Why You Should Listen Instead of Worry

Every now and then I get into a funk.

Not the kind of funk where I can’t get off the couch, just the kind that makes me feel like something is off or not quite right.

Usually it happens when I’m working hard on several projects at once, I get tired, I’m not making enough space for downtime, and I lose sight of the bigger picture.

It starts with me thinking, “Why am I doing all of this? What do I REALLY want? Is this THAT important?”

Sometimes, I might even take a brief-but-oh-so-unpleasant trip all the way down the rabbit hole of, “What am I doing with my liiiiife?”

And while I think self-reflection is extremely important when it’s done correctly, it shouldn’t put you in a funk.

If you are in a funk of this kind, it’s likely because you are getting HOOKED AND TOSSED.

Here’s how it works. First we have a thought that our noggins somehow get hooked into. Something like:

“Why am I spending so much time on this? This doesn’t seem right.”

Then that takes us a little deeper, to more questions.

“Maybe I should be doing something totally different. Is this really what I want?”

And these questions are so tempting to try to answer, that we take the worry bait and get hooked in even further.

“Seems like putting my energy into THAT is a waste of time. Am I really liiiiiving?”

Once we are fully hooked into this line of questioning, we start to get tossed around, just like a fish on a line.

We become jostled by these ideas because they make us feel uneasy, as if we might be doing something wrong or are on the wrong path.

This unease speaks directly to our fear that we are not enough, that we are not doing enough, that all that we have in this moment isn’t enough, and so on and so forth.

So how do you get UNHOOKED in order to stop the TOSSING?

The other day, I was reading a piece about the famous composer John Cage. As a musician and artist, his work truly focuses on the art of LISTENING.

He shared this story that I think leads to a very good answer to our question:

“[O]ne day I got into [a cab] and the driver began talking a blue streak, accusing absolutely everyone of being wrong. You know he was full of irritation about everything, and I simply remained quiet. I did not answer his questions, I did not enter into a conversation, and very shortly the driver began changing his ideas and simply through my being silent he began, before I got out of the car, saying rather nice things about the world around him.”

He simply observed and listened. He didn’t get hooked or tossed, but remained a bystander to the conversation.

So for you, dear friend, the next time you notice you are going down the rabbit hole of “things are terribly wrong, I don’t have enough money, I’m so out of shape, this will never work, what am I doing with my liiiiife,” I encourage you to practice the art of listening.

Resist the urge to hook in.

Pay attention to your thoughts.

Notice the nature of them.


Practice this mantra:

In this moment, I have all that I need.

Listen instead of worry. Don’t let negative thoughts pull you into THEIR storm. Instead, pull yourself back into YOUR peace. 

In the comments, I’d love to know if you can relate to this idea. And if you have an experience of a time you got hooked in, what did you do to get unhooked?


P.S. One way I like to get unhooked and untossed is with a Soul Stroll.  If you haven’t tried one yet, I’ll give you the Original Soul Stroll for FREE here!

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22 Responses to Why You Should Listen Instead of Worry

  1. Kelly says:

    This came at the PERFECT moment! I am currently in a very deep funk:( unfortunately my husband seems to take the brunt of it. I am trying to get out of my funk by getting outdoors & getting as much fresh air as I can! Thank you!!

  2. Lindsay says:

    This post really spoke to me. I think I’m always in a bit of funk by February or March. One thing that helps me is to add the words “right now” to the end of statements about how I feel. So instead of just, “I feel really stressed and over-whelmed,” it’s “I feel really stressed and over-whelmed right now.” It’s an old therapy trick, but it works. It reminds me that my feelings are temporary; that things will most likely look better tomorrow (or even in an hour); and that I don’t have to get mired in a particular way of thinking or feeling.

  3. Mary says:

    Good piece. The “don’t get hooked and tossed” also applies when other people criticize you or try to get you to do something that you don’t want to do, something that is not in your best interest, but if you try to explain, then there you are, taking the bait. Thanks!

  4. asma says:

    very helpful Erin, your emails make us feel a lot better. it made me realise that I am in a funk at the moment nothing is wrong with the life but everything seems wrong..:) thank you for the so much needed article.

  5. Jolie Brown says:

    When Im around a particular person in my family who exudes stands and wants to hook me into it, I often fall in. At first I resist, then I feel that my peaceful listening resistance is actually passive, stupid, and inadequate. I feel judged, angry and I wish to isolate myself to protect myself so I retreat to the bedroom or I go for a drive. In fact, now that I think about these visits with this person where I’m starting in the same house with this person, it was the anger and lack of control I felt and the inadequacy I felt so strongly that drove me to “better myself.” I try to remain silent when I’m around this person. I think it would be best if I stop visiting her altogether, difficult decision. It would man a break in a long standing tradition, my husband wants to go there regularly, and so on. TMI?

  6. Jolie Brown says:

    Typos in my reply: stands should have been drama.Starting should have been staying. Man should have been mean.

  7. Christian says:

    This JUST happened to me last night! I was bulldozed by my mind so quickly that I couldn’t even pin point what happened: I was great and then I was a mess! Anyhow, I wrote the mantra out and put it on my mirror, because lots of my negativity comes from my body image these days and thus looking in the mirror has become “dangerous” for my attitude, so, Thank You Erin, for you perfectly timed and gracefully put sentiment.

  8. Kim W. says:

    Thank you Erin for what you do. I have been receiving your daily emails and recently purchased your soul stroll bundle and each time I listen, watch, or read your work and repeat the mantra’s I feel a sense of peace and empowerment. Like many have said here in your blog your emails came to them at the exact right moment in their lives when they needed it, I too found your site just when I needed it. Over the last year I have been faced with many life altering challenges that without a daily affirmation of faith and belief that “It will all work out in the end ” I could have easily decided to feel sorry for myself and become depressed. Instead I decided to dig deeper into my faith, reflect on positive words and activities (like yours) and embrace these challenges as an opportunity to grow and change for the better. I still have a long way to go as I am now unemployed, in a new state and looking to seek a life that is drastically different than my past one so I continue to need my family, faith and daily reminders that it will indeed all work out in the end . Each day I strive to pray, breathe, think and act on positive thoughts and look forward expectently to what the Lord has instore for me that day. Thank you for sharing your gift with the world and encouraging those you may never actually meet but touch on a daily basis with your thoughts and words.

  9. Petra says:

    Bang on Erin! Thank you.

  10. Tonya says:

    It’s so helpful knowing others find themselves in a funk now and then. My nonprofit is struggling right now with the economy downturn in my state. And I’m 53 and haven’t planned very well for retirement, so I find myself getting ‘hooked and tossed’ frequently of late. Thinking outside myself (usually thoughts of my 20 year old daughter whom I adore) and continuing to put one foot in front of the other (getting up every day and doing the next right thing) pulls me out of the funk. Fortunately, my calling gets me moving almost every day with elementary school children (I bring dance to under-funded schools and give children opportunities in the arts they would most likely never experience). Which is why I love following you – your connection with body and mind really speaks to me. You’ve created a community where people like me from all walks of life and different parts of the world can find support – even if it’s just an email message at just the right time. Thank you!

    • Erin says:

      What wonderful work you do in the world and how lucky to have such a great relationship with your daughter. I agree that getting up and putting one foot in front of the other helps so much. Thanks for your kind words. Xo Erin

  11. glenda says:

    Wow… I so needed this today!

  12. Laurie says:

    Awesome news! Perfect timing for me as well. We are on day four of rain here in Northern California and I feel so blessed but cooped up too and my dogs are bummed and my chickens are sleeping in the mud room!

    Anyway, one of the very first seeking type seminars I ever did was with Dr. David Reynolds. It seems like I’ve done hundreds of these types of workshops and I just take something special from each one of them. And what I remember from Dr. David’s is this. “You are not responsible for your thoughts and feelings, you are responsible for your behavior.” And that’s what I apply to my mindset when I’m in a funk. It’s really liberating, to know that thoughts and feelings are things just passing through and actually changing your behavior changes the funk….like doing a soul stroll, laughing, playing or cleaning out a drawer, to distract yourself from the funky mind loop. Ugh, there is no way around the occasional funk, but if we didn’t get funky, we wouldn’t know how groovy the flip side is… For many years I thought it was the opposite. You had to change your mind to change your behavior, but it’s actually the changing of your behavior that will change your thoughts and feelings. Let’s get funky!

    Thanks Erin ???
    Love, Laurie

  13. Pat says:

    Thank you so much for sharing, I think I needed that mantra I will try to practice it, I will do it.
    So simple think in life, can change your life. Thank you again.

  14. David August says:

    Thank you for this, I needed to read this tonight.

  15. Steph says:

    Hi Erin! Thank you for this wonderful post. I can definitely relate. In fact, it happened last Friday! Part way through, I was able to pull myself out of it… I went outside, took a walk, sat in the park, and breathed. But as soon as I went back to the office, everything came rushing back. In hindsight, I should have called it a day. A number of factors tend to be in the mix for me when I find myself in a funk, but the two primary things: lack of rest and lack of movement. Melatonin, earplugs, my sweet (loud) cat in her own room, and a solid gym session over the weekend perked me up. I love the concept presented here of listening, and not judging ourselves. Being compassionate. We can be so hard on ourselves, and I am always grateful for this reminder. Thanks again! xo

  16. RH says:

    I try to remember to make distinction between thoughts/feelings that actually come from me and thoughts that I think will come/are coming from other people/sources. ie, “i dont want to do this” vs “people will think I’m lame if I do this”.

  17. Melanie says:

    This happens alot lately.I’m ok one day then the next I’m not. I usually just stop and thank God for what I have and prayer for more good. Let go let God. Breathe

  18. Molli says:

    I love the concrete images of a fish on a line to a negative thinking trail, I think having an image to work with can help me pull myself out of it. I can relate and thank you for this amazing insight!

  19. Ppam says:

    This article comes at the perfect time for me Erin . To get unstuck I spend time in nature . I love your soul strolls