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Emotionally Hijacked

Emotionally Hijacked

What does a Hijacker do?

Basically a hijacker is someone that takes over a vehicle and changes the course of direction to fulfill their own objectives, often at the expense of the passengers on board. You may not realize it, but you’ve most likely experienced this before, maybe not physically, but emotionally.

It can be a very scary thing to be involved in a hijacking. You find yourself going places you don’t want to go and unsure how to stop or correct course. This is so true of what we call getting “Emotional Hijacked.”

The vehicle that gets hijacked is your brain.

There are many parts of your brain, but one in particular, the amygdala, constantly scans for life endangering threats, ready to sound the alarm and initiate the fight, flight or freeze response.

This is very helpful if you have a lion running toward you. You don’t have to think, or make decisions. Your amygdala takes over, and you instinctively seek the quickest route to safety. Fortunately we don’t have many lions chasing us today, but that old amygdala keeps looking for triggers that it perceives as threats.

Because the amygdala is in the midbrain which develops before our executive functioning forebrain, it has an override button that literally shuts down power, or electrical synapse, to the forebrain. When the amygdala hijacks the brain, we actually lose power to logic and make calculated decisions. The amygdala commands the body to release, adrenaline, hormones and other chemicals to create emotions, and before you know it, you’ve lost the ability to reason and choose your actions. THATS EMOTIONAL HIJACKING

The good news is…

This happens to everybody almost everyday. The difference is in our ability to regain control of our emotions, tell the amygdala to be quiet and get back to making logical decisions. You can actually develop mental skills to do this faster. One way is to identify what things or situations tend to trigger an emotional hijacking for you. If you can identify those situations when you are calm and able to reason, you can decrease the response to that triggering event. It’s like a muscle. It takes a lot of consistent, intentional training to develop these emotional strengths.

When you get emotionally hijacked the first step to regaining control of your brain is to put a name to the emotion you’re feeling. After you’ve named it then a number 1-100 of how much you’re feeling that emotion. If that number is around 70, you’re probably hijacked, but often by giving it a name and a number, you will decrease the intensity of that emotion significantly. Names and numbers are a logical thought process, thus turning power back over to your forebrain. This is a mindfulness practice and can be very empowering for those often gripped by anxiety, depression, isolation, fear, and anger.

There are many other steps to overcoming an emotional hijacking, but recognizing what’s happening internally and being able to identify the emotions that are taking over, you start the road back to emotional control. Check out what the professionals at Life Launch Centers have to say about successes of overcoming Emotional Hijacking.