Ways to Take Control of an Emotional Hijacking

Posted in News, Insights, Motivational, Emotional Intelligence

Your ability to understand and manage your emotions is not only empowering it will elevate your success in life. Believe it or not the ability to “Just Breathe” can save you from an emotional hijacking.


When an emotional hijacking happens

Ways to Take Control of an Emotional Hijacking, Marshall Connects

You’ve had a great start to the day – a fresh cup of coffee in hand while reliving emotions and memories of your daughter’s spectacular weekend wedding celebration.  And then your phone rings. It’s a neighbour who wants to give you an earful about the fact she couldn’t get to sleep because of the loud music and laughter that filled the night air from the backyard reception.  She has seized your emotions and set the stage for an emotional hijacking.

How to control an emotional hijacking

Stop. Breathe. Silently count to 10.

An emotional hijacking is usually triggered by a situation that overwhelms your emotions and then takes control of your behaviour.  Frequently, it’s an explosion of overpowering emotions that appear to come out of nowhere. There is an urge to impulsively react to the situation, and you may say or do something that you will regret. 

Stop. Breathe. Silently count to 10.

Counting to ten is a very effective technique for preventing and derailing an emotional hijacking. The ten count allows you to respond, rather than react. To take it a step further, counting silently to yourself while breathing is a basic mindfulness technique for enhancing your self-awareness and self-management skills.

A mindfulness breathing exercise to try

  • Sit in a comfortable position with your spine straight. Lightly close your eyelids.
  • Breathe, take a deep breath in – and hold for count of five.
  • Slowly breathe out through pursed lips – for a count of five.
  • Repeat.
  • Focus on your breath. When your thoughts wander, gently bring your attention back to your breath.
  • Allow your breathing to find a natural rhythm.
  • Observe the way your abdomen expands and contracts, and the sensation of the air as it enters and exits through your nose and mouth. 

The phone rings again.  It’s your neighbour calling back for round two.

Stop, breathe, and silently count to ten.

This strategy for managing emotions takes time to develop, but with daily practice, you will find this technique will reduce and eventually eliminate emotional hijacking. Remember to be the very best version of yourself, you always want to manage your emotions rather than have your emotions control you.


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