Reduce Stress

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Genetic Mutations Affect Mood

When I started learning about MTHFR and other SNPs, what struck me hard was how they have a direct impact on the production and break down of neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. A light bulb went off for me about how in order to have good, steady, stable mood, I needed to understand my genetics and take the right supplements to support myself. Understanding the complex relationships between the SNPs takes time and knowledge. I heartily recommend finding and integrative or naturopathic doctor to help make sense of the genetic interpretation reports.

Stress and Genes

When I started to unravel all of the SNPs in my and my son’s genetics, I learned about COMT. COMT is shorthand for catechol-O-methyltransferase, an enzyme that breaks down catecholamines, which are hormones secreted by the adrenals. When we feel stress, adrenaline causes fear, anxiety, panic, and that “fright or flight” feeling. When a person has COMT mutations, after one of these experiences, he or she is less able to detox the adrenaline and even dopamine. People with COMT often do very well to supplement with magnesium glycinate and P5P (the active form of vitamin B6).

Like COMT, MAO (which stands for monoamine oxidases types A and B) is another SNP that helps detoxify or break down serotonin, melatonin, dopamine, and adrenaline. When this process isn’t working properly, person might feel fatigue, brain fog, and even joint pain. My son has this mutation and I think it is at the heart of his fatigue and some of his behavioral issues.


Even before exploring the genetic connection, I knew that I suffered greatly when I felt stress. I knew that my body did not recover as easily or as quickly as one would think. I started to practice yoga many years ago, and it helped greatly. However, not until I added in the mindfulness practice into my yoga did I begin to see the full positive impact it could have on my mood.

I now practice a form of yoga called kundalini. I like kundalini yoga specifically because it blends together mindful breathing (pranayama), active postures (krias), meditation (mantra), and rest (shavasana). I am also blessed that the instructor of my class is one of the loveliest people in my life, and her presence and teaching is also a benefit to me in many ways. My doctor has even told me that I am to think of my yoga practice as part of her “prescription” for me. When I need to renew my class card at my studio, I think of it as another preventative health care cost.

Maintaining State

More recently, as part of my personal development work with Stacey and Paul Martino, I have been studying and practicing the concept of “maintaining state.” To maintain state or achieve state mastery, means to remain calm in the face of words, actions, or people that trigger you into a stressful state. State mastery is not to ignore the emotions, but to overtime dissect, analyze, and understand why you are triggered the way you are and then rewire your neural pathways so that you are no longer triggered in the same way. This was life-changing for me because I used to let the poor state of my husband and my kids trigger me into a poor state. Once I learned how to maintain peak state in the face of life’s daily trials and tribulations, life became so much richer and I started to feel so much better. If you are looking for a coach to help you in this direction, sign up for Stacey’s free series of newsletters and her e-book.

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