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Dec 8, 2016

When we feel threatened or in danger, an old part of our brains, the one that regulates emotions, hijacks our executive functioning. We say and do things we regret. In the workplace, this can have serious consequences. This month’s Executive Coaching Tip has seven strategies for stopping yourself from getting hijacked.

The seven lessons in my conversation with my client, Kimberly, are:

  • Emotional hijacks are real. They happen when your emotions take control over your reason;
  • Emotional hijacks happen because of a trigger. Triggers activate your emotional flight/fight/freeze response. We all have triggers;
  • Your triggers follow a pattern. track them over time and the pattern will emerge. Often those who witness our hijackings know our triggers before we do;
  • The first step to mastering your triggers is to be able to name them. By way of example, two of Kimberly’s were feeling left out and being ignored. Two of mine were feeling ineffectual and fearing a bad outcome. Triggers are personal and are different for each person;
  • Emotional hijacks are usually preceded by a feeling somewhere in the body, most often somewhere in your core;
  • Learning to recognize the pre-hijack feeling in your body as a warning bell can help stop – or at least slow down – the emotional hijacking;
  • When you’re struggling to keep your executive functioning online, you can speak about your struggle. “I’m really upset at the moment.” Or, as Kimberly suggested, “I’m not sure I can make good decisions right now.” Speaking about the feeling helps make sure you don’t act from the feeling.

If you want to work on combatting your emotional hijacks. other episodes you can listen to are:

The entire archive is available to you for free at: