Negative Thoughts Proved to Alter Your Gene

An Introvert's Garden Library
6 min readAug 11, 2021

|Wise Library 1985 |Margaret W. Lavigne

It’s never easy to practise forgiveness and gratitude. In truth, the frequency of practising gratitude decidedly matters. Patterns of gene expression in the brains of unhappy individuals differ from happier individuals. Studies found the brains of people with the “less grateful” version are being less sensitive to positive life events and super-sensitive to negative life events. Gradually, those who rarely practice gratitude may become more sensitive to misfortunes, resulting in decreased ability to practice gratitude and forgiveness. (Reference: A study conducted by Sara Algoe and colleagues).

The brain governs our appetites, sleep and emotions. A new finding found that in the brains of people with depression, the level of the gene activity inside their brain cells may be broken. The finding comes from scientists from the University of Michigan Medical School and other institutions.

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Brain’s Reaction to Depression

Our body interprets all negative emotions as epigenetic stress signals. This partly explains why unhappy depressed people have weakened immune systems and more susceptible to infections for sure.

Researches found that depression and elevated cortisol correlate with changes in gene expression in the limbic system, which is central to our stress response and memory. The limbic system is highly involved in motivation and emotional behaviours, coupled with reinforcing behaviours and emotional stimuli. Research has linked the limbic system to motivation and reward, learning, memory, flight response, hunger, thirst, coupled with the production of hormones that help regulate the autonomic nervous system. The limbic system helps the body respond to intense negative emotions such as fear and anger by activating flight response.

Further, The limbic system regulates autonomic and endocrine function. The limbic system is located beneath the cerebral cortex. The limbic system is a complex system of nerves and networks in the brain, which is in charge of our instinct, mood and basic emotions, ranging from fear, pleasure to anger. Further, the limbic system drives hunger and sex desires.

Chronic Depression & Immune Cell Aging

Emotions turn genes on and off. Studies have verified the fact that chronic depression accelerates immune cell aging. There’s a strong link between depression and trauma. In other words, old mental wounds accelerate early aging. Indeed, studies found that people who live with major depressive disorder are biologically older than people without depression. Again, depression leads to chronic illness and premature aging. Negative emotions include suppressed anger and unshakable sorrow for sure. It’s worth noting that negative emotions guarantee a higher blood sugar level. Anxiety and fear potentially lead to blood clotting and heart disease.

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▲What are the differences between life troubles and life challenges? It’s your perspective. Suffering teaches us to be humble and compassionate. It’s comforting to know that we can only witness unconditional love in the hard times. Be hopeful, tender, humble and righteous in any circumstances, and life will get better.


  1. What You’re Feeling Influences Your Genes
  2. impact of positive emotion on DNA
  3. Positive emotion-specific changes in the gene expression profile of tickled rats.
  4. Epigenetic Genes and Emotional Reactivity to Daily Life Events: A Multi-Step Gene-Environment Interaction Study
  5. Trauma and Gene Expression: Understanding the Connections
  6. Differential gene expression in patients with subsyndromal symptomatic depression and major depressive disorder
  7. Body clocks of depressed people altered at cell level, researchers show
  8. Effects of gratitude meditation on neural network functional connectivity and brain-heart coupling
  9. Gene Expression Overlaps Among Psychiatric Disorders
  10. Differential gene expression in patients with subsyndromal symptomatic depression and major depressive disorder
  11. A Gene Co-expression Network-based Analysis of Multiple Brain Tissues Reveals Novel Genes and Molecular Pathways Underlying Major Depression
  12. Writing about gratitude increases emotion-regulation efficacy

Tips to Reduce Stress Level: Practice Gratitude

Hatred, blaming and resentment toward other people are toxic to our body, both physically and mentally. Do not underestimate the effects of gratitude and resentment on our mental well-being. Positive emotion, such as gratitude, is known to reduce stress levels. People with high life satisfaction show greater neural connectivity than people with low life satisfaction. That’s why gratitude has been associated with a lower risk for psychiatric disorders.

Margaret W. Lavigne

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[1] People with certain genes are more prone to unhappy emotions.

A collaborative team of researchers from Wisconsin, Spain, and France reported evidence of molecular changes at a genetic level following by a period of mindfulness meditation. They found that meditators experienced genetic changes[1] following meditation practice.

Also, staying positive help decreases insulin resistance and helps bodily insulin to be more effective.

[1] epigenetic alterations of the genome基因組的表觀遺傳改變

#epigenetic effects
#fight-or-flight response

#psychological conditions and epigenetic signals
# PTSD and OCD

tag: emotional disturbances,schizophrenia, depression, panic disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)