I came across something by accident recently, and its succinctness has absolutely blown my mind.
It’s the acronym HALT – which stands for Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired.
Hungry: Do I need something physically or emotionally?
Angry: What’s causing me to feel this way?
Lonely: Am I having difficulty connecting with others?
Tired: When was the last time I took a break?
It comes from the world of recovery and addiction, as a way to hit pause before taking unhealthy action.
My perspective on decision making was a slightly unusual one: that it’s not the decisions we make, but the state of mind we’re in when we make them that’s important.
Because when we’re hungry for something emotionally or physically, are feeling frustrated or isolated, or simply pushing ourselves too hard, we’re not in the right state of mind to choose what to have for lunch, let alone anything more important than that.
When we’re hungry, angry, lonely or tired we’re prone to over-thinking or making a decision/judgement from a place of lack or scarcity. We’re concerned with protecting ourselves – which can lead to limitation.
But when we our needs are met, when we’re feeling at ease and connected to others, or more rested, we’re more likely to be generous and have greater clarity in our thinking.
We can access a greater wisdom than our own, knowing that whatever we decide will be okay – and perhaps even realising that the decision we’ve wrestled with isn’t as important as we thought it was. We’re in a place of spaciousness, peace and expansion.
“As our sense of inner security goes up and down, we notice the onset of different types of feelings. The more insecure we are, the darker and more compelling the feelings. As our sense of well-being rises, our feelings are light and pleasurable.
Let’s look at the range of thoughts associated with various feeling states:
Black thoughts: Feelings range from serious to grim. Self-conscious. Circular thinking. Pessimism. Emergencies. “Is this all I have to show for my efforts in life?”
Grey thoughts: Stress, problems, resentments, dissatisfaction and boredom. Thoughts of judgement, comparison and fault-finding. Lots of likes/dislikes, good/bad, needs and wants. Inclination to disagree with others. “Life is so hard”.
White thoughts: Peace of mind. Lightheartedness and satisfaction. Easy to enjoy other people. Easy to relax. “Life is so interesting”.
Silver thoughts: Enjoyment and appreciation. Creativity and insight. Contagious happiness. People are endearing. “Life offers so many possibilities”.
Golden thoughts: Feelings of gratitude. Humour everywhere. Genius. Strong desire to contribute to others. “I’m in love with life”. “
So I’m going to try and HALT whenever I feel stuck, negative, anxious or indecisive.
And access more inner resources by being in a calmer state of mind and body first.