Old Habits Die Hard

A little something about epigenetics

People are different. Some are calm, dreamy, understanding, and patient. Others are angry, impatient, irritable, hostile, toxic, and irrational. Some live in their own world. The list of traits is endless.

When something throws us off we react differently. Behavioral patterns turn into habits and we stick to them. The problem is that these reactions get intertwined and become a way of life. Some people enjoy life’s adventures and travel a lot, the world is their oyster. The sulky and surly always find a reason to be angry. And then the sadness personified. Those who feel everyone blames them for whatever happens. Those that get the short end of the stick. An easy target.

The belief that our life is the reflection of our “thoughts and (re) actions” is getting more and more attention. Undoubtedly, a hard nut to crack. Our life takes on a form we must experience in order for us to grow spiritually; nothing can happen without our permission. This latter statement is particularly hard to swallow! “How could I be responsible for the bad things that had happened in my life?”

Remember the saying, »old habits die hard«?

Have you ever wondered where habits come from, or, asked yourself a bold question about whether they are reversible after all?

Our life is a book that writes itself. Until something bad happens, we don’t even question whether our habits are good or bad. We do things our way, day by day, for years. At least we believe the habits are ours. But are they? They have been instilled in us, but does that make them ours? An irrelevant question for as long as life is good.

But what do we do when nothing happens our way?

When comments, “Just the way I am”! How could it be otherwise? My mother, and hers before her, had similar problems. Our family is destined for sadness. It’s in the genes!”  are an apology for every issue or difficulty that comes our way.

EPIGENETICS turns everything upside down!

Nothing about this word is boring. It brings a breath of fresh air to the stale, sick mentality of “I can’t change anything!” First and foremost, it’s a tool available to anyone, on the condition that there’s enough willpower and perseverance. Isn’t that something?

I came across it quite unexpectedly. In hindsight, and much to my surprise, the steps I was taking in my lowest times were as if read from the Epigenetics textbook. The very reason I will treasure the term for the rest of my life.

A diagnosis of cancer does not allow for excuses, shortcuts, or self-pity, especially not the latter. Time is priceless. It was in black and white but I dared to DOUBT it. And more. An emotionally intense moment had me decide to take ownership of my life. I believed I was healthy.

Excluding water and fat, our bodies are made up almost entirely of protein. So, without protein, there is no life. But the control over what type of protein is generated lies in the hands of the genes.

In simple words

We live in our own bodies and pulsate with our own energy, but it is so wrong to think this is it. Our biofield is interconnected with that of people around us, and of our environment. It may seem simple, but in fact, it is not. Our senses receive information that must reach the brain to be processed into an appropriate form. Each piece of information is sent to the appropriate center. When a stimulus arrives a neuron “fires”. Since like attracts like, neurons that fire together wire together; i.e., neurons are connected by means of synaptic paths and so they create a circuit. Consequently, our brain takes a certain shape, a specific roadmap. But new knowledge and experiences are constantly changing and reshaping the brain. We are talking about neuroplasticity. The ability of the brain to reshape itself and so, transform us, and the way we live.

When we get stuck and keep responding in one predominant way (i.e., pessimistic, bad-tempered, or as victims) the existing neural pathways in our brain are growing ever stronger and become even more deeply entrenched. We need to bear in mind that every thought created in the brain triggers the formation of a certain type of protein. Related thoughts dictate the formation of the same protein that our body becomes used to. And so the body starts reacting as an addict demanding its opium. Not enough »stuff«, and the body will send a note to the brain. The message is usually concealed and impossible to recognize as old, »worn-out« habits.

Perhaps I was once hurt by rude words and misconduct on the part of a schoolmate. Since the event was highly emotional, my body will always remember it. Later in life, when my boss expects me to give a company presentation to a group of people, my subconsciousness will experience the past event and twist my body the same way it did back then. The thought “I am so incompetent” will create the same set of substances as back then, and fuel poor self-esteem. The pain in my body will trigger another compatible thought and another one about how bad, and not enough I am. I am kept in vicious circle.

Every familiar thought strengthens the already existing, strong synaptic connections between neurons.

The body is in control. Completely.

A new thought, however, “fires” a new neuron that will not connect to the existing circuit. This time a different substance will get released that the body is not accustomed to, so it will start to resist it.

Our body, or our ego, is responsible for our safety, to keep us away from danger. It makes sense then that everything old, familiar and experienced is good, and anything new is potentially dangerous. The old habits are familiar and sticking to them seems the right thing to do. Anything new, on the other hand, is perceived as a challenge that can endanger our health! So it is resisted.

Every try to plant a seed of change is met with merciless intrusive thoughts.

“Why do you want to change in the first place? This kind of stuff is not for you. Besides, it’s not so bad, is it?”  our ego is doing its best to talk us out of our decision to change. Yet, the more determined and stubborn we are, the more chances there are that the old synaptic connection will vanish, giving rise to new ones.

When intrusive thoughts are running through our minds, we need to know that we are on the right path. We MUST recognize the voice of the EGO trying to deceive us. If a new thought is strong enough, the voice of the ego will finally be silenced.

A change path is not a straight line, nor doable in a day, though. How many months, how many years have we been behaving the old way? We can not expect that a new thought repeated a couple of times will wash away the “sins” of decades. In the beginning, it requires a lot of effort, tenacity, and energy, like taming a wild animal. Equipped with determination, we shall win and reshape our values and life.

Our genetic makeup should not be an excuse for inertia. Do not forget that the quality of our lives largely depends on how we react, how we behave, and what kind of environment we build for ourselves.

We see as we are. A landscape glowing in the sunset colors will be experienced in a myriad of ways by people watching. Only those who are not burdened by sadness, worries, and wounds in their hearts will see the beauty. Others will gaze into the distance, absorbed in their own world.

Negative thoughts are persistent and their grip does not loosen easily. But a conscious decision to look at problems, as real and painful as they might be, from another perspective; to invite hope, self-esteem, and positive thinking will create remarkable changes in our mental and physical bodies.

Isn’t it pathetic to stand by and let the current of life hopelessly toss you around?

Think about it and open a new chapter of your life. Content, fulfilled, healthy!