Homeostasis; You Are Changing Too Fast. Slows Down.

5년 전

Picture Source - Nick Youngson (The Blue Diamond Gallery)

In this life, we are governed by a set of rules. If there is anything that is trying to deny that, a specific mechanism will kick in, pushing back things into a state of equilibrium. In biology, people were familiar with the concept of homeostasis. If our blood pressure is low, your heart will increase its pumping speed and contractility to raise the blood pressure up to an acceptable range, and if your blood pressure were over the roof, your kidney would discard an appropriate amount of water to stabilise the blood pressure back into the acceptable zone. If there is something wrong with the mechanism that brought back everything to a standard level, they are considered "disease".

In a book written by George Leonard entitled "Mastery", he pointed out that our lives, whether you realise it or not, also governed by homeostasis, Whether we do a specific activity or not were greatly influenced by our version of homeostasis. Like the heart and kidney which stabilised blood pressure from changing too much, there are many feedback mechanisms which moderate the stability of our habit. There are a few factors which affect the balance of our daily routines:

  • Genetic
  • Tracking method
  • Environment

Chronic exposure to all of these factors will mask the feedback mechanism, making it looks normal. These forces interact every single day, but we've never realised that.

Radical Changes; Does It Works?

Picture Source - Pexels

Expecting someone to change overnight is a popular opinion among the society we're currently living in. People would expect you to be mistake-free in a short amount of time without realising that, changes is a difficult process to be implemented. Some people said, "You're setting your goal too low." but what they don't understand is, the goal is merely something that we envisioned to achieve with our own capacity. It could be low for you but significant for me. That's the thought.

The most important thing is, abrupt changes is a form of contradiction to our usual habit which disrupts the stability of homeostasis. If you're changing too much, then all things around you, whether you can see it or not, were working to push you back into the state of equilibrium. The system which is motivated to drive you back can come in the form of demotivation, problems like being sick and sometimes, you just lose interest in doing whatever you're supposed to do.

“Resistance is proportionate to the size and speed of the change, not to whether the change is a favourable or unfavourable one.” - George Leonard

This resistance to change is not only applied to good changes but also the bad one. In another word, you are more likely to backslide if you are trying to change at a quicker rate. When does this happen? When you start to feel tired of the new routine that makes you change in the first place. You will slowly back down without even realising you are at the bottom of the hill instead of the peak.

How to overcome this equilibrium

Picture Source - Pexels

Imagine a few situations that can illustrate the consequences of changing too much in a short period.

  • An athlete can get sick or injured if they were pushing themselves too much. Muscle needed rest to recover. That's a form of equilibrium, and when you've started to feel painful, it's a natural way of saying "Slow down, you're killing yourself". I'm sure you've heard some people tend to get a heart attack when they were working so hard without resting.

  • When a leader is trying to change everything in a short period, a riot might occur which will lead the country into a state of chaos.

Optimal growth controls the balance. So how do we tip the scale in our favour when we're trying to change? Accumulate small achievement and make it bigger over time. You don't have to jump from zero to eighty percent of progress in a single day. It's a marathon, not a sprint. The focus will be, whether you reach the end point, not how fast you can get there. If you lift too much weight when it is the first time you try weight training, you will be sore and demotivated by the next day but if start with something light, your muscle will adapt. It's a change that they can tolerate.

Eventually, you are capable of lifting more, which you can up the ante by raising some weight and ultimately improve. It's a small win every day accumulated for the rest of your journey to achieve your own goal.

This is the great paradox of behaviour change. If you try to change your life all at once, you will quickly find yourself pulled back into the same patterns as before. But if you merely focus on improving your average day, you will see your life changes naturally as a side effect.


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