I can’t think of a better visual than the one below which illustrates exactly what goes on in our minds and bodies once they connect with their surroundings. It provides us with a very clear picture of Behavioral Epigenetics, a fairly new science. Behavioral epigenetics refers to the study of how signals from the environment trigger molecular biological changes that modify what goes on in brain cells. Here, the term environment encompasses pretty much everything that happens in every stage of life: social experience; nutrition; hormones; and toxicological exposures that occur prenatally, post-natally, and in adulthood.
If research on epigenetics is in its infancy, research on behavioral epigenetics is in embryo. Pioneered by many stem cell researchers who research and study the results of how a change in the physical environment within a laboratory petri dish can cause a cell protein to die or multiply exponentially, it reflects what can also go on within our own homes and other spaces we inhabit. We in essence, become a petri dish. What is in our living spaces communicates constantly with our mind, body and spirit. Our body is made up of protein that reside inside the cellular structure – a house of sorts. When negative messages and symbols inhabit our dwelling then it changes the way we feel, which changes the chemistry makeup of all of the systems within our body, which causes us to feel depressed, ill or stressed or if they are all good signals. Likewise, we feel just the opposite when all messages and symbols sing to us – happy, elated, comfortable, no stress.
Epi means above the genes. So metaphorically anything experienced through our five senses is above. So whatever is experienced above is also experienced below. As it is in our environment, so it is in our mind, body and spirit.