Daily applying these four principles will help you flourish instead of flounder as you face life’s challenges and demands.
There is more to life than increasing its speed.[i] Our lives can easily become so busy. . ., but, oh, so barren. God has a special four-part “peace plan” to guide, strengthen, and inspire you with hope and energy. Let’s explore these vital elements of stress protection, physical and mental health, and spiritual vitality. Daily applying these four principles will help you flourish instead of flounder as you face life’s challenges and demands.
Awareness: Be aware of stress traps that you set for yourself. Managing stress involves making choices, forming priorities, adopting attitudes, and taking actions that enable you to maximize your potential without overloading your abilities.
Pare down: People who are chronically stressed often feel that their lives are out of control. Balancing your life puts you back in control and helps you avoid unnecessary stress. Here are some tips: Limit the number of decisions you make in a day. Monitor your schedule, including the amount and intensity of your activities. Avoid clutter. Regulate the rate of change taking place in your life at one time, including jobs, moving, travel, and even holidays. Set a realistic schedule. Eliminate personal debt, especially credit card debt, and don’t buy on impulse. Identify your most important goals and prioritize your time accordingly. Take time to help others — it’s a good way to put your own life in perspective.
Lifestyle: Take time to eat nutritious food at regular mealtimes. It lowers stress, boosts immunities, and punctuates your busy day with pleasure and satisfaction. It reduces cravings for unhealthy snacks between meals. Drink plenty of water between meals to keep the blood free-flowing and help nutrient transport. Exercise regularly. It will not only improve physical health but also lower stress and improve your mood. Don’t neglect sleep. Determine how much sleep you need and make sure you get it. Going to bed early is the best way to get deep, refreshing sleep. Relax. Find a relaxing, stress-reducing hobby or pastime that refreshes and distracts you from your daily routine. Connect. Spiritual needs must be met as well as physical needs. Take time with God in His Word and connect with others of like faith — and don’t forget to ask Him for balance in your life!
A balanced life is a gift from God. Temperance is a fruit of the Spirit. It is not something you do, it is a Divine trait implanted in the heart by the Holy Spirit, just like joy, peace, love, gentleness and meekness. In my flesh, I cannot be temperate, loving or gentle. But God, working through me, can. The following are some basic tips for achieving a balanced life.
[i] Ratey, J. User’s Guide to the Brain, p. 356. Vintage Books, 2002.
Vicki Griffin, MS, MPA is director of Michigan Conference’s Lifestyle Matters ministry.