Nothing Endures But Change-Heraclitus

Nothing Endures But Change-Heraclitus

09/24/15 Laura Gibbons

Heraclitus had it right: Change is a fact of life. In the Greek philosopher’s time, change tended to unfold gradually. But today’s world changes at an alarmingly rapid pace. Thanks to television and the internet, images and information zip around the globe in seconds, and we’re sometimes expected to respond just as quickly.

Change can take many forms and affect every aspect of our lives. It occurs in our family, work, social life, and well-being. Some changes involve additions, such as births, new friends or relationships, and new possessions. Others involve losses, such as death, divorce, or illness. Some changes are sudden, such as losing your job, while others are more gradual, such as entering middle age.

Change can be good or bad, depending on the person and the circumstances. For example, a divorce may be seen as a tragedy or a relief. A promotion is generally viewed as a change for the good, but if you’re anxious or unsure of your skills, you may view it as negative or threatening. Change may be sought out, appreciated or accepted, or it may be forced upon you, and resented or resisted. It can challenge or stimulate you, or make you feel anxious and threatened. Too little change can make life boring or depressing, while too much change can be uncomfortable or overwhelming.

Whatever its form, change requires an adjustment of some kind. This takes energy and, when the demands are too great, it can drain you physically and mentally. Change creates stress, and so it needs to be managed effectively to prevent the development of stress-related symptoms and illnesses. Unmanaged stress can cause physical and emotional disorders, including everything from headaches and digestive problems to high blood pressure and insomnia.

The key to coping with change is to recognize it, understand its effects, and bring it—or your responses to it—under control as much as possible. When you can’t control the change itself, adjusting your attitude toward it can help lessen any stress or tension. You’ll stay healthier that way.

Tips for Making Change

Strive for moderate change. Change is stressful, even when it’s positive and welcome. But no change at all can make us feel like we’re stagnating. Strive for balance. Too much stress at once, or even a moderate amount of stress over a long period of time, can be unhealthy. People who experience a lot of changes in a brief period—within a year, for instance—are more likely to experience an accident or illness within that period than people who face fewer changes, research shows.

Try to see the opportunities in change. The Chinese word for crisis is made up of two symbols: the symbol for danger and the symbol for opportunity. Try to think of change as a mixture of crisis (or danger, or uncertainty) and opportunity. Ask yourself what lesson you might learn, what skill you might develop, or what aspect of yourself you might strengthen as a result of coping with this change.

Physical health will support mental health. During times of change and high stress, remember that regular exercise, a balanced diet, and adequate sleep is needed to maintain your ability to cope.

For more articles and resources on change, visit Centerstone, click on the Work Life Button, and enter your company password.

Workplace Options. (Reviewed 2015). Coping with change. Raleigh, NC: Author.

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