I talked to my friends recently about the H.A.L.T. principle, which helps us identify emotional triggers. ‘What is an emotional trigger’ you ask? Well, an emotional trigger a physical or environmental state (or situation) that leads to a specific emotional reaction. It may be anxiousness, impatience, impulsivity and other fun feelings we have.
The cool thing about this is that once we identify the right emotional trigger (which is the first step in solving a problem – realizing you have one), we can avoid it or even better – deal with it effectively.
“HALT! Who goes there?”
More like “what is going on”. Here’s where the H.A.L.T. principle comes into play: the goal is to notice which one of the four emotional triggers we’re dealing with. H.A.L.T. is an acronym for Hungry, Angry, Lonely & Tired; four physiological states that may lead to negative emotions or at least make you feel uneasy. When we notice these negative emotions, we should ask ourselves four simple questions:
1. Am I hungry?
If we keep working the whole day without eating, we may feel week and low on energy. Hunger can affect our attention span and make us feel cranky. no wonder babies are always crying… So the simple thing we have to do is just stop what we’re doing and get a bite to eat. It’ll calm us down and give us energy to continue with our day.
2. Am I Angry?
It’s not healthy to bottle things up. Remember the last time that annoying song got stuck in your head? yeah, that happens with thoughts and feelings too. Dealing with that anger, whether that be talking about it with your peers or just taking it out on a treadmill, is important for your well being. And if dealing with that anger is not possible at the moment, you can always use good ol’ fashioned distraction. Most important: breath.
3. Am I lonely?
Loneliness can lead to low self-esteem, anxiety, and depression. It may screw up your motivation and just blow your energy out the window. There’s a reason humans thrive in social environments: we’re social beings, and we need to interact with each other. Sometimes all it takes is a phone call to make yourself feel better, or better yet: go out with someone and have some fun 🙂
4. Am I tired?
There’s no way around it: we need sleep. I know that feeling you get when you try to convince yourself that one little all-nighter wouldn’t hurt, but science would say otherwise. It takes your body at least four days to return to its normal biological cycle, and until that happens we may feel dizzy, impatient on constantly on a verge of going on a killing spree if someone dares to speak before we had our morning coffee. Don’t go on killing spree. Have some sleep instead.
So the next time you feel uneasy, maybe one of these emotional triggers is the culprit. Just halt and ask yourself these four simple questions. You’ll astound yourself by how easy is it so feel balanced again.