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Is There a Difference Between Stress and Burnout?

One of the very best articles I have read on “burnout” was outlined in an article from Stress and Burnout in Ministry.  Many times the lines between the two conditions are blurred and we become confused to actually what is going on with our moods and emotions.  Many of the symptoms between stress and burnout are similar; leaving us often times attempting to solve a problem that we don’t actually have the correct diagnosis to begin.  Are we experiencing stress or burnout?

The chart below does an excellent job:

Stress versus Burnout

Stress vs  Burnout

Characterized by Over-engagement

Characterized by Disengagement
Emotions are over-reactive Emotions are blunted
Produces urgency and hyperactivity Produces helplessness and hopelessness
Loss of energy Loss of motivation, ideals, and hope
Leads to anxiety disorders Leads to detachment and depression
Primary damage is physical Primary damage is emotional
May kill you prematurely May make life seem not worth living

Source:  Stress and Burnout in Ministry

As you can see, the two conditions that we often confuse with one another are actually opposite on the scale

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Judy W Bell

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