Is there a history of heart disease, diabetes, inflammation, cancer, Alzheimers, migraines or any other mental or physical illness in your family? If so, it’s very likely that contained in every cell of your body, are the genes responsible for triggering those chronic conditions. Whether you like to hear it or not, you may be carrying a vast array of ticking health bombs in the form of “bad” genes that could potentially impact your health.
Fortunately, there is a way for you to defuse those bombs. Approximately 5% of disease-related genes are fully penetrant, meaning that the disease will develop regardless of any type of intervention. Through healthy lifestyle choices, we can keep the remaining 95% of disease-related genes dormant. A booming field called epigenetics reveals how lifestyle and environmental factors can regulate gene expression.
Healthy lifestyle choices allow you to up-regulate your good genes, which means that you can turn on the genes that prevent chronic illnesses. Inversely, through these same healthy choices, you can down-regulate the genes that create these chronic conditions in the first place (including the 500 genes that have been identified as crucial in developing heart disease, many types of cancer, and inflammation).
Regular exercise, restful sleep, a balanced diet, minimising stress (particularly work-related stress), healthy emotional relationships and the practice of Yoga and silent meditation, have proven to positively influence gene expression. Recent studies have shown that even if you have led an unhealthy lifestyle up until recently, incorporating these healthy practices now will positively impact your health by silencing disease-related genes within 90 days.
Your thoughts, feelings, behaviour, mood, social interactions and personal relationships will influence the activity of your genes as well, and therefore hold the key to your physical and mental wellbeing. Be mindful of this fact when choosing a job, a role or a project when it comes to work.
So remember that you genes are not your destiny. Your health fate is not sealed; it’s in your hands.
Chopra Center Master Educator
Senior Advisor to the Global Center for Conscious Leadership