Overthinking and having negative thoughts catches us all out from time to time.
Which is why I love this acronym - HALT
H- Hang on
Catch yourself and become aware of the thoughts you are having.
Brainstorm some alternative thoughts.
Pick the thought that feels the most loving in this moment.
T- Try it
Take your next action with this loving thought in mind.
For example, in the past, I often worried about why my (now ex) partner wasn’t replying to my messages and would find myself in spiralling thoughts. My co-dependency was acute!
Using HALT, it would have looked something like this:
H - Hang On
Woah I have just spent the last 30 minutes picking up my phone every second, staring at the screen and wanting to cry. (We don’t always notice it immediately) I’m thinking all sorts of thoughts about him cheating on me, not loving me anymore and that he’s going to break up with me.
A - Alternative
Okay so it could be true he doesn’t love me anymore. It could also be true that he’s at work in meetings. It could also be true that his phone fell down the side of a train. It could also be true that a seagull stole his phone thinking it was a chip.
L - Love
The most likely and loving thought right now is that he is in meetings, he did say he had a busy day and I love how dedicated he is to his work.
T- Try It
Therefore instead of messaging him yet again showing my fear, I’m going to focus on my work so that later we can both chat about our days and with a clear mind I can share my feelings.
I don’t know about you, but even writing that I feel better.
So here’s my invitation to you.
Give HALT a go next time you feel controlled by negative thoughts and see how you feel.
Looking for more tools like this? I have 5 others when I was interviewed for an article all about overthinking in relationships.