Benefits: Gain a basic understanding of epigenetics.
So That You Can: Identify the links between your daily habits, gene expression, and personal growth.
Go From Inspiration to Action With the Worksheet Below!
One Surprising Way Daily Habits Can Sabotage Personal Growth
Have you heard of epigenetics? I hadn’t either until a couple of days ago. Apparently, biologists have been studying epigenetics since the ‘70s, but, as far as I can tell, the results haven’t hit the mainstream media yet. And this well-kept secret could be the key to figuring out why your daily habits always seem to sabotage your personal growth.
As we’ve talked about in many of my posts, we want to develop daily life-changing habits so we can live the fulfilling life we were meant to live. And, in order to be fulfilled, we have to meet certain needs, as outlined by my buddy Abraham Maslow. (Yes, I always come back to Maslow or Jordan Peterson ?.)
At the bottom of this hierarchy lie our basic needs — physiological and safety. You may think that you’ve met these needs. After all, you have internet access, so chances are pretty good that you have food, shelter, and clothing. And, even if you don’t feel safe 100% of the time, you probably have some stability and sense of order in your environment.
But . . . what if your physiological needs — the very needs that all of your other needs depend upon — aren’t actually being met at all? To answer this question, let’s focus on three components of this need: food, exercise, and sleep. Sure, you’re eating, moving around a bit, and sleeping, but are you performing each of these functions in a way that supports the positive expression of your genes? What?!?!? Exactly!
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Why Do Your Genes Need to Express Themselves?
We’ll get into the details in a bit here, but the long and the short of it is, your daily habits change the messages your genes receive and the way your genes express themselves. Your habits can even determine whether a gene is turned off or on.
We want our good genes turned on, and we want them to receive the right messages so that we can meet all of our physiological needs. Otherwise, we are sabotaging our personal growth.
Biologists have found that the way our genes express themselves affects our health in a myriad of ways, and they’re learning more and more every day. Based on what’s been discovered so far, gene expression can:
- Determine how quickly we age
- Turn some cancer cells on or off
- Cause inflammation that can lead to several diseases, including heart disease
- Cause insulin resistance that can lead to Type 2 diabetes
- Lead to depression from stress exposure
Basically, we want our good genes to express themselves and our bad genes to keep their mouths shut.
I feel the need to insert a caveat before we go any further. I am not a biologist nor a medical professional. I have very limited knowledge of this subject. My goal is to introduce the concept of epigenetics to you in the hopes that it will be another tool you can use to become your best self. I also hope that you will Stay Curious! and perform some research of your own. I’ve included links to all of my sources at the end of this post.
Random Epigenetic Facts
Only Have 1 Minute
Epigenetics, posted to YouTube by SciShow on 1.22.12
Hooked, Hacked, Hijacked: Reclaim Your Brain from Addictive Living: Dr. Pam Peeke at TEDxWallStreet, posted to YouTube by TEDx Talks on 11.26.13
What is epigenetics? – Carlos Guerrero-Bosagna, posted to YouTube by TED-Ed on 6.27.16
Epigenetics: You are what you eat | Jennifer Dechaine | TEDxYakimaSalon, posted to YouTube by TEDx Talks on 3.04.15
4.4 Epigenetics: How Food Affects Your Genes, posted to YouTube by theMercyChannel on 1.24.13
Mayo Clinic Metabolism Research Program: Genes and Exercise, posted to YouTube by Mayo Clinic on 12.29.14
How Diet, Exercise, and Hyperthermic Conditioning Can Change the Expression of Your Genes, posted to YouTube by Paleo f(x) on 1.09.16
Stress Exposure, DNA Methylation, and Risk for Depression: Dr. Erin Dunn, posted to YouTube by One Mind on 11.02.18
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