Have you ever looked at someone thin and naturally athletic and thought to yourself, “Hey, you have good genetics! It’s like winning the lottery at birth. But genes can influence more than our physical appearance. Epigenetics – the study of how genes work – demonstrates that they affect behavior, thoughts, life choices and much more.
Epigenetics has proven that changes can occur in the way our bodies “read” DNA sequences. Unlike a “genetic change“, where the gene starts making different material, epigenetic changes only influence when and how much current material is produced. Normally this is triggered by some kind of external catalyst and can cause genes to turn on or off.
A good example is the Dutch Winter Famine, 1944-45. Pregnant mothers, who were exposed to the ordeal, experienced epigenetic changes that were passed on to their unborn children. Much later in life, children were predisposed to certain diseases. There are others studies this indicates that significant changes are passed on to several generations.
Can epigenetics help you optimize your life?
Wellness Recovery Mentor and TEDx Speaker Genevieve Searle, is not surprised by such findings. Known as The Optimization Queen, her job is to create individual epigenetic profiles for her clients, helping them understand their unique epigenetic makeup, and guiding them to become experts in their own well-being and in their lives. Profile results empower individuals to shape their health, strengthen their relationships, and find fulfilling purpose in life.
Your DNA is in constant communication with the world around you. While society is obsessed with material wealth, we fail to realize the unfathomable trove of wealth on which we all sit – our epigenetic heritage. We all carry an ancestral treasure, inherited through the expression of our DNA. It’s like a vast library of resources that we carry inside. Rather than existing in a vacuum, we are part of a larger context. Resources and information have been embedded in our bodies, dating back to the dawn of humanity, and are woven into our unique epigenetic tapestry.
Epigenetic profiling gives you a “big picture” view of health
While the health industry has spawned hundreds of “innovations” aimed at improving fitness, strength, and muscle growth, epigenetics is often not a priority. Searle describes the current fixation with a myriad of complex and ultimately unnecessary side issues as the “microscopic level” approach to wellness. Rather than getting bogged down in the smallest details, she advocates the need to step back and assess everything from a bird’s eye view.
“With epigenetic profiling,” says Searle, “we can remove about 80% of the ‘guesswork’ and complexity from your personal wellness program. We can figure out what kind of foods you should be eating, what type of exercise you should do, how many times a week you should exercise and at what intensity.
What is your particular morphology? What daily routine suits you best? The best way to de-stress and get the most out of relationships. It’s about understanding your epigenetic makeup, what will work for you, and then applying it logically.
Hack your environment; change your life
For many, epigenetic profiling alone is eye-opening, offering insight into hidden traits and propensities. However, Searle amplifies its usefulness by applying his own hard-won experience.
I superimpose all my learning, acquired over 23 years. I train people to become their own wellness experts by examining their ancestry, hacking their environments (workspaces, homes), habits, and behaviors to better support their body type, mind, and emotions. Often we think only of our physical heritage, but while we were in our mothers’ wombs, and throughout childhood, we acquired a hormonal profile that dominated our physical, mental and emotional development. . Different parts of our brains work in a certain way, and different people have dominance in different areas of the brain, which partly explains our mental and emotional uniqueness.
Maximize your well-being with simple exercises
In addition to his more advanced techniques that help amplify the results of epigenetic profiling, there are certain health-enhancing exercises that Searle prescribes for everyone.
Breathing is of paramount importance for well-being. Searle advocates slow, nose-controlled breaths – four seconds and six seconds, with a two-second hold on the exhalation phase, to relieve stress. Make sure the breath goes to the belly. But, don’t swallow the air.
The key is to try to make each breath calm, quiet and light. Some practitioners speak of “hiding” your breath, avoiding aggressive movements that cause your chest and abdomen to expand rapidly. 10 minutes of slow nasal breathing is known to give your nervous system ample time to rebalance and harmonize, providing a host of health benefits.
Dealing with troubling emotions by combining music and movement is a powerful way to “break through the emotions”. Create a playlist of songs that takes you from where you are now, emotionally, to where you want to be.
The music should gradually go in this direction. While you listen to music, Searle encourages expressive body movement, which releases stress and anxiety, and produces a powerful cocktail of pain-relieving and mood-altering endorphins and endocannabinoids.
Finally, true health, wealth, and happiness come from the ability to connect with a group of people who inspire you to reach your full potential. Whether online or in person, we need to have people who inspire us. Many daily conversations descend into pessimism, a consequence of negative media coverage and the stresses and strains of life.
A pessimistic outlook depresses us, leading to anxiety, poor health, and emotional instability. While it’s important not to neglect life, getting stuck in drama leads nowhere but down. Searle argues, “What we really need is a group of people who lift us up, celebrate us for our uniqueness and bring out our latent potential. We don’t just become optimized, we choose it!
Published on February 5, 2022