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HALT Stress Management

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It’s a given. We all have stress.  Somedays we are pretty good at managing it.  Other days we are not.  Whether we damage ourselves or those around us, whether the damage is immediate or sneaky & slow, the clincher is identifying that you are stressed out before you act crazy.

Here is a quick and easy acronym to help you see the yellow flag before it becomes red:

HALT.  Hungry. Angry. Lonely. Tired.

Hungry:  Oh yes, we all know this one and can spot it in friends who are normally nice but just blew their top over something small or manageable.  If you are hungry, do not make important decisions or quick assessments until you’ve eaten something.

Angry:  Yep, let’s check that one on the list too.  Did you know that when you are angry, it is biologically difficult for your brain to process rational thought?  It’s as if those nerves bypass the many filters we have and have a short cut to regretful words and actions.

Lonely:  This one is surprisingly common.  If your life feels like a hurricane, then you are probably lonely sitting in the eye.  It seems calm, but you feel empty.  It’s difficult to make decisions at this point because your perspective becomes warped.  Go to the park and walk around.  Say hi to everyone you meet.  Smile at the children. Then make your decisions.

Tired:  Zzzzzzz, good morning Sunshine!  Did you not get enough sleep last night?  Our brains needs sleep to process our thoughts and activities of the day.  Without sleep, the information in your head is like a computer in need of defragment.  Islands of information are just floating around with no logic to tie them all together.

The next time you are stressed.  Recognize HALT conditions and refrain from decisions and comments.  Try it once.  Then go and give yourself a reward - something you don’t normally allow yourself.   Then try HALT again, and again. ■

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This month's issue

Farrah Haidar, left, and Hala Yassine, are two of the seven sisters involved in Seven Sisters Scones in Johns Creek, offering their customers a modern take on a traditional breakfast treat.
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