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When Morgan, my two year old granddaughter, is really hungry she says, "I'm HUNGRY!" You'd have to hear the growl in her voice to truly appreciate it. I have to admit, I smile every time I do. It's hard to turn her down :)

I can identify, if I am HUNGRY Belinda would say that I growl too. In fact, we joke with each other that I become a bit unreasonable if I haven't eaten. She would say it isn't a joke and question how much is "a bit." Here's the point--we need to be self aware if we are to communicate effectively and bless those around us.

A counselor would tell us that there's more to account for than simply hunger. A good acrostic is H.A.L.T. which means "Stop" in German. Stop and be self aware when you are Hungry, Angry, Lonely and Tired. Each of these realities will affect the way we think, feel, act and make decisions. We can overcome them if we are aware and operate with a good plan. But if we are unaware, it is possible that we will say or do something we regret. 

H Hungry--Low Blood Sugar can impair good decision making. The right balance of food intake is also an issue. In today's fast food world we must be concerned about our amount of sugar and carbohydrate input and whether we get enough protein. Dieting and fasting can have a dramatic effect on the tolerance we have for stress or the endurance we have for life's challenges. Fasting has it's own benefits but it requires appropriate understanding for what it does to the body.

A Angry--If we get angry adrenaline pumps and our heart rate spikes. The longer an argument continues or the stress of a meeting grows the more our ability to think with a clear head is unlikely. We have to watch the chain reaction where something goes wrong in one place and the natural response is to take it out on the first safe person you find. If you are angry the issue at hand might NOT be the root cause that is driving the irritability.

L Lonely--Who doesn't feel a bit blue when you are lonely? It is common to get down on yourself if you feel left out, unfairly overlooked or undesirable. The problem is compounded because we tend to act the way we feel and that isn't attractive to others. This environment is ripe for shame to develop and out of that funk it is difficult to think and act with confidence. Communication gets strained and we play not to lose. If you realize you are lonely take the time to refill your joy bucket before you make major decisions. This is not the time for confrontation because the amperage might be too low to rightly interpret what is happening in and around you.

T Tired--Sleep deprivation can have the same effect of clouding the senses as too many beers--or so actual driving tests have revealed. Have you ever noticed how simple things become hard when your newborn wakes up three times in the same night? Think twice before trying to do something that requires clear thinking until you can get some rest.

Be aware. Don't over think things or play defense but when you are in crucial conversations, making decisions or considering a change in behavior or environment--make those when you are at your best. You deserve it. Give yourself grace. You are human and these emotions are normal. In most cases a little TLC can be a game changer. Intentionally set yourself up to win by being at your best for those you love the most. 

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