There’s a famous quote that says, “Our genetics may load the gun, but it’s our environment that pulls the trigger”. And although this saying paints quite a visual picture, it really sheds light on how strong of an effect our environment actually has on our physical and mental health. All of us, whether we realize it or not, are predisposed to something. Essentially, our genetics have already “written it across the sky”. For example, those who are predisposed to having seasonal allergies, seeing the new flowers bloom, or hearing a lawn mower cutting fresh grass, may not render the same pleasant feelings that Spring may bring for others. Some of us even have genetic predispositions that may make it harder for us to deal with the stressors of life, leading to feelings of anxiety or emotional exhaustion. But no matter what our genetics have in store for us, our environment and our lifestyle choices, may ultimately cause those predispositions to become reality.
It is to be said that it isn’t always necessary that one go off to do extensive genetic testing to figure out what one is predisposed to. If we simply observe and listen to the body, we can get almost all the information that we need. If one finds that in all times of stressful situations, that breathing tends to become shallow, the heart feels to beat faster, or butterflies or felt in the stomach, it may be safe to say that one might be dealing with anxiety. And if it’s noted that grandmother, mom, and sister also experience the same feelings in these situations, there may be a predisposition. But how can we use our environment to change the trajectory of our genetics? In this case, we can use the environment to relax us, center us, and bring us peace in the moment. For times of anxiety, diffusing calming essential oils such as lavender or chamomile, may be helpful. Being in a room with a variety of calming colors such as shades of blue, green, and or purple, have also been useful in providing a sense of peacefulness1. Proactively, we can make sure that the space around us is decluttered on a regular basis as a tidier space can make more room for an anxious mind to relax. All of this is to say, we may not be able to choose our genetics, but we can do our best to engage in lifestyle choices that help us to live our lives for the better.
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