Manage your biochemistry and lifestyle to offset genetic predispositions to mental health issues
Each of us is born with our own genetic blueprint which impacts our natural biochemistry, and can predispose us more or less towards certain mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, addiction, etc.
For instance some of us are born with naturally less adrenal/stress resilience, lower serotonin, lower endorphins, a weakness in processing certain nutrients or detoxifying certain hormones, etc. all of which will affect the way we respond to life’s inevitable stressors.
The relatively new science of epigenetics shows us how important lifestyle choices and habits are for influencing the expression of our genes.
- Even if we have little genetic predisposition towards mental health issues, unhealthy lifestyle choices can cause mental health symptoms
- If we do have genetic predispositions towards specific mental health issues, healthy lifestyle choices can help us make sure that we don’t express those genes and develop mental health symptoms
Because most of the time we don’t know exactly how our genetics may predispose us to manifesting mental health issues, and whether we have a strong genetic predisposition towards mental health issues or not, making healthy lifestyle changes can help us optimise our mental health.
Below are some of the key lifestyle choices and habits which can help us balance our biochemistry and avoid the expression of genes which may cause mental health issues and symptoms.
One of the most effective ways to balance your biochemistry and safeguard against the expression of genetic mental health issues is to ensure that you correct your nutrition and supplement where appropriate.
Indeed, the food we eat and when we eat it, and the nutrients we digest and absorb, are all essential building blocks for a healthy biochemistry, and the expression of healthy genes.
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Poor sleep habits can cause hormonal and neurotransmitter imbalances and inflammation, which can contribute to weakening our stress resilience and may contribute to the expression of genes involved in mental health issues.
Exercise is another key lifestyle habit which may impact the expression of our genes, and getting the right amount of exercise can help balance our hormones and neurotransmitters, reduce inflammation, and protect us from the expression of genetic mental health issues.
Toxins from pollutants, moulds and chemicals in the air, water, and in our general environment may contribute to turning genes for mental health issues on or off.
Making sure that we avoid toxins as much as possible, and optimising our body’s detoxification pathways are good ways to safeguard our mental health by ensuring that a genetic predisposition towards mental health issues is not triggered by an excessive toxic load.
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Mind-body therapies are a good way to ensure hormonal and neurotransmitter balance, and a balanced nervous system, which in turn may help protect us against the expression of genetic predispositions to certain mental health issues.
Regularly practicing relaxation techniques can help balance our biochemistry — our hormones, our neurotransmitters, our digestion, etc. and as such may help protect us from the expression of genetic mental health issues.
Learning to breathe better can improve our biochemistry, balance our hormones and neurotransmitters, improve digestion, etc. and may therefore protect us from the expression of genetic predisposition to certain mental health issues.
Connecting with nature and natural light on a regular basis is important for optimal hormonal balance and healthy biochemistry. It can help calm the nervous system, improve sleep patterns, breathing and digestion, and as such can help protect us from the expression of any genetically driven mental health issues.
Mental therapy, whether we have manifested mental health issues or not, can be helpful to:
- Increase our emotional and stress resilience
- Equip us to face the inevitable challenges of life
- Possibly protect us from a genetic tendency towards mental health issues
We don’t necessarily suggest pre-emptive mental therapy, though we do believe that mental therapy can be useful for everyone to develop greater awareness, resilience, and coping mechanisms in the face of lifestyle stressors and genetic predispositions.
Anything that can help increase emotional and psychological resilience and strength will be helpful in protecting us from genetic predispositions towards mental health issues.
As such, finding spirituality, community and purpose can help build up our strength by providing support, a sense of belonging, and a sense of purpose.
As we have seen, excessive use of technology and social media can be detrimental to mental health. All the more so if you have a genetic predisposition to mental health issues and biochemical imbalances.
Carefully manage your technology and social media so that it does not weaken your biochemistry (for instance causing a chronic stress hormone imbalance) and trigger any genetic predispositions towards mental health issues such as addiction, anxiety, insomnia, depression, etc.
A regular meditation practice can help us to balance our nervous systems, hormones and neurotransmitters, manage stress, optimise our detoxification, and improve our digestion and absorption of key nutrients, thereby contributing to protecting us from the manifestation of genetic predispositions towards mental health issues.