In this month’s Issue of The Health Promotion Practitioner I wrote about the welcomed new influence positive psychology principles can have on our field though I cautioned against over-reliance on any one approach to understanding and predicting behavior change. I noted that Pharrell Williams might have been singing an ode to my hometown of Waconia, Minnesota given recent research showing we’re one of the happiest places in America. And, to affirm what public health researchers have known for years, a review of my county’s health rankings shows we are also among the healthiest. What variables predict each of these domains? High-income levels, low unemployment rates, and high marriage rates. To be sure, lifestyle and healthcare access also contribute but, as the clever new phrase goes, our ZIP codes matter more than our genetic codes when it comes to health and happiness. I’m happy that happiness is trending strong in our field of health and wellbeing. I’m happier still that principles of positive psychology are coming up as often as those of behavioral economics as we expand our toolkits to support people in living fuller, healthier lives. What occasionally turns my smile upside down, though, is when a health promotion practitioner stumbles into flipping this coin as if 1 side wins more than the other. Read on.
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