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I bet you have and never even knew it!  

The amygdala hijack is a termed coined by Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence. The amygdala is the “emotional sentinal” of the brain. When faced with a sudden overwhelm of emotion, we experience a chemical flood, often triggering our fight or flight response. Once this flood has happened many people have lost all reason.  

What kinds of things trigger an amydala hijack? Any number of things! Fear is probably the number one cause. It could be fear of public speaking, fear of meeting new people, fear of losing someone. Sometimes the fear is rooted in past experience. Say someone in your past wronged you. Today something happened that emotionally reminded you of your past experience, and your emotions hijack you. The person on the receiving end doesn’t even know what just happened!

We can head these hijackers off at the pass by first being aware of the emotional triggers. As we increase our self awareness, we gain control over our of control emotions. A couple of deep cleansing breaths and some new thoughts can prevent escalation.  

Maybe mom’s advice to “count to ten” was useful after all!


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