Genes – Your Best Ally or Worst Enemy?

Before we are even conceived the blueprint of our future self takes form. This blueprint supposedly gives rise to our own unique being with all its quirks and traits – both physical and mental. We might be gifted a speedy metabolism, or the ability to run as fast as the wind. Conversely, our genes could predispose us to things we tend not to favour about ourselves. Either way, there’s no doubt that we are shaped by our genes. But are our genes destiny?

Genetic determinism is false

You go into the doctor’s office and maybe he or she tells you that you have a rare single gene disorder, like Huntington’s, and you can’t do nothing about it. You’re doomed to have this disease play out its molecular dreadfulness for the rest of your life (however, there does exist gene therapies for Huntington’s and other single gene disorders). That’s genetic determinism. However, when you go to the doctors for say, anxiety, he or she might ask you if it runs in the family. Anxiety can have a genetic component but to say that there’s an anxiety gene that, when turned on, will exercise its genetic determinism, is an inaccurate claim. When you are given a bad luck of the genetic draw, it is imperative to view your genetic makeup for mental calamities like anxiety as always changing. When the doctor says, “Oh it looks like you have anxiety given that it runs in the family” you should emphatically reply, “Genetic determinism is false!” 

Cause Epigenetics Says So 

This “genetic determinism is false” mindset immediately creates the mental framework that turns your genes into an ally instead of an enemy. It creates the notion that we are not victim to our genes. But how can this mindset create the ripple of change down to the level of your genes? The answer is evident in the science of epigenetics, a fancy word for saying that perception alters the way our genes work their molecular magic. Genes respond to a signal in the outside environment. And this applies at the level of body and mind too – how you interpret your internal environment of thoughts and feelings, and your external environment directly affects the type of signal occurring on the gene level. You can’t control the external environment and traumatic experiences can alter your genes to exert their effects in negative, cortisol inducing ways. However, I believe that these same genes can be switched off through epigenetics by the way we interpret the trauma and remaining in the present moment. Perceiving a negative as a positive and consciously remaining present sends your body a different environmental signal which tells your genes to not repeat and reinforce past memories and their corresponding emotional states. This keeps your genes working for you instead of against you. 

Which side will you take?

Most people would choose to have their genes working for them. It doesn’t take much to do this when life is sweet, and everything seems to be working in your favour. But your brain and body change no matter what type of experience you have, and adversity is sure to hit no matter who you are. Since genetic determinism can rear its ugly head at any moment, how you respond internally can be all the difference in signalling those good vibes to your genes like Luke tight-roping between the force and dark side. There are countless ways to live in this embodied state and practice it 24/7, and despite what you told your doctor earlier, it is probably not enough to just yell, “Genetic determinism is false!” 

Share & #sparkperception

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *