When I was maybe 7 or 8, something got me upset. In a household of nine, it could have been any number of possibilities: an older sister ate my potato chips or an older brother didn't ask to borrow my toy or my only younger sibling looked at me the wrong way. I don't remember why I was so upset; I do recall how I calmed down. Or rather, how I was forced to calm down.

My oldest brother, Tony, probably tired of the noise and spectacle of my tantrum, decided to help me. Holding me in a tight hug, he instructed me that he would not let go until I counted to ten.

It took a few attempts, but eventually it worked: he quite literally hugged the anger out of me.

In my training, I learned about the acronym H.A.L.T. which stands for Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired. The idea is that when you are experiencing one or more of these emotions, STOP. Don't lash out. Don't post. Don't send that email. Don't speak! Find out where the feelings are coming from and put some distance between them and your mind.

Author and entrepreneur, Amina Altai, developed this graphic to show how anger is just the tip of the iceberg. Beneath anger are a range of emotions that might help to understand what is really going on when you feel like a 7-year-old in need of a hug.


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