“Ancient cultures have long understood that we exist in relationship to all, are affected by all, and affect all. Our brains and minds are not independent operators. Nothing about us, mental or physical, can be comprehended apart from the many-faceted milieu in which we exist. It is a reality of our interconnected nature.” Gabor Maté, MD
Our bodies influence our brain/mind and the brain/mind/bodies of others, and the closer we are to someone, the more our physiology interacts with theirs. Children’s physiology is especially vulnerable to their caretakers emotional state.
Our own individual minds and bodies are intimately linked. It is proven now that loneliness can kill, especially in older people separated from pleasures, social connections, or support. Less obvious is the fact that those same bodyminds are shaped by factors external to us. Our biology itself is highly interpersonal.
Telomeres bear the actual markers of the circumstances of our lives. Factors such as poverty, racism and urban blight directly impact our genetic and molecular functioning. Our experiences determine how our genetic potential expresses itself. Epigenetic processes act on chromosomes, delivering and translating messages from the environment that “tell” the genes what to do. Genes turn on or off in response to signals from within and from outside the body.
Adversity in both parents transmits to children through gene expression, as does socioeconomic stress, racism and discrimination through higher inflammation leading to aging and illness.
Seemingly bad news can give way to something empowering. By learning about the impacts of adversity, we can also find the pathways to healing.” Gabor Maté
Somatic Mindfulness Inquiry: consider each sentence, noticing what happens in your body and breath. There may be a change in sensation, like a feeling of heaviness in your chest or tightness in your neck and shoulders when you consider negative people and impacts, and a sense of softening when you bring to mind people you enjoy being with.
Life circumstances and people that have had a negative impact on my biology
Life circumstances and people that have had a positive impact on my biology
Ways I can think about and interact differently with stressors
Things I can work to change (with others)
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