Your Genes Don’t Have to Determine Your Health Story
Discovering that you have a “bad” gene might frighten or upset you, but you are the storyteller and you don’t have to live according to the dictates of a story written for you by your DNA, your past experiences and actions, or your cultural conditioning. There is much you can do to change the story of your health, including using the mind/body connection and making lifestyle changes to try to reprogram any genes for disease not to express.
On one hand, you might say:
“I come from a family where most of the women have died of heart disease before they’re 60. I’m a woman, and that will probably be my fate. There’s not much I can do about it, especially since heart disease is in my genes.”
Consider how that story may have an energetic influence on you.
Then, think about how much better the energetic influence might be if you wrote this story instead:
“I come from a family where many of the women have died before they’re 60 of heart disease, but I’m not going to be one of those statistics. I’m going to exercise more, better manage my stress, and clean up my diet, which will help me to beat those odds and give me a better chance of living beyond 60. I choose to do what I can so that any genes for heart disease don’t get expressed.”
We are still learning the mechanisms that might explain the well-documented, powerful correlations between optimism and better health outcomes and reduced symptoms of diseases and conditions. However, we do know that thoughts and emotions can affect our bodies positively and negatively. For example, thoughts that make you laugh have the power to generate endorphins (neurotransmitters that reduce pain and set off a biological stress response that leads to the repair of damaged cells). It’s possible that the same energetic forces setting off this chain reaction positively affect your physical state and even your gene expression, and there is no downside in using this information to your own benefit.
Try writing and telling a new story of your health regardless of what story your genes seem to suggest. Speak your story aloud. Write it out. Notice how you feel when telling the new story, and consider whether the emotions you generate might actually be contributing to your bringing to life that new and better story. Be the storyteller, and observe what happens to your state of health and well-being.
Carl Greer, PhD, PsyD, is a retired clinical psychologist and Jungian analyst, a businessman, and a shamanic practitioner, author, and philanthropist funding over 60 charities and more than 850 past and current Greer Scholars. He has taught at the C.G. Jung Institute of Chicago and been on staff at the Replogle Center for Counseling and Well-Being.
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