How do you carry stress?

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Several months ago, I decided to schedule a massage with the hope of alleviating some pain. In the middle of the massage, I was asked, “Do you have a lot of stress?”

“Oh, no,” I said. “I handle stress very well.”

With her hands near where my head meets my neck, the masseuse continued, “This is the area most people carry stress, and yours is so tight I don’t know if I can work it out.”

I was confused. Wasn’t smiling and pretending everything was under control handling stress? Wasn’t answering, “Oh, no, I’m fine,” when people asked how I was doing releasing stress? Wasn’t it better to pray for everyone else than admitting my own need to God?

I reevaluated my tendency to bury in my heart (and apparently my neck) and decided to handle things differently.

I first faced the realization that my body was carrying the stress I denied. I realized it’s okay to not be okay, but I didn’t have to stay that way. I sat and thought of the things I had concealed instead of confronting. I identified the problem.

Then I had a really honest, heart-exposing conversation with God. He knows everything anyway. I don’t know why I sometimes pretend I can do it on my own. Psalm 62:8 offers an encouragement to, “Trust I Him at all times, you people; Pour out your hearts before Him; God is a refuge for us.”

In some instances, I also spoke with a trusted friend who helped me to see things from a different point of view and reassured me that I was not alone.

I’m learning to release instead of retain stress. (Even though I’m a little nervous about scheduling another massage.)


Ronny Michel can be reached at