Unleashing the Power of Mind Over Matter: Understanding Instincts, Addiction, and Gene Expression

Esteban Tala

Hatched by Esteban Tala

Apr 15, 2024

3 min read


Unleashing the Power of Mind Over Matter: Understanding Instincts, Addiction, and Gene Expression


In a world driven by impulses and temptations, it is crucial to understand the power of our mind over our innate instincts. Our instincts, although natural, should be controlled and mastered rather than allowing them to control us. Additionally, recent research has shed light on how substances like alcohol and drugs can rewire our brain by altering gene expression. By exploring the connection between instincts, addiction, and gene expression, we can gain valuable insights into the potential for personal growth and transformation.

Controlling Instincts:

Our instincts are deeply rooted in our animal nature, and they serve a purpose in our lives. However, it is essential to recognize that they should not have dominion over our actions. By observing and acknowledging our instincts, we can learn to control and direct them towards positive outcomes. While it may be tempting to let anger consume us or explode with rage, it is far more productive to remain calm and composed. Taking a moment to breathe and assess the problem at hand allows us to order our instincts to wait, preventing us from exacerbating the situation.

Understanding Addiction and Gene Expression:

Studies have shown that substances like alcohol and drugs can directly impact gene expression in the brain. Animal models have revealed that alcohol can alter gene expression in memory circuits, leading to changes in dopamine receptors and reward signaling. Similarly, cocaine can induce changes in gene expression in the reward centers of mice, increasing their desire for more cocaine. Furthermore, substances like alcohol, nicotine, cocaine, and opioids activate signaling pathways that regulate metabolism, suggesting a broader impact on neuronal function and gene expression.

Interestingly, medications prescribed for mental health disorders also influence gene expression. Antidepressants and mood stabilizers can modify DNA and alter the expression of genes crucial to brain plasticity. mRNA-based therapies, currently used in cancer treatment, may hold promise in developing targeted therapies for alcohol and substance use disorders. By targeting signaling pathways linked to addiction, these therapies could reshape brain circuits and influence how alcohol and drugs affect them.

The Impact of Lifestyle on Gene Expression:

Beyond substance use, various lifestyle factors can also influence gene expression. Dietary changes, for instance, can have a profound impact on gene expression. In flies, a high sugar diet can reprogram the ability to taste sweetness by affecting gene expression networks involved in development. Additionally, intensive meditation has been shown to alter gene regulation in the brain. Even a single day of intensive meditation can reduce the expression of inflammatory genes, highlighting the potential for harnessing the power of the mind over gene expression. Exercise has also been found to change gene expression by modifying histones and molecular tags attached to DNA. This suggests that exercise not only improves learning and memory but also reduces the risk of dementia by enhancing the activity and plasticity of neurons.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Practice Mindfulness: By cultivating awareness of our instincts and emotions, we can gain better control over our actions. Engaging in mindfulness exercises, such as meditation or deep breathing, can help in redirecting our instincts towards more constructive responses.
  • 2. Seek Support for Addiction: If you or someone you know struggles with addiction, it is crucial to seek professional help. Therapies and treatments targeting the underlying mechanisms of addiction can provide the necessary support for recovery and long-term sobriety.
  • 3. Adopt a Healthy Lifestyle: Incorporating healthy habits into your daily routine can positively influence gene expression. Prioritize a balanced diet, regular exercise, and stress management techniques such as meditation to optimize your overall well-being.


The intricate relationship between instincts, addiction, and gene expression reveals the power of the mind over our physical and mental health. By recognizing and controlling our instincts, seeking appropriate support for addiction, and adopting a healthy lifestyle, we can unlock our potential for personal growth and well-being. Embracing the power of mind over matter allows us to navigate life's challenges with grace and resilience.

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