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“I’m so stressed!” We often throw that phrase around, but what does it really mean? Stress is defined as “a state of worry or mental tension as caused by a difficult situation.” Know that difficult situations are inevitable, and feeling stress is a normal, natural response. Psalm 23 acknowledges this by saying, “
even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,” implying that hard times are part of life. God designed us with this survival response to protect us – our “stress feeling” leads us to do something about challenges or threats.

What does stress look like? 

Stress looks different for everyone. It can show up as fatigue, trouble sleeping, headaches, digestion issues, chest pain, and many other symptoms. These symptoms alert your body that something is wrong, like an alarm. God has equipped our body to send these messages so that we will act to change things.

What can we do about stress?

First, identify what’s causing you stress. Pay attention to your thoughts, which are also connected to your physical body. Stressful thoughts can become a clenched jaw, tight chest, or stomachache. Be curious about why your thoughts are there, what they mean, and how they are manifesting physically.

Second, you can counteract a surge of stress by responding physically. Practice relaxation techniques like deep breathing, meditation, stretching, and physical exercise. Try box breathing, where you inhale, counting to four slowly. Hold your breath for four seconds, and then exhale, counting to four slowly. Hold your breath for four seconds again, and repeat. If meditating, find a quiet place where you feel safe. Close your eyes and instead of focusing on your thoughts, notice your body and breathing. 

Most importantly, invite God into these moments. Psalm 23 says that God leads us beside still waters and His rod and staff comfort us, meaning He hasn’t left us to walk alone. Ask Him to help you as you identify your stressors. Thank Him for creating a body that wants to protect you, and pay attention to what that body is trying to tell you. Meditate on who He is while you focus on His presence and peace.


Want to discuss your stress with a professional therapist? Send us an email at [email protected] to schedule an individual session.

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