As an artist, I have learned that my mental state can dramatically impact my ability to express my faith creatively, eloquently, and effectively. Zig Ziglar once said, “Positive thinking will let you do everything better than negative thinking will,” and he was right; there is plenty of research that supports his claim. In fact, medical and psychological research conducted in the last ten years successfully links state of mind to personal effectiveness and success. I myself have found this to be true; when my state of mind is healthy, I am more able to face and overcome difficult creative ruts, numerous rejection letters, and frustrating submission guidelines. Thankfully, I discovered a method that helps me maintain a healthy mental position.
The HALT method suggests pausing long enough to assess if I am Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired. Any of these conditions can immediately put my mental state on a downward slope. Originally used in recovery programs, HALT is also helpful to me as an artist. When in Halt, I may find myself becoming anxious, quick-tempered, narrow-minded, or lacking in creative vision, none of which are helpful for arranging music, writing inspirational stories, or creating compelling mixed media collages.
When in HALT, it is critical that I take a moment to assess and tend to my personal needs. If I am hungry, I make time for a meal or quick snack. If I am angry, I take a few extra minutes to detach from my stressful situation; I breathe, relax, stretch my limbs, count to ten, pray, and emotionally regroup. If I am tired, I withdraw for a nap and some quiet time in an effort to recharge my battery. If I am lonely and feeling secluded, I lift my spirits by visiting a neighbor or friend.
My ability to successfully use art as an expression of my faith depends on my ability to maintain a positive mental outlook. The HALT method allows me to assess and address my critical needs. When I do, I am more effective in rising above daily artistic challenges. This allows me to keep my mind free to soar to new levels and do what I love to do most – create!