May 7, 2024

Decode Your DNA:  Leveraging Genetic Insights to Boost Your Personal and Professional Fulfilment

Blog

Category

I recently decided to have a genetic test to understand my health better. 

After experiencing burnout, I’ve become forensic about understanding how my body works.

What’s really happening inside my cells?

What is driving my health and wellbeing beyond what’s in my control?

What is my unique health blueprint?

At this season of my life, when I want personal fulfilment and professional success whilst navigating perimenopause – I knew understanding my genetic blueprint would help.

The insights from my genetic testing were eye-opening.

Helping me understand both my hormones and my nervous system.

One particular result surprised me.

I’m sharing it because I suspect that if you’re a high-achieving career woman, you might relate to these results, too.

And it’s all to do with the COMT gene function.

I know – I’d not heard of the COMT gene either until my test results, so let me explain:

The COMT gene stands for Catechol-O-MethylTransferase – the name might be complex but its role is straightforward and vital. 

It plays a significant role in how we metabolise neurotransmitters – dopamine, adrenaline, and noradrenaline in the brain and throughout the body.  These are crucial in regulating our mood, stress response, and cognition, as they help control the body’s fight-or-flight response.

Imagine your brain has a cleanup crew led by the COMT gene, which acts like the manager for stress messengers—those chemicals that react under pressure.

Everyone has the COMT gene, but it can work differently in different people.  

Warrior or Worrier

Some people have a COMT gene that works really fast, which means they might not get too stressed but could also miss out on some of the “feel-good” moments. This is known as the Warrior Profile.  This variant of the COMT gene is like a super efficient manager: quick at clearing stress messengers swiftly.  As a result, people with this variant thrive under pressure, handling high-stakes situations with ease, which is perfect for those who excel amidst tight deadlines and big expectations.

Others have a slower COMT, which means their cleanup takes time. This results in a longer dopamine boost, which is great for enjoying life’s highs. But it can also mean stress hangs around longer, potentially making high-pressure moments feel more overwhelming and downtime hard to come by. This is known as the Worrier Profile. 

So this gene plays a huge role in how we manage stress.

Curious about which are you?

Take this quick quiz to learn more (N.B.  this quiz is designed to be fun and informative and not a substitute for actual genetic testing)

Are You a Warrior or a Worrier?

Instructions: Answer each question with “Often”, “Sometimes”, or “Rarely”. Count how many times you answer with each option and see the results below.

  1. Response to Stressful Situations
    • I remain calm and focused under pressure.
    • I find myself anxious and distracted.
  2. Handling Multitasking
    • I thrive when juggling multiple tasks.
    • I feel overwhelmed and prefer focusing on one thing.
  3. Reaction to Unexpected Challenges
    • I adapt quickly and find it exciting.
    • I get stressed and prefer routine.
  4. Decision-Making in Critical Situations
    • Decisions come easily, even with limited information.
    • I hesitate and prefer to have all possible information.
  5. Overall Mood in Challenging Circumstances
    • I stay optimistic and see opportunities.
    • I often worry and think about what might go wrong.
  6. Performance Under Competitive Conditions
    • I perform better under competition.
    • Competition makes me nervous and can hinder my performance.

Scoring:

  • Mostly “Often”: You may lean towards the “Warrior” type, suggesting a possible Val/Val genotype, which is associated with better stress resilience but possibly less effective at cognitive tasks in non-stressful situations.
  • Mostly “Rarely”: You may lean towards the “Worrier” type, suggesting a possible Met/Met genotype which might make you more sensitive to stress but potentially better at complex cognitive tasks when not stressed.
  • Balanced “Often” and “Rarely” with some “Sometimes”: You might have a balanced Val/Met genotype, displaying traits that are somewhere in between, potentially benefiting from both profiles in different situations.

This quiz offers a fun and simplified way to think about how you might typically react to stress and challenges. Remember, personality and genetic traits are complex, and this quiz is not definitive. If you’re curious about your genetic makeup, consider speaking to a professional for genetic testing.

Do you identify more with being a Warrior, ready to tackle challenges head-on, or a Worrier, who shines in strategy and thoughtful planning?

What is fascinating for me is that I identify more with being a warrior *but* my genetic profile shows that I’m a worrier! I’m now unpicking what this means.  My guess is that I’ve developed some great strategies over the years of managing (or potentially disassociating from) my stress.

These insights are helping me to understand part of the puzzle of why I developed adrenal fatigue after burning out.  

What these insights are now helping me to do is leverage my Type A tendencies and support my body to process my stress more effectively.

I’m thinking of doing a more in-depth podcast episode on this. If you’re interested in learning more, hit reply. That will help me determine if it would be useful for you.

I’m here turning my genetic insights into action because we can learn to thrive by leveraging our unique psychobiological makeup.

I hope sharing these insights is useful and will help to shape a world where every working mum is empowered to thrive.

Nicky

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

On The Blog

Read the latest insights to help you to thrive in work, life and parenthood

Read Now

On The Podcast

Turning inspiration into actionable lifestyle and leadership insights, one conversation at a time.

Listen Now

Turning leadership and lifestyle inspiration into action one conversation at a time. Tune in wherever you listen to podcasts & leave us a review!

Listen to the podcast today

listen on apple

listen on spotify