10 Surprising Reasons You’re Stressed Out by Bonnie Gray

I didn’t understand why I was so easily impatient with my kids, when I really wanted to help them with homework. Instead, I got frustrated, lecturing them in a way that was unhelpful and discouraging.

When my husband came home after work, my sour attitude hung like a cloud. Although I cooked dinner, did my chores and technically, nothing was “wrong” that I could put my finger on, I felt stressed and my bad mood spilled over to everyone.

“What’s going on?” hubby asked, after we tucked the kids in bed.

In the past, I’d launched into self-shaming words or I’d blame it on this-or-that, launching us into more conflict. Later, if I confided in a “friend” who was quick-to-judge and slow-to-give-grace, I’d carry extra spiritual guilt of not-trusting-God or praying enough. This cycle of try-harder-then-feel-worse repeated, adding to my stress!

Do you ever feel stressed, but don’t really know why, too?

Do you ever feel stressed, but don’t really know why, too?

When stress eventually turned into anxiety and depression, I decided since Jesus said, “Come to me those who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matt 11:28), there must have a better solution. I started an amazing, life-changing journey to learn what God says about stress and how He helps us, researching loving Scripture and simple soul care tips based on scientific research to improve our emotional well-being.

To my delight, I discovered 40 reasons why we stress and powerful ways to de-stress with soul care and prayer, based on God’s love for us, which I wrote about in my book Whispers of Rest.

Today, I’d like to share Ten Surprising Reasons Why You’re Stressed and Simple Ways to Restore God’s Peace to your soul too!

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1.  You’re good at taking care of others, but bad at filling your own tank.

1. You’re good at taking care of others, but bad at filling your own tank.

Why are we so hard on ourselves, when God’s love is gentle? Extend yourself the comfort you want to give others. How can you fill other’s needs, if your tank is empty?

Soul Care Tip: Prioritize enjoying what brings you joy. Take a walk outside today. Let God touch you.

Don’t think about it. Just put on your shoes and go. You’ll return refreshed. Studies show just 10 minutes outside refreshes and helps with anxiety — depression in school, work, and everyday life.

We may feel selfish prioritizing filling our tanks. Yet, God says we can only comfort others, with the comfort we first receive ourselves! (2 Cor 1:4) 

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2. You are good at problem solving, but what you need is rest.

2. You are good at problem solving, but what you need is rest.

Most problems that stress us can’t be solved in a day. We are such strong thinkers, but it leads us to easily ruminate, which means to obsess about situations or relationships, leaving us feeling depressed or anxious. One way to reduce rumination is by enjoying activities that foster positive thoughts.

Soul Care Tip: Listen to a worship song.

Songs give us a simple way to practice the presence of God. Music is used in therapy to uncover hidden emotional responses in children, helping them find words to express themselves. It’s not just for children. Music helps us pray without words. It’s shown to bring calm and alleviates pain. When you feel too stressed to pray, put on a favorite worship song and let God love on you.

“He has given me a new song to sing.” Psalm 40:3

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3. You are good at listening to others, but find it hard to share your hardships.

3. You are good at listening to others, but find it hard to share your hardships.

We don’t want to bother others. But, what we doubt is whether we’re worth loving. Notice how you feel better after talking to someone about your troubles — even if the problem hasn’t been fixed?

Soul Care Tip: Call a grace-filled friend to have coffee.

Tell your friend about both your hopes and anxieties. Research shows depression is eased, anxiety is reduced, and people bounce back sooner (resiliency) when people share their stories and talk about how they feel when events impact them (rather than just describing what happens).

Carry each other’s burdens. (Galatians 6:2)

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4.  You’re busy getting things done, but you forget to breathe.

4. You’re busy getting things done, but you forget to breathe.

Did you know you hold your breath when you’re stressed? Shallow breathing creates tension in your body, raises your blood pressure, and makes your muscles ache with tension and pain.

Soul Care Tip: Pray a Breath Prayer

The minute we stress is a special opportunity to invite Jesus into our day and be refreshed. A powerful, simple way is to pray a breath prayer. It’s a contemplative prayer practiced by the early church to experience God’s peace and “pray without ceasing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17)

An example of a breath prayer:
Inhale and whisper the name of God you connect with—“Good morning, Jesus.”
Exhale and whisper how you feel or a request—“I love you” or “Help me today.”

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5. You zone out on social media, but you’re actually stressing yourself out.

5. You zone out on social media, but you’re actually stressing yourself out.

Research shows the more time people spent on Facebook, Instagram and social media, the more they felt dissatisfied, depressed, or anxious. People avoid sharing negative feelings, so what you see isn’t real, but tweaked.

Soul Care Tip: Take a digital break. Enjoy doing something that makes you smile!

Research found that experiences make people happier and give you a greater sense of vitality— “feeling alive.” Happiness enjoyed during the experience carried lasting benefits. Simply by recalling the memory sparked happy brain activity, elevating good mood.

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Source: Crosswalk

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