I recently traveled to California to visit a friend who helps run an outdoor/environmental education camp in Julian, CA. While she could host her own comedy show about life at the camp and some of the “camper situations” she faces on a daily basis, she does take the learning part of the experience very seriously. And trust me when I say, she faces a lot of impediments to that goal ( read: cranky urbanite pre-teens who are missing Gossip Girl to learn about the importance of composting).

At Camp Stevens, when a camper conflict occurs, they use H.A.L.T. – a method for finding what’s really wrong when your “having a moment.” Believers of the H.A.L.T system claim it helps you discover the root of your mood by exploring your most basic needs: are you Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired?

I have to admit, at first I laughed this off as “lets-talk-about-our-emotions-psycho-babble.” But when you really think about it, is there anything else that truly causes us to lash out or get stressed out?

Maybe there is some food for thought as this applies to the workplace.

Suddenly jumping between projects and can’t focus? Hungry.

Being nonobligatory to client’s request because your stressed out from picking up your co-worker’s slack? Angry

You get the picture. Maybe, just maybe, if we take a moment to think about what’s causing us to react negatively in a situation, we might just be able to alter our behavior and ultimately be a more positive and productive employee. Go figure.