Youth, Individual & Couples Counselling  

 Brian E. Brumwell, BSc, MTS, 
  [email protected] 

Blog & comments

Help for bad choices

Posted on 30 June, 2016 at 13:35

Life often comes with many obstacles and pitfalls but it also can be very rewarding, exciting and happy. It's in the low times where many of us struggle. Finding purpose in spite of trials can be a difficult and slow process. One may feel things will never improve, there is no respite and no chance of finding joy again. Making major decisions at low points in our lives can have devastating consequences or lead to poor and unintended results. No one is an island and the decisions we make have an effect on those around us. An example of this might be, lashing out in anger at a spouse after a long day of business meetings, horrible commutes, uncooperative kids or neighbours and we can harm those that mean the most to us. This is often called 'misplaced aggression'. It is inappropriate to yell at one's boss or coworkers because it's unprofessional and could very well lead to unemployment. It's inappropriate to yell at the neighbour because you share driveway or your kids go to the same school. But its almost acceptable to yell at one's spouse or children.

The new "Snickers" candy bar campaign is built around the 'Hungry" point. Certain celebrities, Don Rickles and Mr. Bean among them, with bombastistic and memorable personalities, portray regular people before they've had a "Snickers" bar It's very funny and memorable in and of itself. But the premise is a wise one.

From a practical perspective here is a good way of learning how to not be implusive and to avoid making poor decisions when the body isn't primed to do so. The word HALT can be broken down as an acronym and be very helpful. For instance, if one is in a position where a decision has to be made about something serious, a good checklist is the HALT formula.

H.A.L.T. stands for Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired. Just by asking, "Am I Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired?" does 2 things. First, it gets the individual to pause and reflect on the situation at hand and secondly, it helps one not to be reactionary. Does practicing this technique mean we'll never make bad choices or bad decisions? No, we are human and we will do negative things impulsively, and often intentionally (but that's another issue), but getting in the habit of using HALT as a tool can strengthen all of us and help us lead lives that are more fulfilling and less harmful to ourselves and those around us. It is very important to realize that we will make mistakes and that is okay because that is how we learn and grow.

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