Midday blog: Halt
This past Lent, I decided to set aside a food item that’s been a comfort and a go-to item at the end of the day when I want some comfort. I felt the desire to set it aside so that I could take time to ask God if I was avoiding anything deeper. Was this benign comfort item hiding a deeper ache that needed my attention? Thinking about this one day, I vaguely recalled hearing the acronym “HALT”…something about a checklist to help us pay attention to what’s going on when we’re feeling stressed. So, I did some searching and found more information on it. Here’s what the acronym stands for:
H – Hungry
A – Angry
L – Lonely
T – Tired
The idea is to check in with yourself when you’re feeling stressed or out of sorts – are you hungry? Are you angry? Are you lonely? Are you tired? Usually, when I feel restless or want to reach for comfort food or zone out with some mindless TV, I’m actually feeling hungry, angry, lonely, or tired. When I take that minute to pay attention to what’s going on, I can address the anger, hunger, tiredness, loneliness instead of either engaging in unhealthy habits or things that could become unhealthy if the core issue is consistently pushed aside. I can use this to rule out and address things that are irrelevant to what’s *really* going on. Maybe I’m afraid of failing while also feeling tired and hungry. Addressing my hunger and sleep issues can help me handle the fear better and with a clearer head. I’ve also found it helpful as I walk home from work feeling stressed and cranky, to slowly and prayerfully breathe deeply as I go through HALT and realize that, yes, I am hungry and tired right now… and once I’ve identified those real physical needs, I’m less likely to misdirect my crabbiness toward my husband when I get home – or at the least, I can communicate to him where I am emotionally and that my crankiness isn’t about him.
How about you? Are there some helpful tools that you use to identify what the deeper issues might be?
Lori Neff is the senior producer for the award-winning national radio program, Midday Connection. Lori grew up in a small town in Ohio, spending more time outside in nature than inside. She is a graduate of Moody Bible Institute. Her interests include art (looking at it and creating it), music, literature, humanitarian aid efforts, cooking, gardening, coffee, traveling, thinking, learning and spending time with her husband, John.
To learn more about Lori and read her blog, please visit visit her website.