Spirited Life Selah


Evidence-Based Practices for Clergy Wellbeing 

The Duke Clergy Health Initiative researches and identifies evidence-based practices to improve clergy health and wellbeing. The Selah research trial aimed to identify stress reduction practices that would allow pastors to fully live into the work that God is calling them to do with creativity, insight, and energy – even during the most stressful times.

Selah Stress Management trial finds practices powerful enough to reduce stress symptoms during emotionally charged times

Burnout is on the rise for UMC clergy. In 2021, the Duke Clergy Health Initiative (DCHI) found that 21% of clergy now score as having high levels of emotional exhaustion. When stress is high, pastors don’t have creative energy for what really matters, like responding to crises and building new ministries.

In the Selah trial, the Duke Clergy Health Initiative rigorously tested three stress-reduction practices: The Daily ExamenMindfulness-based Stress Reduction, and Stress Proofing. The results showed statistically significant declines in stress symptoms. 

ABOVE: Jason Villegas learned how to practice Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction during the Selah trial. “When we take care of ourselves, it gives others the license to do the same,” he says.