By Ronda Nissley, Tuesday@10:10 blog post
Ronda is co-director of Marriage Resource Center of Miami Valley
H.A.L.T. - Most people familiar with 12-step recovery programs understand this acronym well. It stands for Hungry, Angry, Lonely and Tired. H.A.L.T. is a reminder that the presence of any one of these 4 factors can derail the best of intentions and significantly reduce if not eliminate all self-control.
Lavern and I have also used H.A.L.T. in our own relationship and in mentoring other couples as a reminder to NOT try to resolve conflict when any of these factors are present - it typically does not end well.
Have you ever wondered why? Recently, I resolved to lose a few pounds through diet and exercise. By day 4, I was HUNGRY, ANGRY and TIRED and I was at risk of becoming LONELY by alienating those around me. Desperate to find a way to more effectively deal with those symptoms, I googled terms like: "diet and urge to destroy" and "losing weight without losing your friends". I discovered that the struggle was real and I was not alone. Certain research focused on the food a person eats or doesn't eat. Other research implied that simply the act of "exercising self-control" can cause irritability. Several articles referred to "serotonin" and "serotonin depletion" as a factor.
Let me explain (in basic English) what serotonin is and how I believe it could explain the brain science behind " H.A.L.T. " and be an important consideration in our relationships. Serotonin is thought to affect a variety of physiological and psychological functions in the human body and is best known for its impact on mood and its role in clinical depression. That's NOT the angle that most intrigues me. I was interested in research that looked at the role of serotonin in relationship health.
One study suggested a link between serotonin depletion and impacted moral judgment and an increase in the desire to harm others. Other research has linked serotonin to the exercise of self-control and to the regulation of inappropriate behaviors. Another study suggests that serotonin "plays a critical role in regulating emotion during social decision-making."
If the results of these studies are true, then paying attention to what depletes serotonin and what restores serotonin could be another key to unlocking the complexities of our human relationships.
Next blog posts . . .
The serotonin tank (Part 2 of 3 posts)
Serotonin-healthy relationships (Part 3 of 3 posts)
"If the results of these studies are true, then paying attention to what depletes serotonin and what restores serotonin could be another key to unlocking the complexities of our human relationships."
Images courtesy of Stuart Miles and artur84 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
A weekly post on Tuesdays at 10:10 am that addresses some topic associated with relationship and marriage health. Don't miss it!
Main author is Lavern Nissley, Executive Director of MRCMV. Guest authors will be included in posts from time to time.