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  • Writer's pictureDarryl Buckle


Have you ever noticed that when you’re tired that the ball wiggles loose easier and you’re more likely to drop it?

Yeah, I thought so.

There’s an acronym to describe that: HALT

It’s the idea that when you’re Hungry, or Angry, or Alone, or Tired that you’re more likely to do something that you told yourself you wouldn’t do anymore or ever or whatever.

Hungry: Some like to think of this one as summarizing the desire to have any or all of our physical or emotional needs met.  When there is an obvious lack in some part of our life we may be more susceptible to various temptations or substitutes in an attempt to meet the need or to fill it with some other satisfaction.  When i’m hungry I often eat.  But sometimes i buy things i’d like to eat even though i shouldn’t eat them – those things which sit in shopping bags on my kitchen floor cause i’m too ashamed to put them away knowing that they were impulse buys and don’t belong in my cupboard.

Angry:  Don’t start feeling guilty yet.  There really is nothing wrong with anger.  The problem is that most of us have never been taught how to express our anger in healthy ways.  That leaves us with nothing to do when someone pushes our buttons at work than to watch porn or knock over the neighbour’s mailbox.  OK so i might be pushing that too far but Anger demands something and if you don’t know how to express it healthfully then really anything is possible.  It doesn’t have to make sense either.  I know people who do the traditional beating of a speed bag or chopping of wood in an attempt to “vent” the adrenaline or the strength of their emotion, but i also know people who drink, or eat, or shop to get rid of anger. (like a couple hundred bucks on your next visa bill will show em!)  Bottom line, when you’re angry find a productive (and preferably less expensive) way to express and ultimately diffuse your feelings.   Maybe you should write a folk (or punk rawk) song. That’s what they used to do in the old days (Psalm 4:4)

Lonely: It’s not just that you’re alone and have nothing better to do, it’s that you’re alone, so you figure it’s as good a time as any to do those things you wouldn’t want anyone to know you still do… from time to time… i mean, not often or anything… just when you’re alone.  The truth is people were created to thrive in the context of community.  Now each of us has different needs at any given time when it comes to how much or little, or the role that the relationships in their lives will fill, but all of us need people in our lives.  So when there is lack, for some reason, or an interruption in a relationship, for any reason, we should be careful that we don’t try to medicate that with things which should be relegated to the “bad habits from my past life” category.

Tired: This shouldn’t surprise anyone.  When i’m tired I have less strength to fight any number of battles in my life – that includes the battles that rage within.  When i’m tired, I drop the ball.  And it doesn’t have to be physical fatigue either.  When I’m emotionally tired i’m in just as much danger of dropping the ball, or stumbling in my step or [insert metaphore here]…

Darryl, you’re a downer.  I don’t think we should hang out anymore.  I’m not writing this to be a downer or to discourage.  I’m just trying to point out the sign so that you don’t go flying through the intersection or careening off that cliff.

I need to learn this in my own life too: That there are times when i need to proceed with a lot more caution cause i’m Hungry or Angry or Lonely or Tired and when i’m Hungry or Angry or Lonely or Tired – sometimes – i make mistakes.  Mistakes that i wouldn’t have made if i was Satisfied and Kalm and Konnected, and Awake.

So i’m learning to recognize when i need to HALT.  And be grateful when i’m SKKA (It’s my blog! .. so step off!)

So what signs do you look for in your own life?  How do you recognize when you need to take extra care in how you’re walking?


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