3 Helpful Acronyms to Give You Clarity

Great acronyms remind us to check in with ourselves. These are the acronyms I turn to maintain clarity, remain present and manage reactions.

Halt, Stop, & Wait

Twelve step programs use a great acronym that reminds one to check in when one feels like turning to the addictive behavior. It’s called H.A.L.T. “Am I hungry, angry, lonely, or tired right now?” It makes you stop in the middle of letting your emotions run high and think about how you are feeling and reacting to a situation.

  • H: Hungry. Check in to be sure your body’s nutritional needs are met. I know this is critical for me. If I am not fed on a regular basis, I regularly become “Hangry.” I am not at my best when this happens. More bluntly, it’s ugly.
  • A: Angry. Anger is a normal emotion. It’s just important to understand where it is coming from so you can have an appropriate way of expressing it.
  • L: Lonely. When I feel lonely and begin to think that no one understands what I’m going through, I talk to a friend. Loneliness can be a deep spiral unless you reach out.
  • T: Tired. Being tired impacts both your body and your brain negatively. It impacts your ability to send and read physical cues as well as having a buzzed brain where you are not thinking logically.

One of my clients told me that when she gets nervous she begins to talk fast and take up the space in a conversation. She found that using the acronym W.A.I.T. helps her to stop, get present, and think about the impact she is having on those around her.

  • W. Why
  • A. Am
  • I. I
  • T. Talking

When she remembers to stop and W.A.I.T. she finds the grounding she needs to slow down and think about her contribution in the conversation. She finds this useful too when in a meeting to confirm whether her next contributions was said with the right intention.

Speaking of stop, S.T.O.P. is the other acronym that helps me find clarity. This one I use in my mindfulness practice. I remember this acronym throughout my day and it increases my awareness of both what is happening outside me and inside me.

  • S: Stop. Whatever you’re doing wherever you are, remember to pause for a moment.
  • T: Take a breath. Re-connect with your breath and take a deep inhale and a deep exhale. This will bring you to the present moment.
  • O: Observe. Notice what is happening inside you and outside of you. Notice what you are thinking. Notice what you are feeling.
  • P: Proceed. Start again doing what you were doing or consciously decide not to do what you were doing and change course. Mindfully.

What acronyms do you find helpful for you?

Written by Pat Obuchowski

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