Leading with Grit & Gratitude


Jen Guidry

Understanding Epigenetics: How Trauma Can Be Passed Down Through Generations

childhood trauma coaching empowerment epigenetics happiness healing mental health trauma Jun 17, 2024

Epigenetics is a groundbreaking field of science that explores how behaviors and environment can cause changes that affect the way your genes work. Unlike genetic changes, epigenetic changes do not alter the DNA sequence but instead, they affect gene expression. One of the most profound discoveries in epigenetics is the transmission of trauma across generations.

How Trauma is Transferred

Studies have shown that traumatic experiences in one generation can influence the health and behavior of descendants up to three generations later. This intergenerational transmission of trauma can manifest as physical or psychological symptoms, carried through epigenetic tags that modify the expression of genes in the brain and other bodily systems.

Recognizing Signs of Inherited Trauma

  1. Unexplained Anxiety and Phobias - Feelings of anxiety, irrational fears, or phobias that don’t have a direct cause in one’s own life experience may be rooted in past family trauma.
  2. Patterns of Stress Responses - Overreacting to stressors or having a heightened stress response can be a legacy of ancestral trauma, influencing your body’s fight-or-flight response.

Breaking the Cycle of Transmitted Trauma

  1. Therapy and Counseling - Engaging in psychological therapy can help individuals understand and work through inherited emotional patterns. Techniques such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) are effective in addressing irrational fears and anxiety.
  2. Mindfulness and Meditation - These practices can recalibrate the nervous system, reduce stress, and promote a state of calm and awareness, helping to rewrite epigenetic tags.

By becoming aware of these epigenetic influences, individuals have the power to break the cycle of transmitted trauma, promoting better health and resilience for future generations. Engage in therapy and mindfulness practices today to pave the way for a healthier tomorrow.