Beam offers ways to deal with stress

Published 1:31 pm Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Chris Beam spoke at the Bainbridge Rotary Club

Chris Beam, executive director of Samaritan Counseling Center of Southwest Georgia, recently gave the Bainbridge Rotary Club some tips for dealing with stress, particularly in the workplace.

Beam noted that stress can take its toll on a person’s physical body, but the source of stress is actually often found in the mental and spiritual health of a person.

“When we’re talking about stress, a lot of times the first question we ask is, ‘How do I feel?,’” he said. “But we have to go beyond that. Stress isn’t just about our emotional health, but also our mental health.”

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Beam said some people believe that they can “change how they feel,” but that is next to impossible. As an example, he asked the club members to “get angry right now,” but obviously none of them could instantly bring up such emotion.

However, he noted that humans can instead call to mind different thoughts that can result in certain emotions, both good and bad. We can worry about upcoming deadlines or projects, and allow them to give us stress, or we can think about people we love, and allow them to give us calm and happiness.

“If you change your thoughts, you can often improve your physical state as well,” Beam said.

He noted that a common remedy to stress is to “count to 10,” but he said that solution doesn’t use enough brain power and we will continue to think about the stressful moment instead.

“Think about something like counting by 13 and a half,” he said. “So you’d go, ‘13.5, 27, 40.5, and so on.’ It uses a lot more brainpower and it really forces your body to slow down and lets you shift away from the stressful thoughts.”

Beam also expressed his belief in spiritual health as being a great way to combat stress.

“Just spend five minutes a day in prayer and you’ll be amazed at the difference it can make,” he said. “Focus on one or two passages of the Bible, and just think about how they can be applied to your life.

“The Word of God is always going to be solid, and never-changing. It can be that foundation that you can come back to when the world is hectic and your thoughts are cluttered.”

He also recommended a faith-based solution to another common outcome of stress — failure to sleep.

“If you’re having trouble sleeping, don’t count sheep,” he said. “Count your blessings.”

Samaritan Counseling Center of Southwest Georgia is a not-for-profit organization that offers faith-based services, including counseling and spiritual guidance, to anyone in need of help in southwest Georgia. Beam noted that no Decatur County citizen would be turned away, regardless of ability to pay. The ministry is made possible through the donations of supporters, as well as client fees.

“Part of our goal is to make counseling available to anyone in need,” Beam said. “We have a lot of hurting, needful people in our community.”

The Samaritan Counseling Center is located at 410 West St. in Bainbridge. For more information, call (229) 243-1633 or visit online at