Have your emotions been hijacked? An emotional hijack can occur when we least expect it, but there are biblical ways to counteract it.
“One of the classic signs of hijacking is a sudden intense emotion there causes us to act impulsively. Typically, we say something, sometimes we do something, and we very quickly regret it.”
“A great example in the Bible is Peter denying Christ. He had promised he would never abandon Jesus, and yet when he got confronted that he might be with Jesus, 3 times he said ‘I don’t even know him.’ The Bible says he walked outside and within moments was weeping in grief.”
Peter was faced with intense emotional stress and instead of responding rationally, he responded out of fear and sinful behavior.
“His mind was not working the way God designed it.”
Like Peter, all of us can fall victim to the same irrational responses as a result of emotional hijacking. Ken says we can counteract further damage by remembering the READ acronym:
The first step is to recognize and allow yourself to feel the intense emotions that are welling up. It is important to be able to identify and label the emotions you are experiencing.
Once you have identified which emotions you are experiencing, ask yourself why you are feeling those emotions.
Ken shares a hypothetical thought process for evaluating emotions,
“‘I’m feeling angry, but why am I feeling angry? My boss just gave another person credit for a project that was really my idea and that’s not fair. I may not get the raise. I may not get the promotion. I may not have people respect me the way that I want, etc.'”
The third step involves anticipating responses and consequences.
“Anticipating what happens if I make a big scene and in a staff meeting – that would be very counterproductive.”
This step involves understanding that often when your emotions have been hijacked you will respond irrationally. By anticipating the irrational response you give yourself space to consider the consequences.
The final step determines how you will respond.
“How do I actually channel this emotion constructively? Number one, at the moment while my emotions are intense I keep my mouth shut.”
Sometimes each of us need to put ourselves in a time-out. This will allow time for your brain to process your emotions, before they become subject to emotional hijacking.
“If you’ve got a problem thinking things through, take a bottle of water or a cup of coffee into a meeting and make it make a decision you will not open your mouth until you’ve taken a sip of water. Just buying those 6 seconds to give your brain time to engage and slow you down.”
In those moments of intense emotional stress it is essential that you slow down our thinking and our responses to lessen the likelihood of your emotions being hijacked.