Being adventurous, busy and creating art are distraction solutions to worry. Acquiring a new skill shifts focus to help release worry while also leading to exhilaration, passion and the excitement that comes with experiencing new things (Marek, 2007). Being “too busy” to worry may be an excellent solution for being entrenched in anxiety. Frequently, the thing being worried about will simply solve itself or be forgotten. For example, it is very difficult to worry or feel anxiety while playing a rigorous game of tennis. During the game, the focus is on a real opponent and not the enemy of worried thoughts. Biking or other rigorous physical activity may serve the same purpose.
Being creative provides an outlet for thoughts and emotions. Writing, sculpting, painting and other forms of creativity require time and focused thoughtful attention. Therefore, the client is not available to be consumed with thoughts and feelings of anxiety. The immediate reward in seeing an artistic thought becoming reality shifts focus to the current moment.
While all the books reviewed for this research suggest laughter as an active solution to worry, Denise Marek (p.126) reveals the science behind why this salve is such an effective cure for worried thoughts.
Laughter causes your body to release endorphins (the body’s natural painkiller) and to reduce the stress hormone cortisol.
A coach is in a unique position to provide lightness to a situation that a client may not be able to do on her own. When appropriate, encouraging a client to take time out for laughter may create an opportunistic break in the anxiety and worry cycle.
Throughout Calm Marek suggests spending time with positive people, talking with friends, and brainstorming with a partner. Dale Carnegie relays a story of Dr. Rose Hilferding who suggests one of the best remedies for worry is to talk over your troubles and share your worries with someone you trust, is willing to listen and is able to understand (p.216).
A coach may check in with a client to ask about their home or work space. Taking the opportunity to de-clutter and clear a space may create a feeling of lightness and room for new thoughts. In fact, Reverend William Wood suggests
…crumple up your worries about yesterday’s problems and toss them into the wastebasket. (Carnegie,1984;p.273).
What stresses would the client like to write down and throw away? What would it look like to see their desk clear from anxiety? What if anxiety could simply be dismissed?
When the coach senses that the client is ready, an action plan may be discussed. Journaling, setting a schedule for accomplishing realistic goals and exercising a new thought process is important. Marek echoes this thought when she states that having a written outline will help a client lose her feelings of helplessness, regain a sense of control and provide inner peace (p.33).
Here, spirit/why is defined as the emotional connection to the mind/what and body/how. The application of emotion to thoughts and action creates resonance and lasting change. As Holden put it, “Be different if you want a different outcome. Be the goal.” (p.82). This is the area where a client is free to “give up” and “give over” carrying their worries and anxiety alone. Worry can dissolve and make room for inspiration. Women who are in touch with the why or spiritual aspect of themselves have an opportunity to visualize success (Marek, p41) and be present in the moment (Holden,p.184).
Prayer was referred to by all of the authors in the research. Marek referred to it as being a bridge that spans between panic and peace (p.86). While Dale Carnegie suggested prayer for his readers when he wrote
Prayer helps us put into words exactly what is troubling us….prayer gives us a sense of sharing our burdens, of not being alone (p.187).
A client may benefit from taking the opportunity to pray alone, with her coach or, view the coaching session as a place of sanctuary.
Prayer may also be defined as meditation. Both Holden (p.238) and Marek (p.127) recommend meditation to their readers as a tool to cope with worry and anxiety as well as a way to connect with the reader’s inner knowledge and peace. Through a coaching process, much of the mind chatter may be reduced allowing the client to practice whatever type of meditation appeals to her.
Having the support of a coach empowers a client. With the development of confidence, she is able to become more in touch with her emotions. Being in a state of worry is not harmonious with an honest emotional state.
Emotions are mysterious, illogical and deep. They cannot just be thought away. They need to be accepted, loved, and felt…, feel your feelings all the way through to the other side. (Holden, p.75)
Inviting women to find a cause they are passionate about or developing their talents provides a space for them to be both present in the moment and present within themselves. Carnegie approaches this by reminding his readers that the best way to get rid of worry is to focus time, attention and enthusiasm by doing superb work today (p.24).
Using your gift can help you stop worrying about the future and regretting the past, because it totally immerses you in the present moment. When you learn to live fully in the present, the uncertainty of tomorrow and the dissatisfaction of yesterday melt away (Marek, p.97).
It’s easy to conclude that with over 16 million women being affected with the stress of anxiety and worry disorders (Healthy Place), there is certainly an opportunity to make a difference in their lives through coaching. Utilizing the tools provided by the four authors included in this research, a coach can achieve a successful outcome for worried and anxious women.
With the collaboration and support of a coach, women can be more successful through being calm, focused and productive at work. They can enjoy being more fully engaged with their loved ones and improve the quality of their intimate relationships.
Carnegie, D. (1984). How to stop worrying and start living. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster.
Hazlett-Stevens, H. (2005). Women who worry too much: How to stop worry & anxiety from runing relatioships, work & fun. Oakland,, CA: New Harbinger Publications.
Holden, R. (2011). Shift happens: How to live an inspired life-- starting right now! Carlsbad,, CA: Hay House.
Marek, D. (2006). Calm: A proven four-step process designed specifically for women who worry. Carlsbad,, CA: Hay House.
McLean, C. P., Asnaani, A., Litz, B. T., & Hofmann, S. G. (2011). Gender differences in anxiety disorders: Prevalence, course of illness, comorbidity and burden of illness. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 45, 1027-1035.
Healthy Place (2011, December 08). Anxiety disorders statistics and facts. www.healthyplace.com. Retrieved October 16, 2012, from