Motivation and emotion/Book/2021/Epigenetic impacts on emotional well-being

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Epigenetics and emotional well-being:
How can epigenetics influence emotional well-being?

Overview[edit | edit source]

Epigenetics is the study of the way the environment and behaviours can motivate changes that affect the way genes work within the body. Genes shape the brain and affect various cognitive functions, such as learning processes, through a complex interaction with multiple environmental factors (Beuno, 2021). Its main focus is to understand the mechanisms that control how genes switch 'on and 'off' with no modification in the DNA of the cells.

Epigeneitcs was originally introduced by Waddington, in order to link the developmental biology and genetics together (Holiday, 2006, p76). In recent years, epigenetics has become a popular explanation for complex diseases of unknown origin or non-medical factors presented. It is important to have a deep understanding, one that is relevant to the study in order to find accurate treatment responses for patients.

Epigenetics has shown great promise in its connections between epigenetic and the emotional well-being of an individual. Research has been conducted (Weinhold, 2006, 162) linking epigenetics to a wide variety of illnesses and behaviours including various cancers, cognitive dysfunction, respiratory and cardiovascular disease, reproductive, autoimmune and neurobehavioral illnesses. While most research is connected to the tactile medical field, it must also be considered how epigenetics can influence ones mental health and well-being. Factors that are likely to predict your wellness are known as determinants of health and largely consist of self regulated behaviours such as stress, smoking, poor nutrition, obesity and lack of physical activity (NSW Health, 2010).

Author Micheal Pluess conducted a case study analysing epigienetics and well-being, predominantly focusing on optimal adaptation to the environment. This case study explores the environemntal factors in connection to heritability and genetics and its influences on well-being. Using epigenetics as a reference provides doctors, scientists and researchers the opportunity for greater understanding in non-medical factors across all determinants.

Focus Questions Addressed by Each Title:

How can epigenetics be used? - How can epigenetics be used to understand non-medical factors.

Influences. - Could epigenetics further influence research of cognitive impacts towards well-being

Worldly Impacts. - Can this research make a difference in the interpretation of well-being and its relative treatments?

Key Principles[edit | edit source]

  • Psychopathology
  • Awareness of environmental factors
  • Understanding of causation effects
  • Support
  • Resilience

Epigenetic[edit | edit source]

[Provide more detail]

Figure 1 demonstrates the mechanisms of epigenetic. In great detail it demonstrates the process from the factors and processes affected, to the link to methyl groups, followed by DNA and exploring the histone tails and histone modification. The Diagram describes how the epigenetic changes the genetic make-up.
  • History of epigenetic

- Definition of epigenetic is still under debate.

- Its concepts have evolved since 1939 by Conrad Hal Waddington

- Interactions between the environment and the DNA through modifications on the chromatin are not only responsible for the expression of a normal phenotype, these may be involved in the development of various pathologies Villora-Salazar, Mendoza-Mendoza, Gonzalez-Prieto, 2016)

  • Anxiety

- Anxiety disorders have been long considered within the study of psychology, specifically looking at how they present themselves and due to what genetic or epigenetic reasons. Anxiety shows to have putative risk mechanisms in the pathogenesis of anxiety disorders. This adds a focus on the role of "protective factors serving to buffer a risk factor constellation and the role of epigenetic processes functioning as a potent turnstile changing passage direction toward disorder risk or resilience" (Schiele, 2018)

  • Stress

- Stress or chronic stress are known to be due to environmental factors. Here scholars try to understand the alterations in brain function by chronic stress. Studies are presented to try and understand the indirect and direct effects it can have on ones homeostasis and allostatic overload. Homeostasis and allostatic overload look at the body's stability and balance. With stress, or hormones and bodily functions such as our immune system change to adapt tp these situations. It is important to understand how this can refer to the cost of adaptation (McEwen, 2016).

  • Depression

- Scholar Nestler, has proposed a hypothesis that relates to stress triggers and the vulnerability it leaves the individual. the research focused on the chromatin structure at a particular genomic loci in the brains limbic region. This initiates sustained changes in their individuals gene expression which has been shown to contribute to episodes of depression. The main contribution to this hypothesis link to stress-induced epigenetic modification occurring in early life. This research will try and determine an individuals[grammar?] lifetime vulnerability or resilience and resistance to such events (Nestler, 2014).

  • Addiction

- Addiction or overdose are commonly found among younger individuals. For adolescents, their lifestyle and the generation they have grown up in is surrounded by drug consumption leading to addiction. Drug consumption may negatively alter the epigenome of gametes and affect future offspring. (Beuno, 2021)

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Emotional well-being[edit | edit source]

[Provide more detail]

Figure 2 demonstrates the regulation of emotion. The diagram with the use of arrows, describes how and where each emotion occurs. It allows for a clear understanding of the process. The diagram explores the focal antecedents, the emotional labour on the brain and the focal outcomes or conclusions from said[say what?] emotions.

In 1947 the World Health Organisation defined health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing (WHO, 1947).

It emphasises the importance of emotional wellbeing for health: indeed, health is defined as “being confident and positive and able to cope with the ups and downs of life.” These statements are supported by an increasing body of epidemiological, social science, and experimental research that is beginning to suggest that initiatives which aim to promote physical wellbeing to the exclusion of mental and social wellbeing may be doomed to failure.

  • Psychopathology of well-being

- Research on positive emotions, meaning and purpose in life and social relationships. - Psychopathology of major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, social anxiety disorder, schizophrenia, and trauma-related disorders. - Discussion of how friends, family members, and caregivers of these people are adversely impacted in terms of their well-being. - Highlight important findings that not all people with mental illness are devoid of well-being.

  • What is emotional well-being

- CDC defines well being as "a positive outcome that is meaningful for people and for many sectors of society, because it tells us that people perceive that their lives are going well" (CDC, 2021).

- Importance of emotional well-being for health.

- Health is defined as “being confident and positive and able to cope with the ups and downs of life.”

- Research supported by an increasing body of epidemiological, social science, and experimental research (Stewart-Brown, 1998).

Types of emotional well-being[edit | edit source]

  • Physical well-being.
  • Economic well-being.
  • Social well-being.
  • Development and activity.
  • Emotional well-being.
  • Psychological well-being.
  • Life satisfaction.
  • Domain specific satisfaction.
  • Engaging activities and work (CDC, 2021).
Figure 3 demonstrates the eight dimensions of wellness and emotional well-being. The figure states the eight dimensions that an individual may need in order to be within the state of wellness.

Interactive learning features[edit | edit source]

What brings an online book chapter to life, compared to an essay, are its interactive learning features. Case studies, feature boxes, figures, links, tables, and quiz questions can be used throughout the chapter.

Case studies- Epigenetics and global health case study[edit | edit source]

Case studies describe real-world examples of concepts in action. Case studies can be real or fictional. A case could be used multiple times during a chapter to illustrate different theories or stages. It is often helpful to present case studies using feature boxes.

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Figure 1. Example image with descriptive caption.

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Tables[edit | edit source]

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Table 1.

Example of a Table with an APA Style Caption

Children Gather Round
Mary had a
little lamb it's
fleece was white

Table 2.

Another Example of a Table with an APA Style Caption

Nursery Rhyme Time
Incy Wincy spider
climbed up the
water spout down

Table 3.

Example of a Sortable Table with an APA Style Caption

Fruit Price/kg Popularity
Tomatoes $6.00 1st
Bananas $5.00 2nd
Watermelon $2.99 3rd
Oranges $3.85 4th
Apples $4.95 5th
Grapes $9.50 6th
Mangoes $12.00 7th
Avocados $12.00 8th

Quizzes[edit | edit source]

1 Psychopathology highlights important findings that not all people with mental illness are devoid of well-being.


2 Epigentics can affect all aspects of ones mental health


Conclusion[edit | edit source]

In conclusion, epigenetics could be used as a successful means of understanding the influences of emotional wellbeing. Epigenetics has the ability to draw on environmental and non-medical factors to explore and explain the reasons being mental health. This can be done through understanding the expression of genes and the environment to produce individual differences in behaviour, cognition, personality and mental health. Through looking at ones environment and external experiences, a deeper understanding can be drawn. Further research can make a difference in this interpretation, giving a better chance at progressive treatments for patients.

Emotion is at the core of health behaviours or coping behaviours, which from this discussion has shown to come from environmental factors, epigenetics.

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

Bueno, D. (2021). Epigenetics and learning. How the environment shapes gene expression, and the possible consequences for learning and behaviour. ''Epigenetics''.

Holliday, R. (2006). Epigenetics: a historical overview. Epigenetics, 1(2), 76-80.

McEwen, B. S. (2016). In pursuit of resilience: stress, epigenetics, and brain plasticity. ''Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences'', ''1373''(1), 56-64.

Nestler, E. J. (2014). Epigenetic mechanisms of depression. ''JAMA psychiatry'', ''71''(4), 454-456.

Pluess, M. (Ed.). (2015). Genetics of psychological well-being: the role of heritability and genetics in positive psychology. Series in Positive Psychology.

Schiele, M. A., & Domschke, K. (2018). Epigenetics at the crossroads between genes, environment and resilience in anxiety disorders. ''Genes, Brain and Behavior'', ''17''(3), e12423.

Stewart-Brown, S. (1998). Emotional wellbeing and its relation to health: Physical disease may well result from emotional distress.

Szyf, M., & Pluess, M. (2015). Epigenetics and well-being: Optimal adaptation to the environment. Genetics of psychological well-being. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 211-230.

Villota-Salazar, N. A., Mendoza-Mendoza, A., & González-Prieto, J. M. (2016). Epigenetics: from the past to the present. ''Frontiers in Life Science'', ''9''(4), 347-370.

Weinhold, B. (2006). Epigenetics: the science of change

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External links[edit | edit source]

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