If you’re hanging out with me in this space, it’s probably fair to say you’ve begun to realize what an amazing, powerful creator you are. Your thoughts and feelings are like flashing signals sent out into the universe attracting the life around you. Did it ever occur to you that your thoughts and feelings are so potent they also play a role in what genes in your DNA get expressed? Pretty mind blowing stuff right, but it makes complete sense with the whole mind-body connection. It’s also great motivation to practice mindfulness and be aware of what we are thinking and allowing into our consciousness. More importantly how it’s impacting our energy and the way we feel.
Let’s dive into it further with a guest post by James Baird, author of Behavioral Genes-Why We Do What We Do and How to Change.
Happiness Discovered: Exploring Epigenetics & Mindful Expression of Happiness Genes
The study is one of the largest ever published looking at the genes involved in human behavior. In the journal Nature Genetics, the international team describes how it analyzed genomic data from hundreds of thousands of people to find genetic variants associated with our feelings of well-being. [Nature Genetics, 2016; DOI: 10.1038/ng.3552]
“...more money doesn't increase your happiness for very long.”
Consider also that in 2008, the National Institutes of Health announced that $190 million had been earmarked for epigenetics research over the following five years. In announcing the funding, government officials noted that epigenetics has the potential to explain mechanisms of aging, human development, the origins of cancer, heart disease, and mental illness, as well as several other conditions.
“It turns out that genetic expression can be affected by your experiences and even by your thoughts and feelings.”
At its most basic, epigenetics is the study of these changes in gene expression that do not involve alterations to DNA.
The Epigenome and Genetic Markers
“...genes don’t make decisions about what they do or whether they’re turned on or off.”
However, genes don’t make decisions about what they do or whether they’re turned on or off. An article in Discover magazine put it this way: “A human liver cell contains the same DNA as a brain cell, yet somehow it knows to code only those proteins needed for the functioning of the liver.” [Ethan Watters. “DNA Is Not Destiny: The New Science of Epigenetics,” Discover, November 22, 2006 http://discovermagazine.com/2006/nov/cover]
“Alterations are made in response to your environment, which includes your surroundings, life experiences, diet, personal behavior, and even beliefs and perceptions...”
“....your epigenetic markers can be rewritten, which means that you can modify the instructions your genes receive.”
“Peace of mind occurs when you are living in your conscious mind where emotional suffering can't occur.”
Emotional suffering is caused by being in our unconscious mind. While our unconscious mind provided survival to our prehistoric ancestors, as its defensive nature employed worry and fear to alert us to potential threats – in today’s world – that same element can overwhelm one’s sense of unnecessary worry about threats that are only really threatening in the perception of one’s own mind.
Peace of mind occurs when you are living in your conscious mind where emotional suffering can't occur. In your conscious mind, you are living in the present rather than the past.
Basic epigenetic therapies to become more conscious include meditation, mindfulness meditation and cognitive therapy by understanding how the mind works. There are many types of meditation which are listed online and in numerous publications. The simplest is breath or mantra focus.
“Mindfulness meditation is taught in many hospitals to reduce stress and depression.”
So if you’re seeking happiness, versus looking outward, consider exploring the role that epigenetics can play in finding the conscious path to well-being that’s been inside you all along.