Why it's important to HALT

Are you feeling Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired? Time to HALT! 🛑✋

This concept comes from the widely accepted belief that if we humans are experiencing any of those 4 things, we are not able to appropriately deal with tough situations. This means we may be more quick to overreact to a situation, yell, say sometime we regret, do something we regret, or even relapse.

Hungry: Hunger can be a lack of a physical or emotional need. You may feel physically hungry and need to eat before you address the situation at hand, or you may have an emotional need for attention, affection or understanding. To combat hunger, find a nutritious snack while talking to a friend, watching a funny show or reading a book.

Angry: Anger is a normal human emotion. The goal is not to never be angry. The goal is to understand what is behind your anger. That is, what is happening deeper that’s leading to feelings of anger? You see, anger is considered a “secondary emotion,” meaning it is the result of another feeling that may be less obvious on the surface. Beneath the anger may be feelings of hurt, sadness, or disappointment, for example. (It’s actually quite common that anger is specifically the result of feeling hurt.) It is important to take time to understand the reason for your anger before you react. It helps to take a break and step away from the situation and sit with your thoughts until the anger dissipates a little and you can understand the feelings behind it. Ways to dispel anger are by writing, meditating, focusing on positive thoughts about yourself and the world, or engaging in a hobby (e.g. creating art, singing, or dancing). 

Lonely: Feeling lonely can involve being actually alone, or being around people but still feeling alone. So it can be either a physical state or an emotional one. If you notice you are feeling lonely, you can call a friend, connect with a loved one, or even go out into the world by taking a walk in your neighborhood or at the mall. Being a member of a group or talking to a therapist are other ways to combat loneliness.

Tired: If you’re feeling tired, you are depleted of the energy it takes to accurately and appropriately deal with difficult situations. It’s important to HALT when you’re feeling tired. In fact, getting adequate sleep is a foundation for emotional wellness and stability. So just because it’s listed last here, does not mean it’s the least important! Sleep and being rested is actually essential to overall happiness. You must get sleep and recharge your body in order to be able to deal with tough situations.

How to HALT: Check-in with yourself each morning and ask yourself if you are feeling any of those things (hungry, angry, lonely, tired). If possible, address what you are feeling and make positive changes. You can use some of the suggestions in the paragraphs above. However, if you can’t make the changes right then, for example- you’re tired but you can’t go back to sleep because you have to go to work, then be aware of how you feel and try not to make any big decisions or have reactions until you are able to recharge. Literally tell yourself, “I’m tired (or, "I'm hungry/angry/lonely") today, so I need to be careful not to overreact or say something I don’t mean. I need to be compassionate with myself and others. I’ll address xyz problem when I am feeling more rested.”

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