What is the H.A.L.T. Method? A Psychological Guide to Stop Running on Empty

Self-management, therefore, is all about becoming your own leader by training your mental, physical, social, and intellectual faculties in different ways.

Dr. Prem Jagyasi

Whether you have to make a small or big decision, all decisions can look difficult and daunting when your psychology is not in the best shape. To prevent us from making bad decisions, we should avoid committing to a decision whenever we are hungry, angry, lonely, or tired. The combination of these four conditions is known as the H.A.L.T. method, and it is especially recommended for people who are going through recovery or considering some sort of life change.

Hunger, anger, loneliness, and tiredness are states that affect both our physiology and psychology. They are also of special relevance to the highly sensitive person as physiological and psychological changes tend to be experienced more intensely by those who have a more sensitive nervous system. The H.A.L.T. method can be, however, very useful to anyone who seeks to prevent the cumulative negative effects of overstimulation, the experience of burnout, or relapse into unhealthy habits.

To apply this method, you will have to become more aware of your internal states and well-being habits. For instance, if you can’t recognize when your body is lacking proper nutrients, or if you can’t notice you are experiencing anger, then it will be difficult to know when it is time to stop and practice the H.A.L.T. method. To raise your awareness and effectively spot the first signs of H.A.L.T., you can either learn to practice mindfulness or start journaling. These activities will help you be more in tune with your body and mind, enabling you to track thoughts, emotions, and sensations more easily and quickly.

It is also worth mentioning that these four states can be interrelated and influence each other. When you have a poor night’s sleep, you are more likely to feel angry and tired. When you are too many hours in a row without eating properly, your psychology starts to suffer, and you become more susceptible to feeling drained and experiencing negative emotions.

Let’s now have a closer look into each component of the H.A.L.T. method.

Hunger

When you are hungry, it is a sign that your body is lacking immediate energy to fuel you. You also get more easily distracted and prone to errors. Make sure you start your day with a good, nutritious, and balanced breakfast. Pair some protein with a source of complex carbs (e.g. oatmeal), and pay attention to your body and mind to know the frequency you should eat something. Give way to healthy snacks such as fruit, seeds, or nuts. This will help you keep your blood sugar levels stable.

Anger

Anger is not an emotion we should suppress or avoid at all costs. It can be a valid response to a situation or experience. However, misplaced, uncontrolled, or unjustified anger is not only bad for your mental health, but also for people who interact with you and become a target of your anger. If you experience anger, try to manage it in a healthy way by inquiring about what can be its root cause and finding helpful ways to express it. Finding a creative hobby can help.

Loneliness

Loneliness can make people feel afraid, empty, and rejected. Out of fear of being alone, people can make decisions that don’t hold their best interests at heart in the long term. They may stay in abusive relationships or engage in addictive behaviors that can distract them from what they feel. It is ok to need other people’s presence and attention. Just make sure you are aware of what you need at the moment and that you seek healthy ways to fulfill it.

Tiredness

Tiredness can be a consequence of the states already mentioned or a factor on its own. Not having enough food or experiencing emotional havoc can leave you drained and tired. Overworking yourself and not having enough sleep can also contribute to you feeling tired. In the long term, tiredness leads to poor memory, bad decision-making, and poor health. Make sure you either include time to unwind and recharge or you improve the quality of your sleep. Improving nutrition and reducing stimulants can help you a great deal. You can also try grounding for a quick and direct rebalance of your energy field.

Concluding Thoughts

Being mindful of the first signs you are experiencing hunger, anger, loneliness, or tiredness can improve your decision-making and well-being a great deal. By paying attention to the first signs, you are able to manage and correct them before they are aggravated and exert a negative influence on your daily life. Seek healthy ways to stay physically satisfied and emotionally stable. Improving your nutrition, sleep, and finding creative outlets to express your emotions are only a few examples of strategies you may find useful.

Other blogs you may want to read:

How To Motivate Yourself? The Power of Mindset

The ego-mind is very likely to play tricks on us and unless we learn to master its game we can’t go very far. We will keep relapsing and breaking the promises we make to ourselves and others. It’s a tough job; it’s hard work really but you must become acquainted with the way the mind functions so that you can remove what’s preventing you from becoming the best version of yourself. You have to tame your mind by working on your mindset and programing your day-to-day routine so that you can be on top of your game.

Keep reading

Subscribe to my mailing list and never miss another post!

Processingโ€ฆ
Success! You're on the list.

24 Comments

  1. I found this really interesting. Itโ€™s true that these things are all interrelated. When I am hungry or lacking in sleep, small things that wouldnโ€™t normally bother me make me angry.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They just expand altogether sometimes ๐Ÿ˜Š They start to add up and it’s really like you said, even the smallest thing can be a source of annoyance. Nothing like a good night’s sleep and a comfy belly ๐Ÿ˜„

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Becky says:

    Hungry and angry i can totally relate to. I know when I’m struggling when I get over hungry or angry for no reason. Haha!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahah, yes, me too! we get h-a-n-g-r-y ๐Ÿ˜„ I think those two and tiredness are my top ones. Thanks for sharing your experience, Becky ๐Ÿค—

      Like

  3. This is a really interesting and informative post. We really enjoyed reading it. Thank you for sharing! Also, check out our most recent post if you have not already.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, I’m glad you enjoyed reading this one! ๐Ÿค—

      Liked by 1 person

    2. AmethystAP says:

      Hunger, anger, loneliness and tiredness are really not the best states to make decisions in. When I’m hungry I can’t focus on the task at hand and get frustrated quickly. When I’m angry I tend to be harsh and say things that can upset others. If I’m loneliness, I feel to low to see the bright side of things. When I’m tired, I’m to sleepy to concentrate and give my best to the task. I’ve been learning to notice the signs so I can take care of my needs before they escalate. This is a great post. Thanks for sharing.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. That’s really a great description of what usually happens when we’re experiencing HALT states. Thank you for sharing your experience, it adds concrete examples that many of us experience and struggle with.

        Like

  4. AMAZING BABY says:

    Love this post! Hangry (hungry + angry) is a state that I try to avoid at all costs. Sometimes I bypass eating so I can finish up some work, but I end up feeling sluggish and irritable. I need to make better choices.
    Crystal | http://www.amazingbaby.app

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Crystal! โค๏ธ Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing your experience ๐Ÿ˜Š And yes, h-a-n-g-r-y might well be my biggest trouble ๐Ÿ˜„ We do get like that when we go without food for long periods of time. Let me know if you want some healthy snack ideas to prevent feeling sluggish and irritable ๐Ÿ’›

      Like

  5. thecuriousdig says:

    I knew of these separately but didn’t know the acronym was HALT! Very informative, thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, it’s a shortcut so we can be more mindful of all of them ๐Ÿ˜Š Thanks for coming by!

      Like

    1. Thank you, Janera! ๐Ÿ˜Š

      Like

  6. Nyxinked says:

    I’ve personally used this method before and found it to be very helpful when I’m in a certain mental state. But when I’m very destressed or unwell, it can be hard to stick to.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I totally agree with you. When we are too overwhelmed, we don’t have the same capacity to activate coping strategies. I think that’s one of the reasons why it is so important to build our mindfulness account ๐Ÿ˜Š

      Like

  7. Jodie | That Happy Reader says:

    This makes total sense to me! I know if Iโ€™m hungry or tired Iโ€™m definitely more likely to make a quick decision. I will keep this information for the future. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yes, all these states seem to boost impulsivity ๐Ÿคญ Thanks for reading and sharing your experience, Jodie!

      Like

  8. thestoicpadawan says:

    When I read H.A.L.T. I had something completely different in mind, but this was so interesting to read. Something we do kind of know but need these excellent reminders to become aware of them. Like don’t go shopping when you’re hungry is an obvious one, but as you show here it affects us in many more ways. Are there are then these four?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, the acronym helps us be more mindful of all of them. When we live among non-HSPs it gets easier to overlook them too because other people don’t seem so affected by them or can last more, so we take that as a sign we need to push through. I don’t have many people around me who struggle with being hungry while shopping or who need to leave a shopping mall because it’s too crowded. In my family, that only happens with my grandma ๐Ÿ˜„

      Like

  9. Eri Tz says:

    I have noticed that there are moments in my life when I am angry or sad that the decisions I make are not the best. I have never thought of all the other cases you mention but I can understand how they can influence decisions. This was eye opening to me. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, these states do have an impact on our decisions and sometimes we’re not fully aware of the extent of their influence. Thank you for sharing your experience, I’m happy this was useful!

      Like

  10. It’s been a while since I’ve heard of the HALT method. This is such a great reminder to slow down and pay attention to these aspects of my well being. I really notice a difference in my state of being when I’m hungry or tired. It definitely does throw things out of balance.

    Like

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s