Our mental health is affected by various factors–our experiences, lifestyle, environment, and our genes. Out of all these factors, our genetics is the only one not within our control.
The Genomind Mental Health 360 further explains these factors. Experiences can be composed of success and failure, abuse and trauma, childbirth, divorce/ separation, bullying, and combat. Lifestyle can be made up of substance abuse, sleep and eating patterns, physical activity, social life, and employment. Environment on the other hand can be about a person’s home and family life, socio-economic status, community, essential living conditions, and education.
Genetics, which is the only one beyond our control, is composed of family history, genetic predispositions, brain chemical balance, metabolism, and response to medications.
Here are some tips on how you can manage your mental health based on your genes and family history, even if it’s not totally in your hands 1:
- Talk to a professional
Talking to a psychiatrist or a therapist can help you understand risk factors and preventive factors of mental health outlined above. You can also get personalized tips on how to take care of your own mental wellness.
- Before you talk to a professional, it would be helpful to prepare your questions, list down any medications and supplements you are taking, and review your family’s mental health history.
- Gather your family health history by talking to your biological relatives
Understand yourself and your family health history by talking to your first-degree relatives. This includes your parents, siblings, kids. Second-degree relatives such as nieces, nephews, half-siblings, grandparents, aunts and uncles may also offer useful information.
- Take care of your physical health
Your lifestyle and your physical health affects your mental health. Stick to a regular sleep schedule and see a specialist if difficulty persists. Eat right by increasing plant intake and reducing sugar and processed red meats. Move more and make physical activity a part of your regular routine.
- Take a genetics test
There are tests like the Genomind Mental Health Map that tests for specific genetic variants that influence seven of our capabilities such as mood, eating behavior, social behavior, stress and anxiety, focus and memory, sleep, and substance use and habits. When you understand how your genes affect these factors, you can be informed on which actions to take for better mental health.
- Talk to a professional
Interested in taking the Genomind Mental Health Map? Want more info on how your genes affect your mental health? Contact us and let’s talk about it.
1 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2020). Looking at my genes: What can they tell me about my mental health? National Institute of Mental Health. Retrieved March 18, 2022