Several years ago, I was working as a therapist in a day treatment facility for substance abusers. HALT was one of the relapse strategies that was taught. HALT is an acronym for the four words hungry, angry, lonely, and tired. When a person struggling with an addiction is in recovery and becomes hungry, angry, lonely, or tired, he or she is more likely to relapse back into the addiction. However, being aware of this and setting up a plan to avoid becoming overly hungry, angry, lonely, or tired, can reduce the risk of relapse. It is about risk management.
The same is true when it comes to our emotions.
Are you a hot head? Do you often lose your temper? Are you prone to depression? Do you have a history of lashing out at yourself or others when you become upset? Have your emotional reactions caused you regret?
Marsha Linehan, founder of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, created strategies for reducing painful emotions. One of her strategies is to reduce vulnerability to extreme emotional mind. (It is your extreme emotional mind that often gets you into trouble.) Similar to HALT, that is typically used with substance abusers, the acronym PLEASE MASTERY can be used to reduce the risk of emotional blow out.
Take a look below.
Treat PhysicaL illness: Make and keep doctor’s appointments
Balanced Eating: Yes, it will make you feel better.
No mood-Altering drugs: A drugged mind has a difficult time being a wise mind.
Balanced Sleep: When you are tired you are more likely to explode.
Exercise: This is anger management and an excellent antidepressant all rolled up into one. If you are not consistently getting active, you have no idea what you are missing.
MASTERY: What can you master? Accomplishing a goal, no matter how small, does wonders for the mood.
*I would like to add prayer, meditation, and healthy communication to Linehan’s PLEASE MASTERY.
Do your part, without relying on a pill alone.
Do your part, no matter how difficult, to reduce your vulnerability to your extreme emotional mind. There are many people who do not keep doctor’s appointments, eat junk food all day long, stay up half the night watching tv, and get little to no exercise, and expect a small pill or pills to fix them. It just doesn’t work this way. You must do the work it takes to feel better. Depression can zap your energy and your motivation, making it extremely difficult to do anything. This is when you will really have to push yourself to do what you know is in your best interest rather than what you feel like doing.
Some conditions may require medication management, but no conditions require medication alone. Please consult your doctor. This article is written for your information only and is not medical advice.
- Emotional Regulation: Getting Your Emotions Out of the Driver’s Seat (letlifeinpractices.com)
- Understanding Addiction Relapse (everydayhealth.com)
- Are You Really Angry (And How is That Working for You)? (psychologytoday.com)
- DBT fits well in addiction treatment (addictionts.com)