LET’S LOOK AT EACH CAPABILITY AND HOW OUR GENES CAN INFLUENCE THEM
Stress and anxiety
Stress is the body’s short-term reaction to an experience or situation. Meanwhile, anxiety is a sustained sensation of nervousness, worry, or unease that can be caused by stress.
Everyone experiences both stress and anxiety, but each person’s triggers, intensity, and the response can differ. For example, what one person sees as a problem, another may see as a challenge. One’s genotype can affect how one reacts and experiences these types of situations.
A person’s mood impacts their energy levels, how they interact with others and their general outlook on life.
Genetics may help control the flow of messages between brain cells and depending on one’s genotype, this activity can adversely affect the mood. A person’s genotype also affects how the chemicals in one’s brains are produced and metabolized. Thus, understanding its role may help improve it.
Focus and Memory
Both focus and memory are important in carrying out our daily tasks. One’s genotype can affect how long one can focus on one task while tuning out other stimuli. It can also affect what stimuli you pay attention to and for how long, whether it’s external, such as sound, or internal, such as feeling thirsty.
Habits and Substance Use
When defined under the context of mental health, a substance is anything that can alter a person’s mood, behavior or perception. Examples are caffeine, tobacco, alcohol or marijuana.
Our genotypes actually affect the way our habits and the way we use substances. By understanding these better, we can make more well-informed decisions.
Aside from its physical benefits, sleep is essential to one’s mental health. While different people require different amounts of sleep, disruptions to sleep can negatively impact everything from memory and cognitive function to mood and behavior.
One’s genes help govern their circadian rhythm or body clock and influence sleep behavior. This explains why some people are more prone to having trouble falling asleep and disruptive involuntary movements during their sleep. It’s also why some people are early birds or night owls.
Social behavior, defined as how humans connect to one another, is also actually influenced by one’s genes. One’s unique genotype influences their emotional and physical responses to social settings. It can tell why one is more comfortable in a group, or why one functions better when alone.
Eating behavior can also be influenced by the combination of physiological, social and genetic factors. By understanding one’s genetic predispositions, one can make decisions about certain aspects of one’s eating behavior to improve the physical and mental health. Believe it or not, genes can play a role as to why some people don’t like eating breakfast, or love munching on snacks before bedtime. Genes can also be a factor why we like or are averted to certain food, such as black coffee or bitter vegetables.