Surviving the Emotional Hijack


Surviving the Emotional Hijack

Everyone carries emotional baggage from their past, including negative experiences that pull us down. We get triggered by random behaviours of people for no reason and then wonder what caused the emotional outbursts. 

Can you remember one or more of such instances in the past week? For example:

  • While working from home, if your partner or child enters your personal space during an important meeting, you suddenly get defensive or aggressive. Later you regret your behaviour. 
  • While driving a car, someone crosses you with speed, and you become angry and shout. 

In the moment of intense emotions, your behaviour is hijacked, and you become someone else entirely. Instead of resisting such behaviours and getting rid of them, one way to deal with them is to be aware of our emotional responses. 

In the book “EQ Applied”, author Jason Baliso recommends that we should plan for our emotional outbursts. By reflecting on specific instances, we can identify the triggers that cause emotional hijack and then practice self-restraint and disciplined routines to avoid short-term and long-term consequences. 

For example:

  • If we know that we get triggered when someone enters our room during a meeting, we should prepare for the worst case and tell our partner or kids to come later. 
  • In case someone drives badly, instead of uproar, we can ask questions like, “How will my shouting help in solving the problem?” or “What will I say to myself in 1 week’s time for this bad behaviour?”

We must remember that having negative emotions is inevitable, and our emotions are a compass pointing toward our happiness. 

Surviving the emotional hijack is a skill that we can master because all it takes is determination, discipline and the ability to look at the bigger picture. 

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