Lifestyle, The Essentials July 31, 2018

Why Environment Matters and What To Do About It

The environment we surround ourselves in may be one of, if not the, most important factor in determining our health and happiness.

 

Science is proving this idea through the study of epigenetics, which is broadly defined as “the study of changes in organisms caused by modification of gene expression rather than alteration of the genetic code itself.” As with anything in science and study of the human organism, there are varying degrees and applications within this definition, depending on the structures being studied.

 

However, a few of the basic fundamental theories of epigenetics that are interesting to an everyday human being are:

 

  • Circumstances/lifestyle can cause genes to be expressed or be dormant.
  • Everything is included. What you eat, where you live, who you interact with, when you sleep, if and how you exercise, even aging – all of these can eventually cause chemical modifications around the genes that will turn those genes on or off over time. Additionally, in certain diseases such as cancer or Alzheimer’s, various genes will be switched into the opposite state, away from the normal/healthy state. Hmmmm.
  • The different combinations of genes that are turned on or off is what makes us unique.

 

Ok, so what? How is this relevant in normal life?

 

It’s possible that we are way more a product of our environment than we think. This changes the conversation around dis-ease states and gives us power in the domain of our living. Just because we inherited a gene for a thing, doesn’t mean we have to turn it on. Our lifestyle choices absolutely matter.

 

Our brains and body chemistry are constantly being programmed with nutrition or lack of, physical movement or lack of, quality of conversation, language, feelings, emotions, air quality, stressors, stress management, hormonal activity, anything and everything that our five senses can absorb and interpret. And who knows what from things we can’t even identify.

 

This is completely fascinating to me.

 

Scott (my husband) has a funny saying…if you find yourself in a group of 9 people drinking Jack Daniels day after day after day, eventually you’ll be the 10th. If that’s where you want to be, great! If it’s not, you need to change your environment.

 

It’s an extreme example to illustrate a simple idea.

 

Be intentional about your environment. It matters on a very physical level, an emotional level, a spiritual level, a professional level, pretty much any level you can find.

 

What does that look like? Here are some basic examples:

 

  • Eat real, whole food that came from the ground or ate something that came from the ground. If you have to wash dirt off of it or it got rained on, it’s good. If it came from a box, not so good. Yes, it might take a couple of extra minutes, but aren’t you worth it?
  • Slow down and breathe. Stop for one minute every hour, 20 seconds between each task or 20 minutes twice a day or all of the above. Create space in your mind and body. Breath is life.
  • Move your body. We all know this.
  • Take a bath. Use essential oils, epsom salts, and delicious natural soaps and lotions. Bathe like the queen you are. Connect to the feminine nature of being a woman.
  • Buy yourself flowers. It’s like having sunshine in a vase. Instant happiness.
  • Have candles that make you feel __________ (happy, sexy, energetic, creative, etc.) and BURN them. Sitting around looking pretty doesn’t get the job done. Anywhere in life, really.
  • Read books that move your life forward in some way.
  • Turn off the TV/social media constant stream of noise. At least for a certain amount of time. Especially right before sleep. This is the number one sleep inhibitor across the board.
  • Surround yourself with people who are going where you want to go and are up to what you would like to be up to. If you want to run a marathon, join a training group. If you want to learn yoga, start going to a studio. If you want to learn about anything, find people who are successful in that thing.
  • Notice how you feel in your body when you experience all these things: food, nature, people, your home. Look at anything that’s causing you constriction or constraint and take steps towards creating expansion. Congestion creates stagnation. Release anything that doesn’t work anymore.

 

By creating an internal and external environment that infuses you with healthy relationships, healthy activity, and healthy living, you will establish a foundation for creativity and clarity to flourish in every single aspect of your life.

 

From this foundation, anything is possible.