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Saturday, October 29, 2011

HALT! An Acrostic for Managing a Peaceful Life

This is a little thing I use to keep things manageable! Don't let yourself get too HUNGRY, ANGRY, LONELY or too TIRED! If we can recognize these things & care for them before they cause us to do stupid things, then we are way ahead of the curve! It is helpful to teach our children how to manage themselves for a day as well.
Letting ourselves get too hungry will lead us to either overeat or binge. This is not wise! As a diabetic, when my blood sugar dips, I get really dizzy & can't make good decisions. I keep high-protein snacks like beef jerky, protein bars or yogurt available for quick fixes. Planning ahead makes this alot easier on me.

Managing our anger levels is essential for a peaceful life. First of all, not being offended by every little thing that aggravates us is key. Just because something is annoying doesn't require us to react to it in the same degree it annoys us. Ignoring and overlooking many behaviors keeps us from elevated blood pressure & other related maladies from too much stress. Many times if we choose not to react, we have victory over anger. Not everything that happens is intended for us. By reacting, we give dignity to the things that others might do to bait us and incite a reaction. Let us choose wisely what our response will be. In choosing, we are deciding whether we will be offended or whether we will live our lives with the peaceful fruit of righteousness.

Breathe deeply, hold it & exhale!! This is the one single activity we can do to manage stress. Rage is out-of-control anger & research shows that it is related to a lack of blood flow in the frontal lobe. So, with that in mind, let us give our blood a chance to do its magic in the frontal lobe of the brain!! Inhale--hold it---exhale! Close your eyes & receive the healing of the extra oxygen to your brain!

Don't permit yourself to get too lonely either! We are social creatures who live & thrive in communities. It is said 'that no man is an island.' It is a good thing to have at least 5 close friends who you could call at any time day or night. It is a fortunate person who has such friends! We need to cultivate & build this sort of 'safety net' for ourselves. The best way to do this is to BE the kind of friend to others that you would like to have. Do kind, loving things for others without any expectations in return. It is not an instant thing, but eventually you will find you have a few people who you can call 'friend'.

I remember several years ago when I first heard the term 'significant other'. I was at the doctor for an annual checkup & this was one of the questions she had for me, "Do you have a significant other?" At the time, I thought that was odd. She explained that it was essential to our health that we are valued & treasured by others. And if something were to happen, you would have support in your time of need. With families in such disarray, we need to build this loving support for ourselves. I try to treat every encounter I have with another human as I would like to be treated. Offering a kind, encouraging word costs me nothing & yet the return on such an investment is always worth it!

When you begin to feel lonely, reach out to someone either by phone, face to face, email or this new phenomenon called facebook. I have found many people who I lost contact with on facebook. When I share something there & interact with others, it is a way of lifting my loneliness.  I can call a friend & if there is no answer, leave a message saying that I was just calling to see how things are going for them. If they reply, fine, but if not, then I have done my part to reach out. It's as essential to my well being as eating or drinking & good sleep.

Getting a good nights sleep is essential to our overall health. It is impossible to cope with anything if you are sleep deprived. I recall after my firstborn arrived & being overwhelmed because of the lack of sleep for those 1st few months. My mom offered words of wisdom that stuck with me. "No one ever died from sleep deprivation", she said. I guess this is true, but it sure didn't console me at the time!

Recently I have heard the term 'sleep hygiene' which refers to your sleep habits. It is good to have a routine that tells your body, "ok, it is time to rest." Keeping your bedroom a peaceful place is helpful. De-clutter if you need to & do not bring chaos into this 'sanctuary' of sorts. 'Sleep Apnea' is a new epidemic that has silent, far-reaching effects on our health. Talk with your health care provider, if you think this might be inhibiting your sleep. There are much better treatments available than in recent decades. And not having the interrupted sleep will make you much more capable of coping during your waking hours.

So use this wisely: HALT!! Keep things manageable & you will be able to survive & eventually thrive. ***This I know!!