Unlike a ‘genetic change’, where the gene starts making a different material, epigenetic changes only influence when and how much of the current material is produced.
Have you ever looked at someone lean and naturally athletic and said, “Hey, you’ve got great genetics!” It’s like winning the lottery at birth. But genes can influence more than just our physical appearance. Epigenetics—the study of how genes work—demonstrates that they affect behavior, thoughts, life choices and so 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 a different material, epigenetic changes only influence when and how much of the current material is produced. Normally, this is triggered by some kind of external catalyst and can result in genes being switched 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, the children were predisposed to certain illnesses. There are other studies that point to significant changes being passed on to multiple generations.
Can Epigenetics help you Optimize your life?
Wellness Reclamation Mentor and TEDx speaker Genevieve Searle, is unsurprised by such findings. Known as The Optimisation Queen, her work involves creating individual epigenetic profiles for her clients, helping them understand their unique epigenetic makeup, and guiding them to become experts in their own wellness and life. The results of the profile empower individuals to shape their health, strengthen relationships and find a fulfilling purpose in life.
Your DNA is in constant communication with the world around you. While society obsesses about material wealth, we don’t realize the mine of unfathomable riches we’re all sitting on—our epigenetic inheritance. We all carry ancestral treasure, inherited via our DNA’s expression. It’s like a vast library of resources we carry inside. Rather than existing in a vacuum, we’re part of a greater context. Resources and information have been embedded in our bodies, going back to the dawn of humanity, and are woven into our unique epigenetic tapestry.
Epigenetic profiling provides you with the ‘big picture’ of health
Whilst the health industry has spawned hundreds of ‘innovations’, aimed at improving fitness, strength, and muscle growth, epigenetics doesn’t often list high on priorities. Searle describes the current fixation with a myriad of complex, and ultimately unhelpful, side issues as the “microscopic level” approach to wellbeing. Rather than getting bogged down in minute detail, she advocates the need to step back and assess everything from a birds-eye view.
“With epigenetic profiling,” Searle explains, “We can remove about 80% of the ‘guesswork’ and complexity from your personal wellness program. We can determine the kind of foods that you should be eating, the type of exercise you should do, how many times a week you should be exercising, and how intensely.”
What’s your particular body type? What daily rhythm best suits you? The best way to de-stress and how to make the best of relationships. It’s all about understanding your epigenetic makeup, what is going to work for you, and then applying that in a logical fashion.
Hack your environment; change your life
For many, epigenetic profiling alone is eye-opening, offering a glimpse into hidden traits and propensities. However, Searle amplifies its usefulness by applying her own hard-won experience.
I overlay all my learning, gained over 23 years. I train people to become their own wellness experts by looking into 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 inheritance, but, whilst we were in our mothers’ wombs, and through childhood, we acquired a hormonal profile that has dominated our physical, mental and emotional development. Different parts of our brain function in certain ways, and different people are dominant in different brain areas, which goes some way to explaining our mental and emotional uniqueness.
Maximize your wellbeing with simple exercises
As well as her more advanced techniques that help amplify the results of epigenetic profiling, there are certain health-giving exercises that Searle prescribes for everyone.
Breathing is of paramount importance to wellness. Searle advocates slow, controlled breaths through the nose— four seconds in and six seconds out, with a two-second hold on the outward phase, for stress relief. Make sure that the breath goes all the way into the belly. But don’t ‘gulp’ the air.
The key is to try and make each breath calm, quiet, and light. Some practitioners refer to ‘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 enough time to rebalance and harmonize, offering a host of health benefits.
Dealing with troubling emotions by combining music and movement is a powerful way to ‘move through emotions’. Set up a track list of music that takes you from where you are now, emotionally, to where you want to be.
The music should progressively move in that direction. As you’re listening to the music, Searle encourages expressive body movements, which release stress and anxiety, and produce a powerful cocktail of pain-relieving, 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 must have people who inspire us. Many daily conversations descend into doom and gloom, a consequence of negative news coverage and the stresses and strains of life.
A pessimistic view brings us down, leading to anxiety, ill health, and emotional instability. While it’s important not to gloss over life, staying stuck in the drama leads nowhere but down. Searle contends, “What we actually need is a group of people who lift us, celebrate us for our uniqueness and draw out our latent potential. We don’t just become optimized, we choose it!”