You can never underestimate the need to take care of the past if you want to have a future filled with mental wholeness. #epigenetics #generationaltrauma #obesity #anxiety #depression #mentalhealthissues #mentalhealthawareness #counseling #therapy #selfcare #selfcaresunday

You can never underestimate the need to take care of the past if you want to have a future filled with mental wholeness.

You Need to Take Care of the Past (Maybe Even Someone Else’s Past)

“It’s so sad,” the gentleman said with a shake of his head after I told him I worked with Native American students. “So many Indians are obese.”

I cringed at his thoughtless, hurtful words. “Have you considered,” I asked as gently as I could (I wanted to punch the self-righteous look off his flabby face), “perhaps their obesity isn’t their fault?”

“What do you mean?” he said, “they’re the ones who each too much fry-bread and super-size their fast food meals.”

“But scientists have shown trauma changes our epigenome and adds tags to our DNA. Tags that determine how our bodies process and store food, react to loud noises, and a whole slew of other things.”

“Are you telling me every Indian out there has experienced trauma?” the skepticism dripped from his voice.

“The effects of the trauma, the changes in the DNA tags, get passed down from one generation to the next. Just like you can’t change when you go bald, the descendants of traumatized people can’t change how their bodies react to certain things.”

“Harrumph. Have you seen any interesting sparrows lately?” he asked with an abrupt change of topic.

I let the matter drop. Too much information wouldn’t help him change his prejudice, but maybe he would start thinking and do some research on his own.

In today’s podcast, you’ll learn more about epigenetics and the effect they have on both us and our children.

Show Notes

Carlisle Indian School

You can never underestimate the need to take care of the past if you want to have a future filled with mental wholeness. #epigenetics #generationaltrauma #obesity #anxiety #depression #mentalhealthissues #mentalhealthawareness #counseling #therapy #selfcare #selfcaresunday
If you want to move forward, you may need to look at your past. #epigentics #selfcare Click To Tweet

Come Back Next Week

Next week I’ll talk about how our bodies keep the score.

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  1. I’ve read some about how our bodies react to trauma, and how that response does pass down to descendants. I love that you had scientific information to share with the man you mentioned. We truly do need to come to terms with our past if we want to thrive in our future. Looking forward to learning more, Anita!

  2. I think you may have been placed in that man’s path for a reason! Our ignorance divides us, but it can be remedied with truth. Our bodies are fascinating and perfectly made as Debbie reminds us!
    Lynn recently posted…Intentional AcceptanceMy Profile

  3. This is all so fascinating. My daughter recently read a book about how parents, grandparents and relatives’ habits effect so many things regarding the baby a mother is carrying. Like if your grandfather smoked it affects the grandchild in certain ways. Just like trauma and cycles can be passed down in families. Yay, that trauma and past hurts can be healed and not passed to the new generation. We can break generational and family patterns. Such a good book, The Body Keeps the Score.
    Theresa+Boedeker recently posted…Is God Really Good All the Time?My Profile

  4. Anita, this topic of epigenetics is something that just came onto my radar recently. So recent, in fact, that I didn’t even know there was a term for it! I am so fascinated by all of it and need to read and learn more! Thank you for discussing it!


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Anita Ojeda

Anita Ojeda juggles writing with teaching high school English and history. When she's not lurking in odd places looking for rare birds, you can find her camping with her kids, adventuring with her husband or mountain biking with her students.

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