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Emotional Stress

Written by Patti Greene

Emotional Stress

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Emotional Stress – Let’s face it. Everybody experiences stress from time to time. Life brings both the good and the bad. However, some individuals experience the “ups and downs” that come with living life more than others do. In Recognizing an Emotional Breakdown, author Tara Warta says, “When pressure begins to overwhelm an individual to the point where her [his] professional or personal well-being is compromised, symptoms of a nervous breakdown may become apparent. Such an event can take place for a variety of reasons, and common culprits include a traumatic family event, [an] unreasonable amount of stress in the workplace or a dramatic change in a relationship.” ¹

When we are deeply overwhelmed or troubled, our emotions, our decision-making ability, and our relationships are unable to continue in the normal fashion. Emotional stress usually causes physical symptoms like tremors, heart palpitations, intense headaches, breakouts, physical pain in the chest, and more.

Emotional breakdowns occur when the stress becomes so unbearable that we do not know how to handle it. We have reached our limit. Different individuals experience diverse symptoms. Stressors may cause emotional instability, changes in health, and a disrupted spiritual balance. When we have reached our capacity to function, we may be on the verge of an emotional breakdown.

Merriam Webster’s Thesaurus uses the following words to explain how someone who is stressed-out feels.²

Burned-out [Burnt out]; Exhausted; Knackered [British]; Tired; Worn-out; Undone; Unmanned; Unnerved, Unstrung; Troubled; Upset; Edgy; Nervous; Tense; Uneasy; Agitated; Disturbed; Perturbed, Aggravated; Angry; Annoyed; Exasperated; Irritated; and Shell-shocked.

I performed an Internet search to find out what types of situations lead people to emotional stress. Listed below are some catalysts one might find leading to extreme stress or possibly a complete nervous breakdown.

  1. You are pregnant and you don’t want to be;
  2. You fear you might have dementia;
  3. You are extremely troubled by your family’s choices;
  4. You hate your job or you cannot find a job;
  5. You are deeply depressed over your boyfriend or girlfriend breaking up with you;
  6. You are extremely concerned about your church;
  7. You fear you might not go to heaven;
  8. You are stressed beyond measure being a caregiver;
  9. You made a huge mistake at work;
  10. You are fearful of being sued, fired, or foreclosed on;
  11. You are experiencing a messy divorce;
  12. You can’t handle or care for your children;
  13. Moreover, the list goes on.

Thankfully, removing a few stressors allow some individuals to rebound from the emotional stress they are dealing with. Unfortunately, others may not be able to snap back even when their load lightens. In the case of a sinking state-of-mind, medical intervention is often necessary. Timely medical help may even necessitate an urgent visit to the doctor or emergency room. Never ignore your emotional well-being. It could be the difference between life and death.

Being a believer does not shield us from all the rises and falls we encounter in life. Life happens. Our source is always God, our Father. He provides His Word, His people, and his Holy Spirit to help us. When times are hard or troubles engulf us, allow Him to be our guide. We may have trouble praying ourselves in these emotional times, but God always provides. Many times, He works through other people or professionals. If you need to talk or receive counseling, choose someone you trust, and share your difficulties with him or her.

When Jesus came face to face with the most difficult time of His life, He wanted His friends nearby. Even Jesus did not try to face his most difficult moment alone and neither should we.

In Matthew 26:36-39,

Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to His disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee [James and John], and began to be grieved and distressed. Then He said to them, “My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with me.” And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.”


  1. Listen

  • Listening does not mean giving them advice. The advice might stress them more and lead them deeper into more turmoil.
  • “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.” James 1:19 ESV
  1. Reduce the load and stressors if possible

  • Find people who are willing and able to take the load and pressure off them.
  • “In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” Acts 20:35 ESV
  1. Give reassurance that God cares

  • Be an encourager and let them know they are not alone in their present situation.
  • “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11 ESV
  1. Give confidence that feeling better is within reach

  • Provide hope there are better days ahead.
  • “For I know the plans I have for you, declares theLord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 ESV
  1. Intervene, if needed, with family, medical, and/or spiritual help

  • Use discernment when deciding whom can best help in the situation. In addition, be prepared to act when an emergency arises.
  • “Then Phinehas stood up and intervened, and the plague was stayed.” Psalm 106:30 ESV
  1. Be a confidant

  • Do not gossip about his/her condition or situation with others unless the person has given you permission. Even then, be discerning.
  • “A dishonest man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends.” Proverbs 16:28 ESV

Bible Verses:

See above.


Oh LORD, as I reach for You, untangle my nerves and give me hope. Make things better. I am distraught; the pressures are too much. My lists grow longer every day. I cannot meet deadlines. I am about to break. Please help me Lord Jesus. In Your precious name, I pray. Amen.



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About the author


Patti Greene

Patti Greene is the author of three outstanding devotional prayer journals, Answer Me, Anchor Me, and Awaken Me and a book titled "Christian Caregiving: Practical Advice for a Happy Ending." Patti earned a bachelor’s degree from Baylor University and pursued graduate studies in religious education and library science spending two years as a second-grade teacher. After spending 12 years as a stay-at-home mom, Greene spent 18 more years as a school librarian in St. Louis, Missouri and Houston, Texas. When not writing books or blogs, Greene spends her time caregiving, reading, researching, and hanging out with her family and friends. Patti and her husband have three adult children and five grandchildren. Visit her blog at

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