Abstract: Survey research is important for understanding health and improving practice among health professions. However, survey research can have drawbacks, such as overuse and excessively lengthy questionnaires that burden respondents. These issues lead to poor response rates and incomplete questionnaires. Low and incomplete response rates result in missing data and reduced sample size, damaging the value, usability and generalizability of the information collected. To address issues related to response rates and improve health research, shorter surveys are recommended because they impose less of a burden on respondents and are useful with larger populations. Health- related surveys also often focus on the factors leading to ill health without dedicating equal attention to factors supporting positive health. This study developed and tested a short form (SF) of the validated Salutogenic Wellness Promotion Scale (SWPS), which measures causes of health (rather than causes of disease), using responses from 2052 college students. The participants answered questions about their demographics and completed the SWPS and a perceived health assessment. Statistical tests demonstrated the SWPS-SF had significant relationships with the full SWPS, health status, and Grade Point Average (GPA). Statistical tests were also used to establish cutoff scores that had a high true positive and low false negative rate. These cutoff scores demonstrated a relationship of higher performance and better health. These promising results suggest this short test can provide valid information without burdening the respondents. Authors recommend additional tests be completed to validate the SWPS-SF.
This scale provides a helpful screen tool that can accurately assess health, that is well-being not just the absence of disease. While more testing is needed, the article noted, “This study developed a short form of the SWPS, and initial evidence suggests it can provide valuable data for participants, health professionals, and health researchers. This short, complementary tool will provide data about health-causing actions, address the pathogenic bias, and improve response rates due to its short format.” The full article can be accessed on PubMed here.
The SWPS-SF provides a quick way to screen for peoples behaviors that indicate health improvement from beneficial, physical, social, emotional, spiritual, intellectual, vocational, and environmental actions. Feedback, as can be provided to professionals and individuals, has been shown to help people improve behaviors and it provides professionals with information about how to nudge them toward better actions. The data can also be used to help design a health promoting environment.
The SWPS-SF is a tool that when used should help generate comprehensive improvements by creating net-positive, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits. Please contact me if you have any questions. I look forward to talking with you.
The book was fascinating to me because it highlighted and made clear why We are Just Talking Apes and how There is Only US, There is no Them as I attempted to suggest previously. I loved Zoobiquity because it documented how similar all living things are on earth and that “we should be looking at the overlap rather than the differences” between species due to our shared ancestry.
I was fascinated as they demonstrated how other animals also have foresight, regret, shame guilt, love and revenge. These are things I thought I saw in our dogs, but I thought I was anthropomorphizing their behaviors. I guess I was not.
Examples of similarities in the book included how all animals, like humans can Faint when scared. This led to a better explanation of our instincts that are generally only described as Fight or Flight. A true description of our reactions is “Fight, Flight, or Faint” when startled. As they documented, faking death, like when we Faint, had survival benefits and may be why it lasted through our evolution.
I thought most interesting was how they showed some behaviors that many attribute to bad character, also exist in the animal kingdom. For instance, there is a section that describes eating disorders in the animal kingdom that mirror humans eating disorders. (see Intriguing links between animal behavior and anorexia nervosa by Treasure, Janet & Owen, John) Other behaviors such as homosexuality, trans sex and even sex between species exists in other animals meaning it evolved for a survival reason and is still in our DNA.
In other examples they document the proliferation of STDs in the animal kingdom. After all, they don’t have antibiotics or any type of protection. In another similarity, they document how teenage animals act similar to human teenagers. The similarity relates to their behaviors. As explained, teenage brains don’t register danger as adults do and this may be why they take what seems to be “stupid” or unwise actions. They however explain, “These risky behaviors can encourage encounters with threats and competitions that may hurt them but actually end up being helpful for success later in life.” They even suggest that it may be more dangerous when adolescents don’t take risks than if they do. If risks are avoided, they are not prepared for life.
Overall, these many comparisons and similarities indicate that what happens are not necessarily flaws or problems of humans, it is hard wired into us. These actions are just part of our shared DNA, those actions however can also be influenced by our environment.
Sex, Drugs, &…
They also showed how animals in the wild sometimes get hooked on drugs, who knew? They also explained that animals have varied sex drives, high or low, and some animals even use some of the same techniques to attract mates as can be seen in humans. It was amazing to learn. They even suggest that an “Orgasm is not the byproduct of sex, it is the bait from erotic ancestry” that enables, or supports reproduction.
There were some unpleasant things in the book. A disturbing section explained humans believed animals did not feel. This existed until fairly recently — though some still believe this, especially about fish. Humans had the false belief that animals could not feel because we could not understand how they thought. Animals react differently to pain, some withdraw rather than vocalize it, at least that we can hear. They relate this to how many thought even babies did not feel pain up until the 1980s.
The authors discussion of pleasure and then drugs was also enlightening. They explained how pleasure and rewards initiated behaviors that helped us survive and negative emotions altered behaviors when survival was threatened. They then relate this to drugs by explaining people become addicted because drugs can falsely signal we are doing something beneficial to our fitness that helps our survival. They also provide an enlightening discussion about how this relates to and feeds addictions.
Nature or Nurture??
An insightful point they demonstrated was that it is not a Nature or Nurture answer, but a dance between each. As was explained, Nature & Nurture are not a divide but rather an endless feedback loop of information that enables adaptation. For example, they document that animals, like humans, can get fat when there is an abundance of food and no predators. They also document animals, like humans, will consume processed foods to their detriment because of the false signals created by these ultra-processed foods.
Overall, again and again, from drugs, to sex, to relationships, they document how these are issues for all in the animal kingdom, not just for humans. It had a copyright of 2012 however it is very current. The most current part was how it seems to have led to the development of the new World Health Organizations initiative, “One Health”.
‘One Health’ is an approach to designing and implementing programmes, policies, legislation and research in which multiple sectors communicate and work together to achieve better public health outcomes.
The areas of work in which a One Health approach is particularly relevant include food safety, the control of zoonoses (diseases that can spread between animals and humans, such as flu, rabies and Rift Valley Fever), and combatting antibiotic resistance (when bacteria change after being exposed to antibiotics and become more difficult to treat)..
Many of the same microbes infect animals and humans, as they share the eco-systems they live in. Efforts by just one sector cannot prevent or eliminate the problem. For instance, rabies in humans is effectively prevented only by targeting the animal source of the virus (for example, by vaccinating dogs).
Information on influenza viruses circulating in animals is crucial to the selection of viruses for human vaccines for potential influenza pandemics. Drug-resistant microbes can be transmitted between animals and humans through direct contact between animals and humans or through contaminated food, so to effectively contain it, a well-coordinated approach in humans and in animals is required.
We can Do More
One Health is a great start, however it seems to only focus on how we can better avoid, treat and or prevent problems. In my view it does not put enough emphasis on how health is created and improved.
From my reading it became even more vital to work towards generating comprehensive improvements by creating net-positive, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and EVERYTHING benefits. All living things are connected and the aim of all living things must be to live in a way that makes life more livable.
Natterson-Horowitz & Bowers seem to agree, at the end, they explain:
The fate of our world health doesn’t depend solely on how we humans fare, rather it will be determined by how ALL patients on the planet live, grow, get sick and heal.
Natterson-Horowitz & Bowers in “Zoobiquity”
Let’s create all good, we can’t wait for people or animals to become patients, we must proactively work to make life more livable and better for all.
Greens in the form of vegetables are good for our health
Green behavior is regenerative or at least better and can help everyone and everything
Green in form of money can be good and helpful
This post is about how all 3 of these benefits will accrue from this simple action.
Many of us eat greens as spinach, lettuce, kale, mustard greens etc. While these greens are good for us, taste good and are delicious, they do not stay fresh long. Composting old greens is better because in time they turn into useful soil, but it still wastes money.
A Better Idea
We found a more useful solution. When our greens start to go bad, we put them into the blender and then freeze them. As frozen small pieces of greens, they are easy to add to a smoothy.
We keep freezing old greens simple. When ours greens start to go bad we put the old greens in the blender with a little bit of water, if necessary, and mix. After the leaves are chopped, we place those leaves in a bag and put them in the freezer. I also put a scooper in that bag so I can easily scoop out a helping for my smoothie.
I really like doing this in the summer because I find Smoothies to be great summer snacks They are refreshing, cool and also provide a healthy serving of vegetables. If you are interested in more techniques, this page, How to Freeze Spinach, shares more options.
This simple technique provides multiple benefits:
We eat more greens by including them in our now tastier and more filling smoothies
Environmental benefits are less trips to the store and less food waste
We save money by not having to buy greens or other ingredients for smoothies
Overall, chopping and freezing greens is a great, all good way to generate comprehensive improvements. Freezing older greens creates a net-positive, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic benefits from which everyone and everything benefits.
Please share how you generate comprehensive improvements so everyone and everything can benefit.
COVID has changed us forever. Never did we believe a virus could change our society as dramatically as it has. COVID has caused us to quickly move even faster than we thought possible. Unfortunately, in some ways we could be accelerating forward faster.
Our justified fear of the spread of the virus and problems associated with COVID has overly emphasized prevention by crowding out the promotion and improvement of health BEYOND the absence of disease. We can be and do better. Improved well-being amplifies the power of prevention. Prevention has been wonderful, but as I noted earlier, Prevention Can’t Work and Problems are Irrelevant!or at least it is insufficient when health improvement is our objective. Positive health amplifies prevention so we can accelerate forward faster.
Health is the PRESENCE Of WELL-BEING, it is not the absence of problems. Think about it, you feel good and have joy when you do things that make you feel good and or do good. Avoidance can only lead to temporary relief, not well-being.
Well being is caused by interactively developing physically, mentally and socially through conscious actions. Prevention efforts keep us from doing things. The BEST WAY TO PREVENT PROBLEMS is to be as healthy as possible. Prevention is a by-product of improved well-being. Study after study shows those engaged in health causing behaviors and thoughts in multiple dimensions, which my studies have labeled as social, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, physical, vocational and environmental, benefit with improved well-being and higher life satisfaction due to the cumulative effect of these multiple well-being enhancing actions. There is no magic bullet.
To be able to prevent bad things, we must be strong mentally, physically and socially resulting from the development of those assets. Prevention, if taken alone, encourages us to isolate and become stagnant. Only when we take action can we get healthier and stronger. If you are interested and have time, I detail this in this Creating Better presentation.
Another factor related to our difficulty, as Michael Lewis describes in The Premonition: A Pandemic Story, is from our problem understanding exponential growth which explains the rate a virus can spread. After all, isn’t it hard to believe a penny doubled every day for just 30 days would amount to over $5 million dollars? Even crazier, folding a typical piece of paper 50 times would end up being over 7 million miles long???? HUH?
Of course this is hard to believe, see the videos below that attempt to help us grasp the concept of exponential growth:
Overall, we should be taking actions to enhance our well-being which will amplify our ability to prevent problems as a by-product of improved well-being. In other words, we can accelerate forward faster and experience better well-being with a side of prevention. This future will happen when we work to generate comprehensive improvements by creating net-positive, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions from which everyone and everything benefits. Please share how you make your life better do everyone and everything benefits!
Mr. Stotz indicated how Deming’s work had impacted his thinking and career. Deming also provides a solid basis for all I do with health. His ideas about continual improvement of the process so the product takes care of itself and systems appreciation are at the basis of all I have done. Personal and planetary health are interconnected and as we continually improve the lifestyle process with an understanding of how it impacts everyone and everything – we can achieve the desirable aim of regenerative communities by living regenerative lifestyles. You will see Dr. Deming mentioned often in multiple posts on this blog and he has also been a basis for many of my peer reviewed published articles.
The part that caught my attention in the recent Deming institute podcast was when Andrew Stotz, despite being a financial analyst, said, “Finance adds no value” He went on to explian:
“Finance adds no value….Ultimately it’s the products and the service, and finance is a support function just as human resources… it’s when finance starts being the head of the business that you get into trouble…Never make the right finance decision over the right business decision.”
This may be a stretch, however, to me his statement that finances cannot provide value is similar to how I have adopted what I learned from Dr. Deming. As I have noted, Prevention Can’t Work and Problems are Irrelevant! if improvement is the goal. He even states, good finances are a by-product, and cannot be the aim, just as research has shown prevention is the by-product of good health, not its aim. Prevention and problem solving only stop bad things from happening but do not make things better than where we were before the problem occurred. We could not get healthy after COVID occurred, we had to create a better life first and the protection against COVID from good health was a beneficial by-product. Those without co-morbidities have done better.
Mr. Stotz comments about finances by explaining that money desires should not drive actions, because earning money is the necessary result or by-product. These ideas were outlined in this post, Money Is a Lagging Not a Leading Indicator which demonstrated that
Money must follow, it cannot lead.
Businesses, as Kevin Cahill explains, often want to just seem to be keeping up so they go with the new management fads or “the flavor of the month” rather than maintaining a constant aim. As he notes, this does not work out well, especially over the long term. This linked 4/24/2022 Close to Home comic humorously captures this idea about just doing something because it is a current idea.
Mr. Cahill then provides a great example of the outcomes from a focus on value or money when he contrasts Apple and Enron. One company was guided by financial statements while the other was guided by providing value. Apple, which he cites from Walter Isaacson’s book, Steve Jobs, says Apple had the aim or mission to create “insanely great products”. In contrast, the now defunct Enron’s mission was to make more money. The result: Apple is worth a trillion dollars and Enron went bankrupt.
In looking back, I realized I have cited Steve Jobs and things he has done almost as often as I have cited Dr. Deming. To me both provide great examples of how we can help generate comprehensive improvements by creating net-positive, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits.
I hope you listen to the Deming podcast and that it motivates you to study Deming’s methods. Deming was my inspiration and it has helped me a lot in my career. Please share what you learn and how you implement his ideas to benefit everyone and everything so “everybody wins” as Dr. Deming used to say!
For the millions (well not yet) of you that follow me, you know I often use this blog as a scratchboard. I post these ideas hoping some of my unfinished thoughts will aid you in your thinking process. I recently realized that certain phrases seem to keep coming back to me and seem relevant. SInce I am a professor I a proposing a hypothesis about why they have stuck and I would appreciate your thoughts on accuracy of these thoughts. Can you do that by leaving a comment at the end?
One of the phrases that has stuck was in my thesis that I completed for my MS in Wellness Management at Ball State University. My thesis study focused on lifestyle behaviors. Throughout the paper I continued to emphasize that lifestyl behaviors were necessary, but alone they were insufficient. That phrase…
“…necessary but insufficient“
…has come back to me again and again. Most recently I heard it when I listened to Freakonomics episode #498. In the 1890s, the Best-Selling Car Was … Electric. In the episode they discuss how after a huge false start, electric cars are finally about to flourish. However in the episode, they emphasize that while moving to electric cars is necessary, it is insufficient to solve our climate crisis due to the many other damaging environmental factors from agriculture, cement and steel making and other processes.
An important aspect with this idea seems to be consistency. By that I mean that, it seems waht a person considers necessary actions are are also probably consistent with your values and therefore beneficial to your well-being. What are things you do that are necessary, but insufficient? Please share and also let us know how and if it helps.
The other phrase that keeps coming back that I used in my dissertation when I got my PhD from Arizona State and have also used in many articles is…
“… latent underlying constructs“
Latent means hidden or concealed. However it is not really hidden, it is just not prominent or noticeable right away. I have used this phrase to document the importance of health and or the environment. Health is something that enables all else, but is hidden or latent because without it, everything else is problematic. Of course when we don’t have health, it is prominent, but the lack of ill health is latent or hidden yet it is still necessary.
I also read a lot of James Lovelock and in all his books, especially in The Revenge of Gaia: Earth’s Climate Crisis & The Fate of Humanity: Earth’s Climate Crisis and the Fate of Humanity, he emphasizes the necessity but insufficiency or our current environmental actions. He suggests, “…We are like a revolting teenager, intelligent, with great potential, but far too greedy, and selfish for our own good” and that “…We must stop acting as if human welfare is all that matters”. He says this due to the interconnectedness of all living things, most especially the living Earth, or Gaia as he explains. As we all know, without a habitable earth, nothing else is possible. In this way, Earth is the “latent underlying construct” that is “necessary”.
In writing this I am just realizing these phrases are related. Latent underlying constructs are necessary, but insufficient. To me this means we must build on our good actions to enable continual and never ending improvement. In my teaching, I emphasize the ripple effect or the fact that it is not just what happens right away from that transaction, it is also about what happens down the line because that transaction that really matters. For instance, we can get car to go using fossil fuels, but the leftover CO2 from burning this fossil fuel is rushing climate change. This means the ripple of climate change, not the transaction of driving is most relevant.
This idea then brings us back to the start of this post about electric cars. Electric cars are necessary and can help, especially if we power them with clean renewable energy, but they are insufficient. They will not repair what we damaged, their use will just not add more, or as much damage. For these reasons and many more, my focus has been to attempt to generate comprehensive improvements by creating net-positive, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits – which is the practice of paneugenesis.
As a professor, I write and publish articles in journals. These articles allow us to share our inferences, which means we use our expertise to share what we think the data for findings from a study or experiment mean. This also means inferences are not always accurate, they are initial understanding of phenomena.
Overall, this means my inference is that those phrases have stuck and keep coming back to me do so because they are relevant and important. What do you think? Do the reasons stated accurately explain why those phrases seem important and relevant and have therefore stuck with me and keep coming back?
Please share the thoughts and also actions you take to help even though we must all contribute because alone our actions may be necessary, but insufficient. Thank you – I look forward to reading your thoughts!
Of course, what option is there? The ONLY option is to do good, feel good for doing good and be regenerative, not just sustainable. Review of the interconnected world clearly demonstrates, the world wants to regenerate. The awesome thing is that the only way we can save ourselves is also the best way to create the best life for everyone and everything. We all benefit from generating comprehensive improvements when we are creating net positive, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits.
Nature does this, in all ways, including with the “Wood Wide Web”, where roots distribute resources most efficiently so trees make up a healthy and vibrant interdependent forest. The trees don’t fight for survival, they share to create overall success. That is how nature works.
My former Ph.D.mentor and and dissertation chair at Arizona State, Dr. Bill Arnold, recently sent me this NBC News article, “Employees are tired, stressed and burned out. That’s why I give mine ‘wellness days” with the header, “Your Point”. The article makes the point I promote that employers should treat employees as adults and give them freedom to use their days as desired. If employees are misusing the policy, attention should be directed toward a better culture. Work should be rewarding, as Dr. W. Edwards Deming often explained:
To enable people to have a better work experience, to enable joy, employees should be provided “general leave” days, rather than sick days, to use. If people are sick, then those general leave days are used for sickness and cannot be used for desired activities. This policy therefore rewards people who are healthy by giving them the opportunity to have days off with pay to use as desired. This type of “Wellness Day” Policy can generate more good, not just less bad or fewer sick days (see Beyond Order and Status Quo). This policy will also encourage people to strive for higher levels of health, which will also benefit productivity and research shows also results in less sick days, as a by-product.
In other words, give employees wellness days so they can use those days to fulfill their potential. After all:
Are we living in Orwellian’s world? Why should we only paid for a day off if we are sick? Doesn’t this policy reward sickness?
Of course providing for sick days is important, which a General Leave Policy also accomplishes, but more is needed. People need days outside of work for importantthings in life such as attending a child’s performance, a child’s graduation (personal experience), or going to see a fantastic exhibit. All these things are important to help the employees have a better life. Keeping employees from doing what they want will negatively impact their productivity and attitude about work. This policy also means when they will miss work, it won’t be a surprise. With his policy employees will plan for the days missed which will also boost productivity when they miss without preparation. The policy highlighted in the article described their wellness days as:
The idea of Wellness Days is similar to the famed Google 20% time rule that encourages employees to spend 20% of their time on whatever they want. They trust the employees to do the right things and the payoff has been powerful (as noted in the linked article below).
The idea is pretty simple: It’s that you, or a team, or a company–anyone, really–should divide your time working, so that at least 20 percent is spent exploring or working on projects that show no promise of paying immediate dividends but that might reveal big opportunities down the road.
“We encourage our employees, in addition to their regular projects, to spend 20 percent of their time working on what they think will most benefit Google,” co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin wrote in 2004, before the company’s IPO. “This empowers them to be more creative and innovative. Many of our significant advances have happened in this manner.”
A Wellness Day policy that provides paid time off work for general leave, rather than sick days, is a way practice paneugenesis because it is likely to generate more good, not JUST less bad. Wellness Days are more likely to enable employees and their organizations to generate comprehensive improvements because they will now have the capacity to create net-positive, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits. Please share wellness days policies that work and also let us know how they have helped. Thank you.
I recently read and reviewed a very interesting book, The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate – Discoveries from a Secret World. It amazed and inspired me. The wisdom in the trees is amazing, we can learn so much about how we can make our lives better for everyone and everything by learning how trees manage their lives. As Peter Wohllenben documents, with clarity and support, forests practice Paneugenesis because they generate comprehensive improvements by creating pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits. Below is the review I posted on Goodreads and Google books.
Wow – what different thoughts I have after reading this book. I was surprised at how much this book impacted my thoughts. Understand I also have an informed bias. I am an environmentalist and believe we not only must live sustainably, but we also have to fix all we have broken. My reading indicates this book supported that belief while also helping me gain an even better and deeper understanding of the innate interconnections of all living beings on earth.
The book nudged me to see trees, and plants for that matter, as living beings, but on a different time scale than us. Trees live 500 to 1000 years so they change slowly. This slow rate of change has caused us to see trees as things, rather than living beings. Wohlleben makes a strong case for how and why trees are living beings. He even got me to understand how trees may have emotions and feelings. As he states and makes clear, “… Trees are not competitive crusaders but members of a connected, related community system.”
I was amazed over and over again by the hidden capabilities of trees and forests. Trees also form a community and are connected. They also help each other, even other plants thought to be competitors because it is the whole, the forest, that takes priority. I was continually awed. For instance, I was amazed to learn about all the natural defenses trees and forests develop to use for floods, heat and cold that are lost when trees are moved from the forest to a city.
I was also amazed to learn how trees clean the air. Trees also react to their surroundings. Trees send out scents to attract predators or push away greedy plants or animals when needed. I was also amazed to learn if trees don’t have time to rest due to lights in a city or are not able to experience the coolness of the winter, they die earlier. It was also interesting to learn how helpful it is for the well-being of trees to have relatives, such as mother and father trees, close by. The mother trees nurture their babies, just like us. I was amazed to learn that trees also suffer from loneliness and die early when they are removed from a forest.
In other words, trees practice paneugenesis and therefore generate comprehensive improvements by making life more livable. They are act selfishly to keep a forest abundant because it provides their greatest chance for a good life, it acts selflessly by helping others when they need it, and these selfish, selfless, symbiotic actions cause synergistic benefits from which everyone and everything benefits.
Near the end of the book, he stated: “Forests are not first and foremost lumber factories and warehouses for raw materials, and only secondarily complex habitats for thousands of species, which is the way modern forestry treats them. Completely the opposite, in fact.” In a similar way, this is the point I try to make with my work focused on health. We do not first and foremost take actions and do things to prevent bad consequences from happening, and only secondarily improve well-being, which is how our “health” care system and society works now. Results document the complete opposite is the more beneficial path.
We should engage in actions that enhance our society with a systems appreciation so our actions generate comprehensive improvements that benefit everyone and everything. This is the system of the forest that Peter Wohlleben explained in his book, “The Hidden Life of Trees: what they feel, how they communicate: discoveries from a secret world”. Nature can teach us so much…
From my perspective, research, and general common sense, salutogenesis must be the idea we use to advance society to a better place. I also believe it should be understood, while it will be less bad, creating more good is the major attribute. A better reality, not possible now must be created. Salutogenesis is the origins of health. It is the idea, concept, theory, and approach to health that from my view is about the creation of good health beyond the absence of problems. It is not a better way to treat disease or discomfort, rather it is a way to create better outcomes not possible otherwise.
Upon returning from the conference in Finland in 2009, I was concerned the idea of salutogenesis was being used pathogenically. By that I mean the salutogenic techniques discussed were more focused on treatment and helping people recover than on creating a new and better reality. Which also, by definition, must mean bad things get better or become less problematic. To voice this idea, my response was to publish the linked article, “Salutogenesis 30 Years Later: Where do we go from here?“. Nine years later, in 2019, those in Europe who chose not to participate in the article I published wrote a related linked article, “Future directions for the concept of salutogenesis: a position article“.
Fortunately, since this virtual conference started at 3am for me, it was in Girona, Spain, I was able to send videos of my scheduled presentations (below). Each 10 minute presentation was supposed to be a conversation starter to generate a discussion about how to advance salutogenesis.
If you watch these presentations and it generates ideas or thoughts, please share. Of course each of these ideas are an attempt to help generate comprehensive improvements by creating pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits. As I have noted previously, salutogenesis is an effective way to practice paneugenesis or create all good. I look forward to hearing from you about how we can advance the ideas of salutogenesis.
With my colleagues, Ashley Norris,MS, Susannah Berry,MS, Beth Chaney, PhD and Molly Robinson, MPH, I expanded my research to early childhood education. The study was interesting and I learned a lot. Through this work I learned we can positively impact education and health by empowering the student and teacher in ways that also improve health behaviors. I published the findings in the American Journal of Health Studies article, “Pilot Assessment of the Scholar Checklist: A Tool for Early Childhood Health & Education“. If you are interested, you can see more about the article here.
We are so smart, we overcomplicate things. Making it more complex can help us understand, however for action, simplicity is necessary. Most goals or desires we have in life have more complexity than readily apparent. We are physical, social, emotional, spiritual dynamic, interrelated beings. Things continually change because as anything changes, everything changes. For this reason, and many others, John Kay convincingly explains why the interactive, oblique process, what he calls obliquity, is a more effective method. Obliquity is being deliberately indirect.
Oblique approaches are regularly used. Effective methods focus on building a better process so the product will take care of itself. For example, rather than going directly at health, which is complex, Antonovsky demonstrated with his salutogenesis model the focus should be on building meaning, manageability and comprehensibility and then health will be the subsequent consequence.
This approach also supports the paneugenesis process because working to develop Precursors are indirect factors necessary to realize Idealized Outcomes. In other words, the paneugenesis process is an example of using indirect methods to achieve complex goals.
In support of the idea of obliquity, James Clear shared this:
“Friendship happens on the way to something else If you “try to meet new people” it feels weird and forced. The more you aim for friendship, the more it eludes you.But if you aim to learn or achieve something with others, friendship happens naturally during the shared pursuit.”
A great deal of focus, attention, and money has been spent to help us improve our lifestyles with the belief that this will lead to improved health. Without a doubt, there is potential. Reality, however, shows us that although some things are better, the trend is not what it should or could be. From my perspective there may be a better approach. Evidence from my work and from many others suggests that a comprehensive, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic salutogenic or health causing approach would be more effective.
I have noted often, I eat more plants and encourage others to do the same because it will help everyone and everything. It is good for us, good for animals good, good for workers, good for the air, good for the land, good for the water, good for…Dr. Greger summarizes it well here. Enjoy and make it a great weekend by generating comprehensive benefits through the creation of pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits.
For us to create a better world, we have to ask the right questions. If we don’t ask the right questions, it is impossible to get the right answer. Asking the wrong questions means no matter how hard we work at getting the answers, we still won’t get what we want because we asked the wrong question.
Of course, if we are asking the wrong questions, the data we collect to answer the question will be wrong. Working with the wrong data leads to improperly informed data based decisions. We then waste effort, no matter how hard or how diligently we work. As practice continues to illustrate, Dr. W. Edwards Deming forsaw future problems from the existing methods. With regard to this situation, he would say,
It is not enough to do your best; you must know what to do, and then do your best.
We can’t do good work if we don’t answer appropriate questions and have bad or wrong data. Additionally, working this way leads to more problems. Using the wrong data and asking the wrong questions means we get wrong answers. Relatedly, Russell Ackoff said it was most important to make sure you taking appropriate action. Appropriate action is impossible with the wrong data and the wrong question. As he explained,
Climate change is a current example where people cherry pick data to support a preconceived view rather than letting data determine the situation. Walter Williams regular uses cherry picked data to support a different pespective as he did in his November 20, 2019 column, Scientists: Dishonest or Afraid?. A response to his column pointing out that he used bad data can be seen at, Climate scientists neither dishonest nor afraid. In my view, it is important for us to get perspective. To get perspective, it often requires us to take a step back and look at the bigger picture.
From a larger perspective, there are no problems just a reality to improve. In other words, things are functioning, all we can do is improve what we are doing to have a more beneficial impact.
In this episode, which is also on Malcolm Gladwell’s Revisionist History podcast , Gladwell interviews Rosanne Haggerty about homelessness. Rosanne explains how we are asking the wrong questions about homelessness. She explains that we believe the homeless problem cannot be solved because we are using the wrong data. She also explains how we are spending more to keep the status quo than it would cost to provide a solution to the housing problem from which everyone could benefit. She suggests a sticking point may be an issue of fairness. I encourage you to listen to this episode on #Solvable and share your thoughts here.
With regard to cost, once again this is the wrong question. It is not how much will it cost but how much can we save by providing housing. A positive benefit would be calculated even before related benefits such as what those people can contribute to society are considered.
This is another “True Cost” example (see True cost is all about The External Ripple). True costs for homelessness must include the widespread burden put on public service workers, police, teachers, EMT, court systems, doctors, librarians, emergency rooms, and the healthcare systems. We can provide an investment in housing for less then it costs to maintain the status quo and this investment will pay societal dividends that benefit everyone and everything.
If you are interested, Roseanne Haggerty indicated that the article in the New Yorker by Malcolm Gladwell, Million Dollar Murray helped inspire her work. The article outlines the huge costs of just one homeless person had for society.
The issue about the wrong question and the wrong data resonates with me because it has been my life’s work. My work has focused on improving health. While most believe better health is accomplished by minimizing and or preventing disease. That line of thinking is once again asking the wrong question which means that associated work provides inappropriate data. Of course decreasing disease problems is helpful and good, but better health cannot be answered by focusing on disease. Please see Prevention Can’t Work and Problems are Irrelevant!.
Currently we have an acute disease care system which is helpful, useful and important to treat problems for the short term. This system, however, is insufficient and inappropriate to generate a better life for all. To create a better life, we must ask about how can we not just have better health, but how do we create a better life for everyone and everything, not possible as things are now.
Health is important, not as an ends, but as a means because it enables a better life. As James Clear explains,
Having health isn’t everything, not having it is.
To create this better life, we must consider everyone and everything because we are all connected and we all rise and fall together. The question cannot be how do we fix disease and or infirmity, but how do we cause health. We also must be sure that health is understood as the World Health Organization defines it:
A state of complete physical, mental and social well-being
merely the absence of disease and infirmity.
This concept can be applied to everything. I use it for all I do. For example, I have applied this idea to Higher Education when I sought to discover What Helps Students Thrive? not just survive. The questions cannot be about how we prevent failure but how do we facilitate higher levels of success, not possible otherwise. This is what I call Exceeding Expectations, +3. (see video)
I continually challenge myself to exceed expectations. I ask myself, how can do my best in my roles as a husband, parent, friend, co-worker, professor and citizen? My question for myself is how can contribute more as a member of society, not just how do I avoid causing problems. I know when I do this, generated benefits are widespread. Doing this helps others, it helps me feel better about myself, and these actions provide data to support the positive feeling generated about myself. It is a no lose proposition.
If we don’t ask the question, better answers will only be discovered by accident. I recommend we make a concerted effort to ask the right question. Asking the right questions will help us get the right data which will help us make better decisions which can benefit all. In other words, we should be asking ourselves, how can we…
Generate comprehensive improvements by creating pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits?
For those of you that follow me, you know this is how to practice paneugenesis or create all good. Don’t we all want to be contributing members of society? Doing this enables us to be who we want to be. As more of us do this, we create a better life for ourselves because we live a life of purpose and meaning. A by-product from living this way, as more of us do this, a better society for everyone and everything evolves.
Please share how you practice paneugenesis. I encourage you to practice paneugenesis to make it a Great Holiday season for yourself and everyone else. Enjoy and feel good about the beneficial interactions you create with friends, family and the environment.