HALT Poor Decision Making
“Have a Snickers” as a decision maker?
There are often times when we make rash or quick decisions and when we look back on them we say, “Why did I do that?”or “Why did I eat that?”
Sometimes its because we’re bored, other times its because we are looking to fill a void or find a purpose. Life seems to be out of control sometimes and there is little we can do to influence world events but we can manage parts of our own life with a few tools.
There have been many times in my own life that I’d wished I had something to help me avoid my impulsive decisions that sometimes have had long lasting effects.
Often these regrets or poor choices can be avoided or managed better when we learn to HALT. As we unpack the acronym HALT its easier to see how to effectively use this rather simple tool.
HALT stands for Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired
Usually when we make poor choices or decisions its because of one of these four triggers. It seems simplistic but there is some real wisdom in this small word HALT. By taking the time to figure out the reason we’re about to do something, we can usually avoid poorer choices.
Not every situation can be remedied by these four triggers but they are a great place to start. Taking the time to stop and think about these things before acting is an expansion of the “Count to 10” model. Using an acronym like HALT helps us to take a few seconds and try to identify the triggers for our behaviours.
Sometimes the slogan “Have a Snickers” (and many other ads too) actually works to get us to act and, at times, act quickly without thinking. Food is a great motivator and a great reward sometimes. The Snicker bar slogan appeals to the fact that energy and nutrients in our system need to be replenished so our brains function properly.
Simply asking ourselves to use HALT as a checklist is an excellent tool. Ask yourself “Am I hungry (yes/no), angry (yes/no), lonely (yes/no), tired (yes/no)?”
If ‘hungry’ maybe something to eat or a simple glass of water can do wonders, ‘angry’ maybe stepping away from the situation to get a fuller perspective, ‘lonely’ maybe call a friend or help a neighbour, ‘tired’ maybe go to bed earlier or have a rest/nap.
Rather than being reactive, using new tools and existing ones, we can become more proactive at handling the inevitable challenges of life. Consider how you may adapt this strategy for other challenging areas in your life? Play around with this acronym a little? Or, you may use the STOP one… Stop, (breathe) Think, Observe then Proceed?
Adding HALT to our ’emotional toolbox’ can better prepare us for a world that is unpredictable everyday.
Now you have read this… it is in your “tool box” or “on your hard drive” 🙂
For more assistance contact one of our counsellors today!
submitted by EB
Photo credit: wallyir from morguefile.com