Simple stress prevention anyone can practice now

1 min read

How many times this week did you get frustrated thinking about something or someone you couldn't change?  I'll bet more times than you can count.

I get it.  I've been there.  As a social worker, I'm trained to 'fight the powers that be'.  It's a mantra and often these sorts of 'wicked', or, 'complicated' problems are often my grandest visions for change.

However, it pays to get a bit ruthless about these things.  Because your mental health depends on it.

When it comes to short term needs and your immediate 'pain', longer term solutions won't work.

So, when you consider stress, start by doing something unbelievably simple.  

There is an old, yet very wise acronym used in Alcoholics Anonymous you need to know about, if you don't already (when I bring this one up, I am always amazed how most haven't heard it)!

It's called the 'HALT' Principle

So I want you to take a moment - you know - HALT - right now and ask yourself the following four questions:

  • Am I hungry?
  • Am I angry?
  • Am I lonely?
  • Am I tired?

Simple, right?  Now I ask you a fifth question:

  • Did you answer yes to any of those four, simple questions?

If so, you need to tend to that (or those) issue(s), before you do any other stress management activity.  For example, if you are angry, address it, whether that means counting to ten and taking ten deep breaths or taking a 'time out' or whatever you find works when you are angry.

If you are tired, honor your truth.  Accept that you ARE tired and do something about it.  Before you try to do anything else.  Or, if you absolutely can't rest right this moment (say you are at work), get up and move around.  And, get some real rest as soon as you can today.

I promise if you can answer all four of these questions at any waking moment with a no, you are ready to deal more effectively (and often more quickly) with most other stresses that come your way.

Because everything is easier to deal with when you are fed, relaxed, feeling loved and rested.