In your last lesson, you learned about how stress physically affects your body and what sorts of chronic diseases and issues it can lead to when not handled properly.
In this lesson, you learn about epigenetics and how you can change your course.
First, let's discuss genetics or your genes. Your genes are your physical characteristics – your hair color, eye color, skin color, shape of your nose, etc.
If you think of genes in technology terms, then your genes are your computer's hardware. They make up the physical stuff of you.
Then you have epigenetics. Epigenetics are your computer's software. The software controls how your computer responds to what you click on, what you type, how your mouse moves.
And if you know about computers, it is their software that is most susceptible to corruption, a virus, or "hacking."
When a computer fails, it is more often the software than it is the hardware.
Similarly to a computer, your epigenetics are the gatekeepers to your genes. They control which genes are expressed in which part of the body at any given time.
Epigenetics indicates that there are 2 ways that the health of a population can change over time – those two ways are environment and behavior.
So what does this mean anyway? Basically, your environment and your behavior send messages to your body in various ways. Some of those ways are through:
Stress or trauma.
These elements are processed through your unique genetic disposition.
This means that we see that nutrition, social stress, and environmental toxins can influence the body and increase the risk of chronic disease MORE than a disease production gene itself.
So while you may inherit a gene for something like diabetes, or cancer, it is the way in which you live your life and what you are surrounded by that is a higher determinant of whether or not that gene will be turned on.
Basically, your epigenetics are the determining factor as to whether or not the gene you have turns on or stays off.
As you learned in the last lesson, an interruption in the core processes that can affect the brain, heart, blood vessels, digestive system, bones, skin, muscles and kidneys, often manifest themselves in the form of chronic illness.
Over a long period of time, this stress can also adversely affect the mental and physical health of the current generation. That is to say that these changes in your epigenetics may be transmissible to the next generation and increase the incident of chronic disease.
In the case with young kids, traumatic events or things such as constant fear, anger, violence in the home, can alter their genes BECAUSE it alters their epigenetics, which then affects their genes.
But the GOOD news is that you can correct the influences that are altering your genetic expression by changing things such as your environment, or your emotional response.
And if you change the message, then you will also reshape the response and thereby affect your health outcomes.
So you are probably wondering "Kristin, how do I change the message and reshape the response?" I'm so glad you asked!
When it comes to stress, there are a variety of techniques that can be implemented to help reshape your response. Techniques such as:
Mindfulness and meditation.
The list goes on. But as you know, this course will focus on the first 6 techniques.
YOUR TASK for today: identify 1-2 areas of your life where you would like to incorporate one or more of these practices that you will learn. For example, is it a stressful response that tends to happen after a meeting? Is it frustration with your kids or significant other?
Start with 1-2 areas only to help build the practice. Write down what the 1-2 areas are.
In the next lesson, you will learn the importance of breathing and the first breathing technique, the relaxation breath.