HALT Lapse for recovery success

The HALT Lapse technique is a powerful tool to regain control of your behaviour and is a quick approach to reclaiming your thoughts and feelings when your have been triggered so you can build the lifestyle that you want. Use the technique if you want to make difficult changes in your life.

Good decision making is most likely to happen when we are feeling and operating at our best. This is when we have addressed our basic needs such as making sure we are fed but also when we are having our basic social and emotional needs met, so to keep those plans moving forward it is vital that you build social networks and support from people who really value you; also you must take responsibility for how you feel which can only be possible if you are aware of your feelings. Finally to keep positive decisions in our lives we must have the energy to recognise the range of options open to us so make sure that you get some quality rest.

Using this relapse prevention tool you will find it easier when quitting smoking, sticking to a new weight management routine, beating problematic alcohol use or drug addiction amongst lots of other lifestyle changes.

The HALT technique is an acronym of four questions you can ask yourself to prevent you from feeling negatively and so thinking negatively and ultimately behaving negatively leading to a lapse event.

To keep yourself making the best decision for you, ask your self these four questions if you feel triggered to undermine the lifestyle change that you are making.

Hungry? Am I hungry? If the answer is yes, react positively to it. Find some food. It is better to have slow release energy foods as they aid mood stabilisation but in the first instance address your hunger.

Angry? Am I angry? Ask your self how your are feeling right now. If you are feeling angry identify the most appropriate way to deal with this anger. It may be talking to someone. Challenge your negative thinking which is leading to you feeling angry. It  may be by acting differently for example apologising if you are angry about how you have behaved, or if you are feeling angry because you feel vulnerable ask for support or communicate how you are feeling. If you are alone there are many vehicles to highlight how you are feeling. You could use Facebook or other social media, use online forums related to which behaviour you are vulnerable to adopting when you are angry such as gambling or using, or you could access the Samaritans service.

Lonely?  Are you lonely? If so seek out some company. If you have no support network use online support or the Samaritans but plan to build more social contact into your life via online networks but also by joining social clubs, access a local college course or volunteer at a local service.

Tired? Are you feeling tired?without effective rest you are less able to identify all the options open to you and are more likely to adopt a familiar behaviour rather than a more desirable one. When you are making changes it is common that people have to really think about what they are doing or then can operate on "auto-pilot" and end up lapsing or returning to their negative patterns of behaviour. Appropriate rest reduces the likelihood of poor decision making.

Act on the answer instead of breaking your new way of being

It is highly likely that you will answer yes to one of the above questions so instead of drinking, gambling, smoking or eating unhealthy food address the issue that you have said yes to and the craving or urge to lapse will be gone.

If you feel hungry - eat healthy appropriate food

If your fell angry express your feelings clearly and calmly. You can just express that you feel angry right now or even explain why you feel as you do.

And if you feel tired you can rest. Even if you have insomnia you can find a space to rest like having a bath and this will help you to be in a better frame of mind to make decisions.

So whether you are trying to break the cycle of addictions such as drugs, alcohol, gambling or self harm; or you are trying to manage you emotions safely so that you are no longer struggling with anger management or emotional eating, HALT is a quick and easy way to help you manage your day to day feelings, thoughts and behaviours so that you can develop more sustainable and effective ways of doing and being to prevent lapse and relapse. HALT will help you find happiness, fulfillment and reach your full potential.

Next time you feel close to making a poor decision, HALT and see if you can make a change in your hunger, anger, loneliness and tiredness before you make a decision which could result in a lapse which may undermine your long term plans.

Start as you mean to go on by using HALT as a pre-emptive relapse prevention tool

Once the very early stages of change have been addressed it becomes easier and easier to plan for events instead of just reacting. Some triggers can come out of nowhere and some are lodged so deep in the subconscious that on reflection the cause is not identifiable but to limit the effect of these events you can use HALT as a pre-emptive tool and plan your day around making sure that these danger points are kept in check. As soon as you wake you can establish a routine to make sure that you are never....

HUNGRY, keep healthy snacks to hand and have planned meals, build into your day space to check in with yourself and offload any strains and stresses so you never feel.....

ANGRY, also express how you feel all day long, positive or otherwise and this will make you aware of how you feel and what you need to do to manage that feeling. By having a planned day you can avoid feeling....

Lonely by checking in with people who value you, either in person, by letter, by text, phone or via the internet . If you currently feel lonely and have too few friends it is time to build social networks. Join clubs, night courses, use the internet to meet people but you need to be proactive social networks need effort. Over-socialising has it's risks though as people can wear you and leave you feeling....
Tired, get rest check you daily and weekly plans to make sure there is time for you to rest. If you are struggling to sleep, you can plan appropriate sleep routines, appropriate food, plan to find time to nap, poor sleep may be a result of limited exercise to you may need to plan to be more active.


By planning your day to avoid these potential catalysts to lapse and relapse you will find your planned changes are more easily achieved.



More information on addiction treatment and hynosis

Contact Positive Hypnosis here for an appointment today. Addictive behaviours can be treated very effectively. I have a long established history working in rehabs using talking therapies and can offer hypnosis too to help you take back control. Appointments available online using Skype and face to face in Sheffield UK.


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