HALT-BS

Before you get too....

Hungry

A consequence of skipping meals is intense feelings of hunger. This can make you feel anxious, lightheaded, dizzy or nauseous, grouchy, and it can also result in overeating at future meals which leads to weight gain in the long run. The most frequently skipped meal is breakfast.

Other consequences of meal skipping:

  • Poor performance. Meal skippers don't perform as well. They accomplish less work, are physically less steady, and are slower at making decisions.
  • Brain drain. The brain's exclusive fuel, glucose, is compromised within four to six hours if you have not eaten.
  • Calorie loading. Calorie loading easily occurs if you eat just one meal a day (typically dinner). Eating just one large meal tends to overwhelm your body with calories that it does not need at that moment.

Carry healthy snacks with you such as fruit, nuts, or cheese sticks. If you feel your energy dropping or you are losing focus, have a snack!

Angry

Anger is a normal & often helpful emotional response. Learning to express anger in healthy ways and not letting it build up is important. Emotional stress and anger trigger the release of stress hormone cortisol in the body. Small releases of cortisol can give the body a quick burst of energy. 

However, higher and more prolonged increases can cause a host of negative effects: 

  • Blood sugar imbalances
  • Decreased bone density
  • Suppressed immune response & increase susceptibility to chronic inflammation
  • Suppressed thyroid function thus slowing down the body's metabolism
  • Impairment of the brain's thinking ability
  • Increase in blood pressure.

Need ideas on how to shift your anger? Use physical activity to increase mental clarity and decrease emotional intensity. Don't let resentments pile up, try talking it through with a trusted friend.

Lonely

A lack of close friends generally causes the emotional discomfort or distress known as loneliness. Friendship is a lot like food. We need it to survive. The upshot is, we function best when this social need is met. It is easier to stay motivated, to meet the varied challenges of life.

Evidence has been growing that when our need for social relationships is not met, we fall apart mentally and even physically. There are effects on the brain and on the body. Some effects work subtly, through the exposure of multiple body systems to excess amounts of stress hormones. Yet the effects are distinct enough to be measured over time, so that unmet social needs take a serious toll on health, eroding our arteries, creating high blood pressure, and even undermining learning and memory.

Get involved in campus and community activities. Find a place to volunteer your time - this helps you shift focus from internal to external and provides meaningful connections to others.

Tired

The need for sleep varies considerably between individuals. The average sleep length is between 7 and 8.5 hours per day.  

Sleep deprivation can cause:

  • forgetfulness
  • exhaustion
  • fatigue
  • decreased ability to focus
  • weight gain

Reducing your nighttime sleep by as little as 90 minutes for just one night could result in a decrease of daytime alertness by as much as 32%. Lack of sleep and daytime sleepiness impairs memory and affects the brain's ability to solve problems. Driving a car while sleep deprived is just as bad as driving a car while under the influence of alcohol.

Establish a regular bed time and use the same nighttime routine to get your body trained to go to sleep easier. Residence halls can sometimes be noisy, so consider using a white noise machine or installing an app on your smartphone. 

Bored

Boredom comes as a result of a lack of engagement. You can't learn something new if you aren't engaged in the process.

Recent research has shown that boredom increases your risk of:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Drug/alcohol addiction
  • Anger and aggressive behavior
  • Lack of interpersonal skills
  • Poor academic and work performance

Socialize, learn something new, physical exercise, do something different and new. Take a different route to class, make time to check out postings about upcoming events. Visit studentactivities.unca.edu to learn more about how you can get involved on campus.

Scared

Fear is a moment of panic or anxiety which can be justified or unjustified. You may experience fear when you are required to speak in front of class or walking down the block at night. During moments of fear your body goes into "fight, flight, or freeze" response. This is a normal instinct that's designed to help you survive when you are threatened. Sometimes our body responds with fear when there is no real danger, throwing us into a panic. This increases adrenaline flow, headaches, diarrhea, sweating, rapid heartbeat and shortness of breath. 

If you're scared and don't know how to shift the energy, try verbalizing the fear to someone you trust. Saying it out loud reduces the "power" of the fear. Take little steps outside your comfort zone and celebrate success.