The HALT Method – Self-Awareness Is The Key To Freedom
By James Stratton
The HALT method is a treatment method often used for people recovering from addiction. It labels the triggers recuperating addicts must look out for that can lead to relapses in their addictions. However, the HALT method can be applied to everyday life as these triggers are not only for those that have had substance abuse problems. They are triggers we deal with everyday and whether we realize it or not, can lead to bad decisions. This article will assist you in identifying those triggers and some healthy ways in which to deal with them.
The ‘H’ in HALT stands for Hunger. While we often look at hunger as a very simple feeling, it’s actually more complex than that. When you’re hungry, the physiological effect is that you are short on nutrients and your body is communicating you need more. This need, however, is more than just an empty stomach. With drops in glucose and other nutrients, you react differently to situations making you irritable, easily distracted and tired. To ensure hunger doesn’t sneak up on you keep healthy snack options at the ready. Some almonds, a piece of fruit or even a protein shake can help with this drop in nutrient levels. Hunger can also be a false feeling. You can feel hungry when you’re actually thirsty. Make sure you stay hydrated and you’ll find yourself less likely to have that “hangry” feeling.
The second trigger is Anger. There are various circumstances and situations throughout our daily lives than can make us angry. Anger is a natural emotion. The trick here is to make sure it’s the traffic, or accidentally knocking over a cup of coffee or printing out the wrong report that is making you angry and not something deeper. You always want to be self-aware regarding this emotion as it can easily lead to harsh words and actions that can be extremely difficult to take back.
The third trigger is Loneliness. This one is more self explanatory than the other two but also a little harder to combat. We all feel loneliness at some point. The solution is in how you deal with these feelings. A lot of people retreat into themselves or turn to have a couple drinks to take the edge off. These are only temporary fixes, however and in both cases often lead to worse decisions down the line. The best way to fight loneliness is to have a positive social circle. The circle can be as big or small as you feel comfortable. It could be family and friends or even people who share a similar interest as you. A popular saying in psychology is that the opposite of depression is participation. This is a great way to ward off that lonely feeling.
The last trigger is Tired. This is a feeling we can all relate to. Simply not getting enough sleep or at very least, restful sleep. There are several healthy ways in which you can help yourself get a full nights sleep; healthy foods and drinks that were covered on this very site. Yet, this goes beyond a nightly rendezvous with the sandman. You have to make sure you take just a few moments in your day for yourself. Listen to music, go for a walk, watch a short TV show or talk to a family member or friend about life. These little breaks are absolutely necessary and far too often we let work and life get in the way of them.
While not perfect, the HALT method is a great way to examine your life and see if any of these triggers affect the decisions you make and how you react to them. Whenever you feel overwhelmed, stressed, exhausted or simply fed up just HALT. Take stock of your emotions and circumstances in that moment and see if there’s not some positive way you can channel that energy. I think you’d be surprised how HALTing every now and then will make big problems seem smaller and smaller.
Share this with some friends who might need some self-awareness!