Over the last few days, I’ve been pretty much going directly against everything I teach.

See, between moving house and some other personal challenges adventures, I’m not proud to admit that I’ve been up ’til midnight working.

For many of you, that might not sound like a big deal. If that’s the case, you may want to do a little research into the importance of adequate sleep. But I digress…

Why is any of this relevant?

Well, I know that when I’m in sleep debt, my performance, mood, and interaction with others (not least of which my family) suffers. And that’s not cool for anyone.

This is why I’ve been talking a lot lately about self-care and how neglecting it can lead us to show up at less than our best. 

We teach what we most need to learn…

Anyway, as I mentioned in a previous post, if we continue to ignore our fundamentals, it’s as if our intuition gets drunk, and trying to listen to or trust it would only lead to poor decisions.

Instead, we want to get really good at noticing when our state of mind and the quality of our thinking is a little fuzzy, and then use that as an indication or warning sign that something needs a little optimizing.

That’s all fine and well in theory, but how do we actually do so in the moment?

The answer lies in a little tool I recently discovered called HALT.

I first came across HALT in an awesome post from one of closest friends, Michael Balchan.

In that post, he shares this quote from positive psychology researcher Michelle Gielan in her book Broadcasting Happiness:

“There is an acronym from addiction recovery programs that can help you take an inventory of your defenses: HALT. HALT stands for hungry, angry, lonely, or tired. It is a self-care tool to help you check in on your emotional and physical state.”

Before you zone out on me, know that HALT is an incredible little tool for all of us, not just addicts in recovery.

(Side note: the nerd in me LOVES the fact that the word HALT is both a handy acronym as well as literally meaning to pause or stop what you’re doing…)

Here’s how it works…

How to use HALT to get back to your best

  1. As soon as you notice that your intuition is drunk and you’re feeling a little overwhelmed, stressed, anxious or worked up, take a step back and literally halt whatever it is that you’re doing.
  2. Do a quick mental run-through of the HALT formula. Are you perhaps hungry, angry, lonely or tired? Find whichever one is present for you. For me, it’s usually hungry or tired.
  3. Once you’ve identified what’s really going on, take the necessary action(s) to ‘sober up’. If you’re hungry, grab a healthy snack (no sugar!) or even a glass of water. If you’re angry, you might try journaling, going for a walk or hitting a workout. If you’re lonely, call up a friend. And if you’re tired, take a nap and/or make sure you’re going to bed at a reasonable hour consistently.
  4. Once you’ve recovered, come back to what it is you were doing.

Put all that together, and it looks a little something like this:

“Hmm, I’m noticing that I’m getting more quickly frustrated with my wife. What’s really going on here? Oh yeah, I’ve been going to bed too late and not getting enough sleep. Lemme take a nap and come back to this.”

Remember that little formula the next time you notice yourself feeling a little funky.

Perhaps it has nothing to do with the person or experience itself, but rather that you’re simply just a little Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired.

HALT it out, and get back to your best.


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