How Stress Affects Your DNA And What To Do About It

How Stress Affects Your DNA And What To Do About It

Moving down into the microscopic level of our genes, we can see how much stress affects our DNA. Recent research suggests that stress can alter our chromosomes and affect our DNA permanently. Minimizing stress has an opposing, beneficial effect.

We all know that stress can be damaging, but we don’t realize how far-reaching its implications can truly be.

In my book, The Power of the Elevation of Consciousness: Soul Restructuring,  I mention “When we are in a rush and start feeling stressed and nervous, the first thing that happens is you can’t talk correctly – your tongue doesn’t respond to your brain commands, there is confusion and dizziness. Then this reaction starts triggering other organs. If the emotion is not controlled at its initial stage, it could affect the entire body.”

And indeed it does. Stress affects you right down to your DNA.

Telomeres, Stress and Your DNA

Telomeres are a compound structure at the end of our chromosomes that protect them and keep them from aging. They also keep chromosomes from sticking to one another and protect genetic information so that it can be delivered without transcription errors.

Each time a cell divides in your creation, and re-creation, a short piece of your chromosomes are lost as DNA is replicated. Cells use a special enzyme to allow cell division called telomerase, which strengthens your telomeres.

When you are chronically stressed, your telomeres start to shorten, and teleomerase activity is stunted. This then alters your ability to have high-functioning, non-damaged DNA strands.[1]

With mindfulness, the stress response can be mitigated, thus causing your telomeres to keep their length. Why is this so vitally important? Those telomeres do everything from prevent cancer to reduce the rate at which your body ages, and a whole host of additional diseases begin to form. [2] [3]

Ways to Save Your DNA from Stress-Induced Damage

To keep your chromosomes and telomeres highly functioning, you can do many things to lower your stress response.

  • Meditate. Mindfulness meditation in particular has been proven to create a different psychobiology, a fancy term that means your body and mind are more resilient to the effects of stress. [4]
  • Spend Time in Nature. When you get outside, away from an urban environment, and take in the forest, tress, ocean, rivers, lakes and mountains, you immediately reduce your stress levels by quantum leaps. Want less stress, get more green. [5]
  • Eat an Inflammation-Reducing, Plant-Based Diet. Your diet can make or break your body’s ability to respond to stress, even causing it to be more stressed out if you eat a high-sugar, highly processed, meat based diet. Eat as many brightly colored plant-based fruits and vegetables, beans, legumes and sprouts to reduce inflammation and the stress hormones cortisol, adrenaline, and norepinephrine. Also sip on Matcha Green tea as it is loaded with stress-busting polyphenols. [6] [7]
  • Write Down Your Creative Ideas. Research shows that we use a lot of brain power, and often cause ourselves undo stress when we can’t capture ideas that come to us in a moment of inspiration. Writing down your creative ideas also solidifies them because it requires more brain synapses to physically write in a journal as opposed to just typing something into a computer. So be sure to keep a small notebook with you write down insights and ideas to free up your mind, and keep your creative juices flowing. [8] [9]
  • Drink More Water. Purifying your body and mind will also reduce stress. One of the easiest ways to clear out the gunk is by drinking more water. Sipping on water throughout the day can keep your stress hormones in check. [10]

In addition to reprogramming your DNA with Johanna’s methods, you can make these small changes to your day to help keep your DNA stress-free.

[1] Telomeres and Telomerase: Their Implications in Human Health and Disease: Part 3: Stress, Telomeres and Telomerase in Humans (45:58). (2009). SciVee. doi:10.4016/10325.01

[2] Ledesma, D., & Kumano, H. (2009). Mindfulness-based stress reduction and cancer: a meta-analysis. Psycho-Oncology18(6), 571-579. doi:10.1002/pon.1400

[3] Savage, S. A. (2014). Human Telomeres and Telomere Biology Disorders. Progress in Molecular Biology and Translational Science, 41-66. doi:10.1016/b978-0-12-397898-1.00002-5

[4] Alice G. Walton. (2014, July 3). Just A Few Minutes Of Meditation May Reduce Stress, Study Finds. Retrieved from

[5] Ewert, A., & Chang, Y. (2018). Levels of Nature and Stress Response. Behavioral Sciences8(5), 49. doi:10.3390/bs8050049

[6] Bahadoran, Z., Mirmiran, P., & Azizi, F. (2013). Dietary polyphenols as potential nutraceuticals in management of diabetes: a review. Journal of Diabetes & Metabolic Disorders12(1), 43. doi:10.1186/2251-6581-12-43

[7] Serafini, M., & Peluso, I. (2017). Functional Foods for Health: The Interrelated Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Role of Fruits, Vegetables, Herbs, Spices and Cocoa in Humans. Current Pharmaceutical Design22(44), 6701-6715. doi:10.2174/1381612823666161123094235

[8] Wu, X., Guo, T., Tang, T., Shi, B., & Luo, J. (2017). Role of Creativity in the Effectiveness of Cognitive Reappraisal. Frontiers in Psychology8. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2017.01598

[9] Vandenbroucke, J. P., & Pearce, N. (2018). From ideas to studies: how to get ideas and sharpen them into research questions. Clinical EpidemiologyVolume 10, 253-264. doi:10.2147/clep.s142940

[10] Water and Stress Reduction: Sipping Stress Away. (n.d.). Retrieved from


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