Our bodies are more powerful than we can imagine. Have you ever heard of epigenetics? It studies how the environment and behaviors influence gene expression without changing the DNA sequence.
Studies have shown that epigenetic changes can pass from one generation to another. Think about the implications of that. Yes. We can inherit our ancestors’ genes, which our bodies, in turn, can express. But we don’t have to live with their trauma continually, and we certainly don’t have to pass it along. What’s excellent about epigenetics is that we can create new, beneficial habits, altering our gene expression and then passing those on to future generations.
A perfect example is inflammation, which is the foundation of most illnesses. It’s responsible for conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, fatty liver, endometriosis, obesity, asthma, diabetes type I and II, etc. However, with epigenetics, you can decrease the amount of inflammation in the body by creating healthy lifestyle choices.
The fact is, we inherit genes for diseases and disorders from our parents. But that doesn’t mean those genes have to be expressed or turned on. Of course, there’s more depth to this, but in essence, that’s what epigenetics is all about.
In 2013, a UCLA study found that daily meditation can deactivate NF-kB, an inflammation gene. Keep in mind this is not magic. It’s a combination of mindfulness, muscle action, and what you put into your mouth. Here are five things that you can do to influence the expression of your genes positively.
- Move your body, somehow: walk, exercise, go on hikes, dance, Zumba, whatever makes you feel good.
- Eat lots of whole foods: reduce alcohol consumption, smoking, and eating too many sugary and processed foods.
- Create meaningful connections: find a safe community of peers, spend time with others, do kind meaningful acts, be good to yourself and others.
- Adopt restorative practices: indulge in parasympathetic inducing practices like prayer, yoga, tai-chi, meditation, breathworks, and qigong.
- Talk with a Therapist or counselor: connecting with a professional is a great way to understand why you feel the way you do so you can effectively manage your feelings and emotions.
These can create changes in our gene expression and, ultimately, our future generations.