What Is Burnout and Why Is It So Dangerous?

Burnout: A Definition

Burnout is physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual exhaustion and breakdown. It is usually caused by living at too fast a pace, for too long, doing too much.

The word burnout is interesting because that is literally what is happening at a cellular level in the body. There is burning going on. Much of recent research has shown that people with depression or anxiety actually have inflamed cells.

Fight or Flight . . . All the Time

Here's what is going on. If you come face-to-face with a bear, you go into fight or flight mode. That's a good human stress response to a dangerous stimulant. You fight or you fly. And then it's (hopefully) all over.

What's happening in our lives with stress and burnout out is we're in constant fight-or-flight mode. We're living as if we're in that heightened state all the time. The body then produces chemicals and reactions, thinking this is going to be some terrible event, one that should only last for a few minutes. But we are stuck at 'on.'

The Multi-Dimensional Danger of Burnout

This constant inflammation and chemical imbalance that is occurring in our bodies is affecting not only our bodies. It is affecting our emotions, our thinking, and ultimately our spiritual lives.


David Murray

Although burnout is growing increasingly common among men in ministry, it doesn’t have to be inevitable. Pastor and counselor David Murray offers men gospel-centered hope for avoiding and recovering from burnout, setting a more sustainable pace.

Recent research has shown that stress, depression, anxiety—burnout—is actually causing osteoporosis, bone disease, cardiovascular disease, strokes, and diabetes It's having a devastating effect on our bodies, but very slowly, so that we hardly notice it. These are some of the dangers about burnout.

To learn more about the epidemic of burnout, and how the Bible presents solutions, check out this informative infographic.

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