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Are you feeling disturbed or out of sorts? H.A.L.T.

distraught young man with head down at desk

Are you feeling disturbed or out of sorts? Here’s a quick tip: stop, take a breath and remember the acronym HALT which stands for Hungry, Angry, Lonely, and Tired. When one of these 4 things is presenting symptoms, addressing them quickly can help to restore balance to your emotions and overall wellbeing.


When you get hungry you can experience agitation, moods swings, difficulty concentrating and making decisions, headaches and lethargy. Hunger can be both physical and emotional. It is important to fuel your body with healthy meals and snacks that help regulate your blood sugar and provide all day energy. Emotionally you can hunger for the feeling of being connected to others: attention, affection, comfort, understanding and companionship. Building a healthy support network can feed this hunger.


Feeling angry is a normal, healthy emotion, but learning how to express it constructively is important. Often anger is triggered by hurt, embarrassment, resentment, powerlessness and fear. Being aware of what is causing your anger better helps you address the root cause. To cope with anger try grounding and breathing exercises, physical exercise, cleaning, writing, creative art projects or any way you choose to soothe the tension in your body.


It is important to remember that everyone experiences loneliness at one time or another. It often occurs when you physically or emotionally isolate yourself from others. This is dangerous because it can lead to depression or unhealthy life choices. Go for a walk, call a friend, run some errands, go sit in a coffee shop or volunteer. Remember we all get busy, but your support system wants to be there for you.


Tiredness most commonly is due to lack of quality sleep. Jam-packed days and being overwhelmed can also lead to physical and emotional tiredness. This can compromise your ability to cope and take a toll on your mind, body, and spirit. Experts recommend 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night, building a healthy sleep routine, and monitoring caffeine and sugar intake after 5pm. Remember to take breaks throughout your day, go for a walk, do breathing exercises, cut down your schedule and take vacations. Author: Tom McCall, LCSW-S, LCDC