Balanced Living: Reduce Stress

by Chet Weld

How do you develop a healthy, balanced life style and manage the stressors of life well? Let’s look at three different aspects of your life: emotions, relationships, and spirituality.

First of all, let’s examine each aspect of your life as a wheel with a hub and spokes.

The Emotional Wheel:

The Emotional Hub = Trust in your God-given mind and emotions. God created us with the ability to think and feel.  When we’re more in touch with ourselves, we can see the “red light” going off on the dashboard that says things like, “Danger, get out of this relationship,” or “Draw a boundary here.”

Vertical Spokes = Stimulation and Quiet… When you think about stimulation, think about how busy you are and try to judge your level of peace like Goldilocks, when she described the porridge, if it’s “too hot,” “too cold,” or “just right.”  And when you think about quiet, think about times to relax and to be silent.  “Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm. 46:10.

Horizontal Spokes = Learning and Work…Learning =mental activity to help to protect you from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Engage in activities such as reading, education, classes in a church, crossword puzzles, reading or Sudoku. Work = proper amount of work and also satisfaction… If you are working over 50 hours per week, generally that’s where you see a slow decline of health.  If you’re retired, you need a hobby, volunteer work, and social activity.]

The Relational Wheel:

The Relational Hub = Trust in People and Relationships… Don’t be like the gun-shy fellow that defined a friend in the following manner:  “A friend is just an enemy you haven’t upset yet.”

Vertical Spokes = Parents, Children, and Spouse. Regarding parents: We need connection + flexibility.  The same principle applies to foster parents, adoptive parents, or grandparents.

Regarding marriage…Rate your marital satisfaction from 1 to 4… And if you’re cohabiting with someone – not married – from a health standpoint, you generally can’t go higher than a 2, as research shows that the health benefits for married couples aren’t the same for those who live together.

Horizontal Spokes = Extended Family, Friends, and Support Groups…Utilize the same criteria of connection and flexibility. Friends: People who don’t have others to confide in and who feel that no one cares for them are 3-5 times as likely to suffer premature death or disease.  And by the same token, having friends who are harmful or negative is just as unhealthy as having no friends.

The Spiritual Wheel:

Hub = Trust in God

Vertical Spokes = Prayer and Meditation are essential. Talking to God at a set time… or even throughout the day is indispensable to a balanced spiritual life. Meditation involves listening to God, which includes meditating on God’s Word.

Horizontal Spokes = Fellowship in a Faith Community and Faith Sharing

Faith community includes friends in from church, or fellowship groups. They can provide accountability, encouragement and a fresh perspective.  “There’s no neutral place inside of us to go.”  Going it alone in our faith is usually a formula for stagnation and decline. Faith sharing implies it is important to have relationships outside of our faith community, and to share our faith either through our example, our testimony, or both – as God leads.  “A drop in, a drop out.”

Now, connect the dots with curved lines and see how round your wheels look. 

“It is good to grasp the one and not let go of the other.  The man who fears God will avoid all extremes (or will practice them both).”  Ecclesiastes 7:18




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