End Self Sabotage by HALT-ing
-Ally Nelson, LCSW
Are you self sabotaging? Maybe overeating, under-eating, drinking excessively, sleeping too much, snapping at people you love, watching too much TV? The list could go on and on!
The first thing to remember about these behaviors is that they all serve a purpose. There’s a reason we’re choosing to do these things. They help us to numb painful emotions and avoid experiences we don’t want to have.
Numbing behaviors are fast acting ways the body has figured out to try and meet a need. But sometimes it gets mixed up as to the best way to cope with the stress you’re experiencing!
Instead of avoiding the feeling, let’s check into the underlying need that isn’t being met. This is where the acronym HALT comes into play.
HALT stands for:
So the next time you feel ready to numb or sabotage yourself ask yourself a few questions:
Am I hungry? What food would nourish me and help me meet my long term and short term goals?
When we’re hungry it’s so much more difficult to manage our emotions. Our brain kicks into survival mode which isn’t helpful to us if we aren’t in life threatening situations.
Am I angry? Where is an appropriate place to put this anger?
Anger is a very powerful emotion that triggers action. It warns us that there is a problem that we need to push back against. But it’s not helpful to take harmful actions toward ourselves because we’re feeling angry. Take time to process your anger in a journal, with a trusted loved one, or your therapist!
Am I lonely? Am I projecting my thoughts and feelings onto others? Do I feel like I’m not enough?
We’re pack animals. Connection is wired into our genetics. Unfortunately, we don’t have control over how others feel about us. But! We do have control over how we feel about ourselves. Take time to connect to you. What do you like to do? What would help you feel less lonely? Where can you go to connect with others in a safe and healthy way?
Am I tired? Have I been getting enough sleep? Am I taking time to restore my energy?
Feeling tired limits our brain functioning. All of our resources have to be pooled so we continue going, rather than have resources be spread all through our body and thriving! Sleep is an essential act of self care.
Next time you feel like numbing, take a few minutes to HALT. Check in with your needs and meet them! You deserve to feel your very best!
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