Are You Boiling In Hot Water Like the Frog?

Written by: Nick Ortner

You’ve likely heard the anecdote about the frog in hot water. Simply put, it states that if a frog is placed in hot water, it will instantly jump out, but if it’s placed in cold water that is slowly heated, it will not perceive the danger and be slowly cooked to death.

Hoping that nobody has actually done this to a poor frog and pointing out that it’s just a metaphor, I do think the story has some powerful lessons for us today.

Are you boiling in hot water and don’t even know it?

Three Simple Ways to Tell If You’re Boiling in Hot Water Like the Frog

So, you have a nagging feeling that you’re a frog in hot water and you don’t even know it, huh?

“Something just doesn’t look and feel right about this pot… I’m not miserable enough to jump out, but boy, is anyone else feeling the heat in here? Oh, and this heat is making me a little sleepy, maybe I’ll just relax in here for a little while…”

If things in your life aren’t going the way you want them to, you might just be a frog in hot water. That’s OK. Step one to getting out of hot water is KNOWING that you’re in it. The frog didn’t know. You’re starting to realize it, so here are three signposts to check, so that you can really determine if you’re in hot water or not!

1. Your Body

Our bodies, these precious containers, are simply wonderful at telling us if we’re in hot water.

The problem is, we often don’t pay attention to them. And when they do finally get our attention, we come up with all sorts of excuses about what our body is telling us.

We’ll say things like, “Well, I feel terrible because I have the flu,” or, “Well, I was diagnosed with X medical condition,” or, “Well, I didn’t sleep well last night, that’s why I’m exhausted today.”

We rarely stop and ask ourselves questions like, “Why did I get the flu?” “Why did my body breakdown and develop this disease/condition?” “Why didn’t I sleep well last night?”

Look, I get it. It’s easy to blame our physical experience on outside conditions, and then use an outside force to “fix” it, like a pill for this or that. And while certainly there are physical manifestations, more often than not it’s an internal experience that has started the cascade of events leading to a physical condition.

Look deeper and you’ll find it starts with the cumulative stress, with not taking time for yourself, with not being able to say no to others, with moving too fast, with carrying fear, guilt and shame in your body for years, with holding on to events from the past, with being unable to forgive others and yourself…

The hot water you’re sitting in is often full of anger, regret, shame, fear, guilt, anxiety, stress, and more. When it shows up in your body, use it as a clue to look within, and to find the places you can heal.

So one simple way to tell if you’re in hot water or not is to take a moment, and check in with your body.

How does it feel? Maybe feel into your neck and shoulders, roll them around a little. Is there any tension or pain there? Is your back tight and sore? Are you dealing with some pain that just won’t heal? Have you accepted a level of pain in your body that you’ve simply just gotten used to?

Oftentimes, people in pain have had it for so long, that it just becomes a part of life. That’s called “you’re in hot water” and you’ve adjusted to it!

Your body can actually feel strong and vibrant, regardless of your age!

If you want to explore this concept deeper, whether you’ve been struggling with chronic pain or simply want to eliminate the headaches you keep getting, or the overall tension and stress in your body, then you might want to pick up a copy of my new book, “The Tapping Solution for Pain Relief”.

Even if you already know about tapping and how to use it, this book goes step by step into how to create a strong and vibrant body.

2. Your Breath

Your breath is obviously part of your body, but it transcends it in many ways. It’s a direct line of communication with the outside world, taking in what it has to offer us, and then letting it go.

Today, whenever you remember to, pay attention to your breath. Is it full and deep or light and shallow?

Right now, go ahead and take a deep breath, and ask yourself, “How deep is my breath, on a scale of 0-10?” You’ll instinctively know what it is and what it can be.

You can actually tap quite simply on letting go and expanding the breath (if you’re new to Tapping, click here to learn the basics).

After checking in, it’s as simple as, “Even though my breath feels constricted/tight/something stuck, I love, accept and forgive myself.” You might also ask yourself, “What emotion or what event am I holding on to with my breath, in my lungs?” Then tap on that. Do one round or two of tapping, and watch how your chest and lungs relax and your breath expands! It’s often a powerful shift.

Doing this once or twice a day can help us notice when we’re in hot water, and get us out!

3. Your Spirit

Our spirits are often in the deepest, blackest, hottest pots of water, and we don’t even notice.

Do you feel fulfilled on a daily basis? Are you living your truth and passion? Are you opening your heart as wide as it can go and sharing your love with the world? Do you feel that sense of energy, of joy, of vibrancy for life?

If not, you might be in hot water.

Now, I’m not saying you need to feel this way 100% of the time – I certainly don’t! But I think a good measure to start with is: Do I feel this way more often than not? Is 51% of my time spent in this positive, expansive place?

On a daily basis, you’ll go back and forth. You’ll remember this positive, empowering info, and then you’ll forget. Cut yourself some slack on that – it’s OK!

Most of us are working with decades of programming that was not uplifting and expansive. We’re retraining ourselves to think and feel this way, and that can take some time.

Remember, the way the frog gets out of the hot water is by realizing that he’s in it. So just KNOWING you’re in hot water is absolutely huge. From there, jump out! 🙂

To your successful JUMP!

Until next time…

Keep Tapping!

Nick Ortner

Are you in hot water? Which of these 3 keys stood out for you most? What are you going to do to get out of that hot water? Comment below!

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42 Comments on this post

  1. rosela says:

    Now that I understand the metaphor of this story, I am the frog who has been cooked for 12 years, luckily I am still alive. My experience is similar to Todd Sargent April 20 comments.
    There was a plan to leave this toxic relationship, talked to my husband, and he agreed. When I talked to him today, he denied that we do not love each other. I answered him the reason that I cannot leave him right now is due to compassion as he had a heart attack last year and nobody
    will take care of him. I do not love him anymore. He did not even apologize for the sufferings I made nor say thank you(he started saying thank you lately since I reminded him). His mind is somewhere else, I do not know. Maybe I am still
    clinging to the past belief that when you get married, you stay married and sacrifice your happiness. I forgive him, I forgive myself, but I am still
    in the hot water. I need help.


  2. Virginia Reeves says:

    Body, breath, and spirit. I like how you laid out how we allow ourselves to ‘get hot’ . I’m printing this out to share with a niece in prison. She likes alternative perspectives on how to maintain a more upbeat and healthy inner environment.

  3. Barbara A says:

    I have used this metaphor many times in trying to let someone else understand the pain I am in constantly. So when I spotted that title, I had to read about how this relates to pain from the Tapping perspective.

  4. Janet Dudley says:

    Thanks Nick just what I needed to make me realise just how much hot water I am in

  5. Jo says:

    Great analogy! One to share with my clients!

  6. Teresa says:

    Thank you Nick. Timing is perfect as always. Did the deep breathing exercise, reduced it from a 8 to a 1. Teresa

  7. pj says:

    I am the frog 🙂 I have had to learn the hard way to slow down and let go…. I had a stroke at 31 years old and brain damage 2 years ago at 61 . I am blessed to be alive and able to communicate but it has been very difficult. I hope that EVERYONE who sees this will learn what you have to share and hopefully avoid what I have been through.

  8. Jo Levitt says:

    Not one. All three! Thanks again Nick. One day I will be able to say truthfully “I deeply and completely love and accept myself”. Meanwhile, I’m working on the forgiveness part.

  9. Poor frog died, luckily humans know better. says:

    I’m 55 years old and have very little pain (maybe when I get up in the mornings). I know I haven’t overcome all my quirks because some things of the past still anger me. I hope the tapping solution can help. Good luck to all of you!

  10. Anne-Marie says:

    Hi Nick,

    I just love this post. Right now, the key that spoke to me most loudly was the body. Why are you not sleeping better? I will ask myself this question.

    Met you in Toronto two week-ends ago. It was such a pleasure to see you on stage doing your magic with tapping. I discreetly watched two women sitting beside me who didn’t know about tapping. They took in with awe, how effective Tapping can be.

    Had never thought of the frog in the water with the temperature rising as applying to individuals in this way. Will read this again and again. It speaks to me on all levels.

    Big hugs,


  11. Karina says:

    Right now yes working on a solution. I just got laid off my job. This Frog here Not going out without a FIGHT! Need a little help!

  12. Arlac says:

    That’s a knowing answer to a dicfufilt question


    Bobby Burns wrote in Scottish about: The gift to see ourselves. Its been a long time since I’ve thought of the frog and the hot water and even longer than about how comfortable and use to it one can get until something comes along as a reminder –sad that pain is the way to climb out and to keep moving.

  14. Todd Sargent says:

    Yes I am in all tree and have been most of my life I do believe. And not knowing it for so long that
    I feel like a fried burnt and smoked frog! from betrayal after 30 years of loyalty and being blamed as the problem do to her guilt and I finally have seen the true colors & metal and physical damage that I now suffer with. And now accepting that I must find a way to move on and let go of all the resentment and forgive myself and other’s for letting this frog cook so long. I’m hoping tapping will help along with other self improvement methods I’m using as well in the believe I have in God I do believe someday soon I will shine Again… I new to tapping so I’ll try it and let you know if it works for me>Thanks’ Nick

    • Sneha says:

      Yes, Nick Thank You so much ?? You are so kind ?❤️❤️. I’m right now completely focused on finishing both the books . And then I would Love to share my story ?. I would feel safer to share my story with a different name I hope You understand ?. Just can’t wait to share . ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ . Lots of Love Blessings and Good Wishes ? . Sneha Kadam.

  15. Sandra Davidson says:

    I am in hot water in all ways that you list. I have quite a pain filled life so I plan on getting your book on Tapping for pain. I hope ican find it somewhere up here in Canada as to exchange on money etc it gets expensive.

  16. Janny says:

    thanks for the keys,will be on the alert to note of any hot waters

  17. Zethie says:

    I’ve been holding my breath most of my life due to low grade anxiety also been in pain for years. I have much to work on with the tapping. Am efforting to make tapping part of my daily routine. Have ordered your new book & looking forward to its release so I can learn more.

  18. stephanie bancer clark says:

    Dear Nick, I am living in hot water. I cant jump any more. I read ,pray, wish, dream and tap but even though tapping helps and gives immediate results. I am not in a safe place to grow. I am in a tight spot that leaves no room for a practice jump. My age and market value are a time of the past, where I worked for love. I have more and better quality of love now, but it still isn’t of any value in a hot tub. I tried giving my love but the people I know don’t recognize it.

  19. Anni says:

    Great article it highlighted all the stress I carry and my very shallow breath.
    Off to do more tapping thank you!

  20. Emicmh says:

    Great analogy, but it does make perfect sense. In fact after reading & watching your tapping film, I just realized that my body has been trying to tell me what’s wrong me. I’ve been in severe physical pain for 2 years and I think tapping has helped me reduce some of my excruciating knee pain and tailbone pain I’ve been experienced. It has helped me release my trauma, stress and emotional pain associated with the physical pain I’ve been holding in my body.

    Pain free living is indeed possible – I guest I was the frog in the hot water for the last few years, not realizing it lol. EFT makes me realized I’m the frog in hot water and I finally been able to jump out of the hot water slowly but surely. Thanks for sharing and for the brilliant work you do Nick ^_^.

  21. Eva says:

    I do like your Frog Story, and I am now sure that I sit in slowly heating water too. In order to jump out I will be more attentive to my breathing and I will do more tapping to free myself from stress and overwhelm. Thank you Nick for making me more aware.

  22. Carole says:

    Great metaphor ~ I’ll see that “oil painting” from tonight on….whenever I feel as though I’m drowning
    in whatever mess I’ve created for myself.

    Funny in an unfunny way….how very good I am at knowing the how-to’s out of what I’m creating in
    my life…
    And, for some reason, I conveniently let the way out ~ just sit there and stay with me like an unrecognized neon light……flashing ….with no response.

  23. Margot says:

    #1 first, then #2.
    It’s amazing how easily one adjusts, especially in older age, to carrying around some constant pain.
    I just had a hip replacement, and am amazed (again) at how, even after just 3 weeks I can walk full out without that nagging catch to my stride.

    I had a few Somatics coachings, as well as doing Feldenkreis off and on. One way that those disciplines enable us to retrain our body/brain is to explore these things lying down. That frees us from some of the habitual tensions of working in gravity. Perhaps your #1 suggestion could be to explore these body parts while lying down, or at least sitting relaxedly.

    I’ve used Tapping for many things over these past 10 years. The one I fall back on is when I can’t remember a name…tap…and it falls into place. I can now even feel the difference in the brain tension…it’s as if the brain’s memory stress “muscles” relax and allow the memory to pop to the surface.

    • Sneha says:

      Hi Nick Ortner, actually Hi Nick ?, Today I cannot stop from smiling ear to ear . I would be happy to smile even broader than that ??????????.❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ And it’s all thanks to You Nick and Jessica and your Tapping Solution. Let me introduce myself my name is Sneha. I don’t know if You remember me , I have a couple to text messages and that is how we have previously communicated. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ I was trying to get a hold of anyone of Yours or Jessica’s book on Tapping and then I went across both Tapping Solution on Pain Relief Jessica’s Tapping Solution for Weight Loss and Body Confidence ?? @ the local library. I grabbed both ??. Right now I have finished Your book On Pain Relief to a 3/4th . Today I hit your chapter When We Become Our Pain ?? , as You can see I just can’t stop grinning ???. I am @ page:143 now , and believe it or not, as I still can’t believe that I have reached my breakthrough, after I read Your story, which is almost similar to mine ??. Thank You sooooo much ❤️❤️❤️❤️ For making making me realize that I have been the Biggest Pain in My Ass all along , all of my Life and I have been Blaming and Expecting from my Loved ones ❤️❤️❤️❤️. Thank You, thank You, thank You soooo much , You and Your Sister Jessica are a True Blessing for me. After I finish both the Books ?? I will be delighted and proud to share my story as in how Life Changing is Tapping for Me ???. Lots of Love and Gratitude ????, Sneha Kadam .

  24. Kim Foxhall says:

    I am DEFINITELY in hot water!! On all three markers, I hit, but particularly spiritually. Question is, I don’t really know what to do to get out. I’ve been in it for so long…..

  25. Andrea says:

    The analogy is very helpful. I think I will put a picture of a frog somewhere in my workspace as a reminder. I already have little signs around my home saying ” breathe”.

  26. Kay says:

    This is an excellent analogy. Why isn’t the importance of breathing properly taught to everyone from a young age? Imagine how our health would improve.

  27. Cher says:

    The frog in hot water is a useful tool. Thanks for applying the idea to tapping. Stress and tightness in my body is my hunting ground.

  28. Chantal Germain says:

    Great reminders. The three aspects – body, breath and mind (spirit) – are so interconected that they need to be addressed together all the time and cannot be separated.

  29. Sharon Lively says:

    Did not sleep good last night. Worried about my financial situation. Have to do more tapping.

  30. JoAna Dwyer says:

    I love the frog in hot water metaphor! The Spirit key is my favorite because I tend to not think of it as much as my body and breath. Thanks for the reminders, Nick, and we’ll all keep jumping together!

  31. Doris Hicks-Tillman says:

    Thanks so much not only for this great article, but for all you folks do at the Tapping Solution. I just finished tapping with Jessica on Anxiety around Finances and I’ve now bookmarked it so I can find it easily again.
    Tapping has allowed me to make great leaps forward since starting it with my coach last year; it’s such an amazing tool.

  32. Mavis Megler says:

    As always, right on the mark! Must be a human trait, as we are always getting into hot water. Never satisfied, so we create situations to do so. Not consciously, mostly unconsciously. In looking back at my past life, I realize that most of my ills & BS were self made & self inflicted. I attracted every one’s energy onto myself because we wanted to feel wanted, needed or whatever to fit in.

    Yes, It’s time to jump out of that hot pond, shake ourselves off & be our true self and live life as we were meant to live it. Be the Creators that Our Creator made us to be & do!

  33. mary says:

    Can i just say, i love your emails. They always ring true and hit me where it feels good, right when i need it. True thanks!

  34. Lucy says:

    Thank you, Nick. A very helpful article!

    You a are a beacon of light — and so is your sister!

    I just wanted to send my appreciation and acknowledge the QUALITY of the light you bring to this world.

    My very best wishes to you!

  35. Susan says:

    That is the best and most sensible piece of writing and advice I have ever heard. I hope people take notice and take more responsibility for their own lives, holding out their hand and say “I need help and I am willing to change”. Thank you for being in the world for those who are willing to take that step. X

  36. polywan says:

    Tapping solution is simple way to help people without Doctor

  37. Maree Downes says:

    I loved this….number 2 was just what I needed today!
    And I didnt know i needed it! Thankyou again and again.
    Cheers, Maree

  38. Debra Roberts says:

    I related most to the 1st../.about chronic pain…and therefore to the other two as well! I’m convinced and looking forward to buying your book when it comes out on the 21st! Thank you for your work. <3

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