How Emotions are Made: The secret life of the brain

Most of what we know about our emotions (and how our brain works) is just plain wrong—and sometimes harmful! Myth: our emotions are hard-wired by evolution in our “limbic” (“reptilian”) brain and emotions are “triggered.” Myth: across the globe humans have universal facial expressions for core emotions (e.g., joy causes smiling). Myth: we control our emotions with our “rational” (neocortex) brain. Myth: the amygdala is the “fear center” of the brain.

Radical health development model

Essential population health goals include protecting and promoting equity and health, transforming people and place, ensuring a healthy planet, and achieving health equity. Naturally, I am often asked to give talks on health inequities (see Presentations). My general approach is to connect structural trauma (poverty, racism, discrimination) and toxic (traumatic) stress (adverse childhood experiences), inter-generational transmission of biological and social risk to offspring, life course neurocognitive development affecting a child’s brain, learning, behavior, and health for life, and industry exploitation of our neuro-vulnerabilities to design and market products for addiction and overconsumption (tobacco, alcohol, prescription opioids, processed foods, gambling, gaming, mobile phones, etc.

Humility is the New Smart! Rethinking human excellence

Humility is the key to unleashing and supercharging personal and organizational performance improvement. However, not everyone feels comfortable introducing complex topics like cultural humility. I was fortunate to discover Professor Edward Hess’ book “Humility is the New Smart: Rethinking human excellence in the smart machine age.”1 I believe his book is a non-threatening, practical, and inspiring way to introduce humility to your staff. Based on Hess’ book, the article below is an excerpt from our population health lean reference document.