain lifestyle considered healthy or unhealthy.

General way of life, based on the interaction between living conditions in a broad sense and individual patterns of behavior

However, health has a multitude of definitions, gonzález also stressed during his presentation that this concept refers to the “highest possible level of physical, psychological and social well-being, and functional capacity, which allow the social factors in which the individual and the community live immersed.” Therefore, health is multifactorial in nature, includes several dimensions and involves a continuum at whose extremes the negative and the positive would be located -which is understood as well-being-.

Some of the existing variables in terms of lifestyle in relation to health are:


Health promoting behaviours (Regular practice of physical activity, proper diet, use of seat belts).

Problem behaviours (Tobacco, alcohol, early sexual activity).

In this sense, experiences of well-being/discomfort push people to want to protect their health or engage in risky behaviors. In this way, well-being consists of a positive physical and emotional state with a high capacity to enjoy and find challenges in life and to possess adequate strategies to face difficulties. Therefore, this concept can lead to the individual:

The pursuit of pleasure to the detriment of pain. Life satisfaction (according to hedonic vision or subjective well-being)

The need for self-realization linked to self-esteem (according to the Eudaimonic vision or psychological well-being).

On the other hand, discomfort assumes a negative physical and mental state that can include experiences of anxiety, depression, or signs of physical illness. Its indicators would be negative affect (adverse emotional state) and Burmout (physical and emotional exhaustion, feeling of ineffectiveness and carefree and cynical attitude towards participation in an activity).

Discomfort is a negative physical and mental state that can include experiences of anxiety, depression, or signs of physical illness.

Likewise, the correlates that exist between well-being and discomfort within the theory of self-determination are:


It is the reason for our behavior, reflected in how people behave, in what they think and in how they feel about some aspect.


Basic psychological needs are essential nutrients for growth, integrity and well-being. In addition, they are innate, universal and constant throughout evolutionary development.Competence: experience of being able to act effectively with the environment and of being able to face external demands.

Autonomy: experience of choice and feeling of being the initiator of one’s own actions.

Relationship: feeling of being connected to others and being understood by them.

Social context

It influences the way individuals feel, especially young people, who are González’s area of study. Therefore, when talking about social context, it refers, among others, to the process of socialization that occurs throughout life, by which the individual acquires attitudes, beliefs, customs, values, roles and expectations of a culture or social group. It is the influence of the main agents of socialization:Family: it is the most important institution. They accompany the children, help them financially and act as models.

School: they are important means to promote healthy lifestyle habits through physical activities, where students can acquire the learning and development of physical skills.

Friends: great importance during adolescence. The development of shared values occurs and healthy habits or risk behaviors are established.

Media: press, radio, television, etc.

Therefore, the social context of the individual followed by the degree of motivation and satisfaction of their basic psychological needs will lead to their well-being or discomfort.

In conclusion, it is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle in young people. Wellness experiences in these relate to the adoption of healthy living behaviors.

It is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle in young people

Instead, experiences of discomfort in young people are related to the development of risky behaviors. In addition, in the words of González, “the social context has a great influence on the development of well-being, discomfort and health behaviors”, since it promotes quality motivation and facilitates the satisfaction of basic psychological needs. 

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