As I mentioned last week in my blog post How Your Health Changes Your Reality, when we’re not feeling our best, it negatively colors our entire life experience. For example, when you’re tired you may believe your friend hasn’t called you back because she’s mad at you — but when you feel great, that same situation has you thinking, “Gee, I’ll bet Dana is really busy. I know she’s been swamped with work.”
In the blog post, I discuss how this fact makes it imperative that we take care of ourselves so our reality will consistently be positive. But what happens when we do find ourselves feeling less than great? Can we rescue our reality?
In wellness coaching, we learn that when we’re feeling negative, we should give ourselves the HALT test:
If you are any of these things, HALT — don’t start navel gazing, wondering why your life sucks or why that stranger gave you a funny look. The results are guaranteed to be bad. Instead, be aware that your thoughts are temporarily negative because of the state of your emotions or your body/health.
Then take steps to remedy the situation. Lonely? Call a friend. Hungry? Have a snack. Tired? Take a nap or get to bed early. Angry? Write a scathing letter to the person you’re angry at, then delete it.
This happened to me just today: I had neglected to take enough snacks to the bookstore, and they didn’t offer any food that was wheat-free (I don’t eat wheat). This was bad news because when I get hungry, I crash — big-time. Shakiness, dizziness, the works. So I thought I was going to lose it when my toddler asked me in an increasingly agitated voice, “What did Lightning McQueen say in Cars 2? No, not THAT part! The part where he was smiling!” And my husband was in my line of fire when he moved like molasses collecting his things to go. Oh, why did the universe suck so much?
But then I remembered the HALT test and admitted that my husband and son were just fine, and as soon as I got some food these earth-shattering grievances would reveal themselves to be minor annoyances. And that’s what happened.
What’s really interesting is that as I was writing this post and thinking about my experience, I saw a short piece in Health magazine about the concept of “hanger,” which is hunger + anger. The article said that when we get hungry, the level of feel-good serotonin in our brains drops, and we’re prone to fits of anger. All the more reason not to go too long without food!
Thoughts, states of mind, emotions, tiredness, illness — these are all temporary, so don’t fall into the trap of thinking the world is over every time you experience them. Remain conscious.
Have you ever let these temporary states take over your existence? What happened, and how did you find your way out of it? Please post your experiences in the Comments below.