Scientists have long been fascinated with our DNA. The 20th century brought huge advances in the study of human genetics; we finally witnessed the complete mapping of the Human Genome. And once it was complete, many experts realized what I have been saying all along: Your genes are not necessarily your destiny. In fact, your genes cause less than 10 percent of all diseases!
The science of genetics imparts that you are destined to get the diseases that run in your family. This is known as genetic determinism. If you go to your doctor for genetic tests, you will get information on the gene expressions you carry along with scary statistics stating that you have a certain percentage of a chance for developing any number of serious diseases. But, the same doctors who provide you with those statistics will be the first to admit, that even with this detailed genetic information, most of them don’t change their prevention or treatment plans. That’s because your genes don’t determine anything all by themselves.
If Your Genes Aren’t Driving Disease, What is?
I am here to tell you that Epigenetics – the study of how our environment affects our genes – is far more accurate when it comes to determining your health. For example, we know that eating nutritious foods, engaging in physical activity you love, and making other healthy lifestyle choices can actually improve your health. Well, guess what? Your beliefs are your environment. Your beliefs, along with your relationships, the food you eat, the air you breathe, the way you handle stress, and many other internal and external factors, are what trigger how your genes get expressed.
A recent study conducted by Richard J. Davidson, Founder of the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds and The William James and Vilas Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, shows that changes in gene expression happen very quickly when intensive mindfulness is used. Specifically, the study found that, after eight hours of meditation, people had reduced levels of pro-inflammatory genes and recovered more quickly from stressful situations.
Bruce Lipton, Ph.D., Best-selling author of The Biology of Belief: Unleashing The Power of Consciousness, Matter and Miracles, says that our genes are just blueprints with no more power than a paper blueprint. We give them power to turn on and off with our beliefs. He also states that most health problems occur because of “misperceptions” we have learned or acquired. And, since perceptions can be changed, so can our health. So you see, changing your beliefs is one of the most powerful things you can do for yourself. If you truly believe in your unconscious mind that you are young and vibrant no matter your age, your belief triggers a switch to turn on your longevity genes.
Also, you may not be the only one who benefits. Just as you may have received your grandmother’s gene for some trait, there is always the potential for passing your created good health along to future generations. That means, if you are considering having children, changing your beliefs about your health destiny may be the best way to ensure your children’s health too.
Your Beliefs Are Stronger Than Your Genes
It’s not too late to change your beliefs and change your health for the better. Here are my tips for empowering yourself toward vibrant health despite your genes:
Tip 1. Take notice of how you talk about your health.
Your words become your destiny. The words you speak go into your own ears. They literally land in your body, and your cells respond. Instead of speaking about any dis-ease or dis-ability, speak positively about what you are capable of doing and how you are supporting yourself, and you will become as healthy as your words.
Tip 2. Acknowledge what diseases run in your family.
It’s important to be able to fill out your family history for your medical provider. But, don’t allow this information to take up too much space in your brain. And, don’t speak as though it is inevitable that you will end up like a family member who has a particular disease.
Tip 3. Use your inner wisdom to elevate your health legacy to a vibrant level.
As you know, my book Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom, is all about cultivating your inner wisdom to create health. There are many ways to access your inner wisdom. One way is to pay attention to your dreams. Other ways include tuning into your emotions, your menstrual cycle or even your energy levels at different times.
Tip 4. Listen to what your dis-ease is telling you.
Listening to your body is the easiest way to create health daily. Ideally you will listen to your body before dis-ease sets in. If you are already experiencing symptoms, pay attention to what they are telling you. Acknowledge that you may need to make some changes. Allow space for your emotions to surface and be released.
How have you changed your beliefs and your health?