Consumption is an unavoidable reality. We consume- food to stay alive; movies, books, and other media to keep us entertained; other humans for procreation and friendship; substances like alcohol, marijuana, caffeine, etc., for intoxication.
Our society is full of consuming. Some of it is good for us- it helps us live long, accumulate knowledge, and bring us joy. Still, they often are a double-edged sword as all good things go.
Consume too much food, and you become obese; too much media and you indulge in escapism; too much substance and you become an addict. These are the pitfalls of consumption, an evolutionary flaw perhaps, or a challenge to help us grow.
Our mind does crave unhealthily, but we can overcome these obstacles in our life too. We are equipped with a specific tool from our births: self-awareness.
Through this tool of self-awareness, researchers of the mind and the psyche have come up with more mind tools to help us experience growth. One such tool is called the HALT.
It is an acronym for Hunger Anger Lonely Tired.
It is a tool used to treat patients with addiction. When we find ourselves desiring something that we know is bad for us, we can use this tool to assess our situation with more clarity.
HALT helps us understand the emotion underlying our cravings: Why do you crave something? Is it because you’re Hungry? Is it because you are Angry? Is it because you’re Lonely? Is it because you are Tired?
When we stop to ask ourselves these questions, our intentions become clear. Our irrational craving now has a rational motive behind it.
When we HALT and find the thing we are missing, we can fill it in.
1. Hungry- Eat healthy food to satiate yourself. Call a friend to satiate the hunger of the mind.
2. Angry - Find out why you’re mad, communicate with yourself, is it because you were wronged? Is it because someone you loved was wronged? What would you gain through this outlet of anger? When you ask yourself these questions, you open your mind to calming down.
3. Tired- If you are tired, the solution becomes simpler: rest. Not only does rest have unique benefits, but when you rest for an adequate amount of time, you can also move forward at twice the speed you did before.
4. Lonely- Loneliness is a tricky one. We feel lonely even if we’re surrounded by people, by friends or by family. How does one stop feeling lonely? It is by accepting. We live in denial of our situations, of our surroundings, thus creating a barrier between us and the world. Through tremendous hard work and patience, can we let go of loneliness.
Oh Athletes, addiction isn’t easy, but we are conquerors of the body and the spirit. Betterment is the goal we strive towards.
Through it, we gain happiness; when betterment becomes a daunting task, we should ask ourselves difficult questions, even the ones that cause extreme personal pain and discomfort, and still have the courage to act on it.
HALT and ask yourself, why do I consume? For what purpose have I decided to engage in destructive behaviour, and you will be the better for it.