Epigenetics - Trigger for Autoimmune Disease & Hashimoto's

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Inna Topiler Halth Mysteries Solved Podcast

Your Family History Goes Beyond Genetics: A Novel Way to Look at Hashimoto’s with Anat Peri

Epigenetics: The Most Missed Potential Trigger for Autoimmune Disease?

The Case: 

  • Mindy has Hashimoto’s and hypothyroidism and experiences low energy and anxiety
  • She’s worried genetics may be making it worse because her mother also has Hashimoto’s
  • She’s feeling like the genetic cards are stacked against her and there’s nothing she can do to feel healthy again. 

The Investigation

When I first met Mindy, I noted the stock she was placing on her genetics, missing things under her control. Genetics are important but they only account for 15% of our wellness picture. I knew that there were a myriad of things we could do to shift the impact of her genetics on her health. However, I also knew that a bigger shift might be needed at the epigenetic level.

The Epigenetic Expert – Anat Peri

To look further into what might be going on for Mindy, I invited Anat Peri back to the show. Longtime listeners may remember her from episode 55 of Health Mysteries Solved when she shared her insights on emotional resilience. I highly recommend going back and listening to (or relistening to) that episode. Anat is an inner child expert and the founder of Training Camp for the Soul. She has 18 years of experience as a trauma-informed coach using a variety of tools including mindset, somatic healing, safety connection, nervous system regulation, and inner child reparenting. Through her work, she has learned a great deal about epigenetics and how our upbringing can manifest physically in our adult minds and our health.

What is Epigenetics?

Epigenetics refers to the biology of our beliefs and how we view the world. It’s about how our reactions to life impact our nervous system and whether we operate in a parasympathetic state or a stressful (sympathetic) state. This can have a huge impact on our health, as stress and trauma can lead to a range of health issues and can be a major trigger for Hashimoto’s. 

Anat explains that everything we learn as children is learned from our caretakers, and if they were absent or dysfunctional, we may have learned unhealthy patterns that can impact our health as adults. Anat explains that we learn so much at a young age because as children we are like sponges; soaking up what we see, hear, and feel energetically from our caretakers. Our beliefs and the way we view the world are formed at a young age, and they can have a huge impact on our health later on. Often, we are completely unaware of the role epigenetics is playing in our health.

The good news is that we can turn our epigenetics on and off, just like gene expressions. Our ability to control our epigenetics depends on our beliefs, how we regulate our nervous system, and how we speak to ourselves. 

Inflammation and its Impact on Health

Inflammation is a natural response of the immune system to injury or infection. However, chronic inflammation can contribute to a wide range of health issues, including autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto’s and thyroid issues. In my practice, I’ve seen how specific beliefs and behaviors can contribute to inflammation in the body.

Beliefs and Behaviors that Impact Inflammation and Hashimoto’s

One of the beliefs that can increase inflammation is shame. Anat explains that shame is a powerful enough emotion that it can cause us to close in on ourselves and hide our true selves. When we feel ashamed, we may try to suppress our emotions and our needs, which can lead to chronic stress and inflammation.

Fear is another powerful emotion that can contribute to inflammation, says Anat. When we are in a state of fear, our bodies release stress hormones, such as cortisol and adrenaline. Over time, chronic stress can lead to inflammation in the body.

Our parents may have ingrained shame and fear responses into us at a very young age without realizing it. Growing up in a chaotic or turbulent environment can also contribute to inflammation. When our nervous system is constantly activated by stress and fear, our bodies release stress hormones, which can lead to inflammation over time.

The Potential Role of Fathers in the Development of Autoimmune Diseases

In this episode, we really got personal. I looked at the roles my mother and father played in my life. I shared that I felt like my father was always there for me but he didn’t necessarily stand up for me when my mother wanted me to do things I didn’t want to do, like playing the piano. This experience taught me that my feelings didn’t matter and that I had to do what others wanted me to do. I realize now that this is how I was trained to be a people pleaser. Anat was able to relate that to having a lack of boundaries as well as self-rejection and self-abandonment and the connection to my Hashimoto’s. It’s really fascinating.

Anat expanded the discussion further by explaining how fathers can impact the development of autoimmune diseases. She notes that fathers can influence the development of autoimmune diseases by being emotionally unavailable, neglectful, or critical. Children who grow up with fathers who are emotionally unavailable may feel rejected and develop feelings of low self-worth, which can trigger the onset of autoimmune diseases.

We also talk about how fathers can influence the development of autoimmune diseases by modeling certain behaviors. For example, if a father is always putting others’ needs before his own, his children may learn that it’s not okay to prioritize their own needs.

This is why it’s so important to have a healthy relationship with both parents to reduce the risk of developing autoimmune diseases. It’s crucial for fathers to be emotionally available and supportive of their children’s feelings and needs. It’s also important for fathers to model healthy behaviors, such as setting boundaries and prioritizing self-care, to help their children develop a healthy attitude towards themselves and others.

Techniques to Connect with Your Inner Child and Begin the Healing Process

Regardless of our relationship with our fathers and how it may have impacted our health, it is possible to change it now. Anat says this is possible by connecting with our inner child. This allows us to identify our emotions, feelings, beliefs, and desires as they relate to our health issues. She suggests grabbing a journal or a piece of paper and writing down everything we feel triggered, upset, frustrated, or stuck about. 

Alternatively, we can record ourselves talking as if we are calling our best friend who listens to us without judging. Once we have our thoughts and emotions recorded, we can identify our inner child’s voice by looking for statements that begin with “I feel” or “I want.” This practice helps us weed out our inner critic, ego, and shadow, which can hinder our ability to connect with our true feelings and desires.

Anat says it’s important to make sure that we are truly hearing our inner child’s voice because it’s generally not the loudest. Often, our inner critic, ego, and shadow are much more overbearing. She explains that statements that begin with “I am,” “I’m upset,” “I’m angry,” “I feel like he doesn’t listen to me,” “I feel like I’m being left behind,” or “I’m all alone” represent our inner child’s voice. On the other hand, statements that contain “I should,” “I must,” or “I have to” reflect our inner critic. Meanwhile, statements that blame others and avoid taking responsibility for our feelings are the product of our ego. Finally, statements that contain shame, fear, and guilt reflect our shadow.

By identifying our inner child’s voice and distinguishing it from our inner critic, ego, and shadow, we can begin the healing process. Connecting with our emotions and desires is crucial to understanding ourselves and our experiences fully. It also helps us identify limiting beliefs that hold us back from living fulfilling lives. Anat Peri emphasizes the importance of being willing to look inward and confront our internal world. This practice can help us shift our focus from external factors to our internal landscape, which is where true healing begins.

Scanning and Embracing Sensations in Our Body

We discuss many ways to create a transformation through connecting with the inner child (and the challenges that many face doing this). One of the keys to making that connection, according to Anat, is to embrace the sensations of the body because sensations are the language of the nervous system. So, when we can learn to be with sensations and name sensations, we speak to the nervous system, and the nervous system can respond and adjust accordingly. She says that we normally put our feelings into two buckets, good feelings, and bad feelings. We label them as happy or scared or anxious, but the opportunity is to go one layer deeper, where we can identify the sensations at the root of these emotions.

The following are the steps to scan and embrace sensations in our body:

Step 1: Take a Deep Breath

To start, take a deep breath and exhale all the stagnant air out of your mouth. Then take a deep breath, filling up the whole body deep into the belly, feeling it expand. Continue to take deep breaths from the belly while sitting in a way that feels supported.

Step 2: Connect with Your Body

Next, connect with your body. Feel the weight of your feet on the ground, the support of the chair or couch, and the sensation of your clothes against your skin.

Step 3: Scan Your Body

Once you feel connected, scan your body from the top of your head to the tips of your toes. Notice any sensations, tightness, or discomfort you may be feeling. Don’t try to change these sensations, just notice them.

Step 4: Name Your Sensations

After scanning your body, name the sensations you have noticed. For example, you may be feeling tightness in your chest, a knot in your stomach, or a tingling sensation in your arms.

Step 5: Embrace Your Sensations

Finally, embrace your sensations by acknowledging them and staying with them. You may want to breathe into the sensations and imagine them softening and dissipating. Remember, the goal is not to change these sensations but to allow them to be present and be with them.

Connecting to the Nervous System and Controlling Hashimoto’s

By embracing the sensations in your body with curiosity instead of judgment or emotions, you create safety within the body and establish a type of communication with your nervous system. And remember, your nervous system is connected to your immune system, which is what controls your Hashimoto’s. Integrating transformative experiences to create lasting transformation requires practice and repetition. It’s not enough to have a transformative experience in a moment; it’s important to integrate that experience and create new neuropathy. Scanning and embracing sensations in our body is a powerful tool to connect with our nervous system, speak to it in its language, and process emotions and sensations. 

Mystery Solved

Mindy believed that her issues were potentially genetic but she hadn’t considered the role epigenetics might be playing in her challenges with Hashiomoto’s. We started our work together balancing her immune system and supporting her thyroid type

Next, we looked at various limiting beliefs and used various modalities to clear those including hypnosis. This process takes time but Mindy was willing to do the work and she got the results she was looking for. 

Conclusion

As we learned in this episode, we are all impacted by epigenetics to some degree. Recognizing that is the first step in starting to heal. So many of us are completely unaware of the impact these hidden beliefs can have on our physical health, especially when our immune system is compromised. If you’d like to explore the process of clearing your limiting beliefs, Anat is my go-to person. She has an expedited process that allows you to identify and completely clear limiting beliefs while tending to your nervous system. She has a retreat coming up where you can do this in 5-days. This full immersion approach is so effective and efficient. Listeners of Health Mysteries Solved save $150 by using this Training Camp for the Soul promo code: INNA. When you go to sign up, just enter INNA into the promo code field and $150 will be deducted from your registration fee. 

Eliminating Health Mysteries

For Mindy, we were able to find that missing piece of the health puzzle deep in her psyche and help her regain her health. Could epigenetics be the missing clue for you or someone in your life? 

Links:

Resources mentioned

Thanks to my guest Anat Peri. You can connect with her on Instagram. You can also register for her next Training Camp for the Soul Retreat here: www.trainingcampforthesoul.com (remember to use promo code INNA to save $150)

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Related Podcast Episodes:

55 Investigating Emotional Resiliency with Anat Peri 111 What Is Your Thyroid Type? (and How to Manage It) 139 How to Power Up Your Hashimoto’s and Thyroid Healing Journey with Hypnosis Part 1

Thanks for Listening

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PLEASE NOTE

All information, content, and material on this podcast are for informational purposes only and are not intended to serve as a substitute for the consultation, diagnosis, and/or medical treatment of a qualified physician or healthcare provider.

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