Discover more from True North by Christiane Northrup, M.D.
Powerful Ways to Improve Your Health and Longevity with Epigenetics
How to Live Agelessly
Scientists have long been fascinated with human DNA and the science of what is called genetic determinism—or the idea that you are destined to get the diseases that run in your family. That’s why when you have a genetic test, the “results” include statistics for developing certain serious diseases. But these “results” can be misleading. And the truth is your genes cause less than 10 percent of all illnesses!
That’s why after the mapping of the human genome was completed, many experts realized what I have been saying all along: Your genes are not necessarily your destiny. In fact many doctors who offer these genetic tests are the first to admit they don’t change their prevention or treatment plans. That’s because your genes really don’t determine anything all by themselves.
If Your Genes Aren’t Driving Disease, What Is?
Many experts believe that our environment is what influences how our genes are expressed and ultimately our state of health. In fact, there is an entire field of science devoted to this line of thought called epigenetics. To put it simply, you know that eating nutritious foods, engaging in physical activity you enjoy, and making other healthy lifestyle choices can improve your health. These are all part of your environment and within your control.
But your environment is not just physical. Your beliefs, your relationships, the way you handle stress, and many other internal factors are a huge part of your environment as well. And they can also be triggers for gene expression.
A study conducted by Richard J. Davidson, Founder of the Center for 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 4 tips for empowering yourself toward vibrant health despite your genes:
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 can do and how you are supporting yourself, and you will become as healthy as your words.
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.
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.
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 to Live Agelessly
Our biology is co-authored by others. How people see us and the expectation that as you grow older you become more and more decrepit has been dictated by our culture for a very long time. For example, a friend of mine who is active and healthy was asked by her doctor when she turned 50 if she had fallen recently. This is in keeping with the cultural norm that imparts the idea that when you get to be a certain age you won’t be able to do the things you always have done, such as walking without falling, and that you need to have a battery of tests each year to look for everything that can go wrong. Needless to say, my friend never went back to that doctor!
When you reject the cultural ageism that is the norm and change your beliefs and expectations, not only do you attract different circumstances in your life, but your biology also changes. Your stress hormone levels plummet, and the rest of your hormones start to become balanced. You may notice that your mood improves and much more. That’s because thoughts and beliefs manifest your reality and that included the reality in your body. Thoughts with a high, ecstatic vibration create a flourishing life and flourishing biology. Thoughts of negativity, fear, anger, and dread create exactly the opposite.
Though it’s not possible to access and change all our adverse beliefs in a single day, it is possible right this very moment to use your own power to change your point of focus. So here’s what I want you to do:
Notice what is working. Start right now. What parts of your body do you love? What feels really good? If you notice something that does not feel good, bring healing thoughts to that area. You can use a Divine Love petition, recite a healing mantra or just send love to that part of your body. Do the same for your life circumstance. What is working? What do you love? If there is something you want to change, allow positive energy and thoughts to shape how that change can occur.
Let go of unnecessary drama. There used to be a saying in television news, “If it bleeds, it leads.” Humans love drama. And it is possible to enjoy a little interesting drama and still have a body that gets reborn regularly. It simply depends on what you focus on. Just because you hear something that is disturbing or sensational does not mean you need to dwell on it.
Focus on what uplifts you. When we allow positive thoughts to flow our cells respond accordingly. As I write this, I am taller, happier, and less stressed than I was 20 years ago. And the future looks brighter than ever. I want the same for you. And I know that it’s possible. No matter what. After all, there are documented cases of spontaneous remission from every known disease. So focus on what’s possible. Do this even when you’re feeling good! It just gets better and better.
What do you do to stay healthy and ageless?