Why going to a worship service reduces your stress

A new study suggests that going to church and worshiping God makes you less stressed.

The researchers at Vanderbilt University say that non-worshipers have higher levels of stress and more risks to their health.

Marino Bruce is a research associate professor of medicine, health and society. He says, “We’ve found that being in a place where you can flex those spiritual muscles is actually beneficial for your health.”

This new study jives with others I’ve read. One says that confessing your faults and sins also reduces your stress—something that is a part of many church services.

But when I think through the possible reasons about why getting together with other people and worshiping God might be beneficial to our health, I’m not so sure it has to do with us flexing our spiritual muscles.

I think it’s because worshiping God reminds you that you’re not in charge.

We humans get stressed. Big time. Imagine frizzy hair, cartoon-ish circles spinning in our eyes, and 3 a.m. worry-fests while staring bamboozled at the ceiling.

A lot of our stress has to do with taking responsibility for things we’re not responsible for. And for thinking we can control things we can’t actually control. And for worrying about things that are beyond our understanding in the first place.

But when you sit in awe of God… When you pray to him… When you sing about his goodness… When you encourage others and are encouraged by them… When you learn about God’s promises…

Your brain more clearly identifies and casts aside the lie that it’s all up to you. There’s only one Boss in life. And you’re not it.

Psalm 95:6 (ESV) says: “Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!” This is good counsel not just for grown-ups, but for our kids. These days, over-booked kids—trying to navigate live with more screen time, less unstructured free time, and inconsistent schedules—can be just as stressed-out as their frazzled parents.

You’re right. It’s complicated. It is for you. And it is for me.

Which is why worshiping God cuts through the stressful tsunami we call modern life with a clear reminder of what’s what and who’s Who.

So worship. It reminds you that you’re not in charge.

And it will probably make you feel less stressed—and more blessed.


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