Choose your feelings wisely

Do you ever feel like you are sometimes hijacked by your emotions? I certainly do.  There is a psychological term for this – emotional hijacking. It occurs when a person’s rational thoughts and actions become overpowered by his/her emotions. Sometimes I find myself being taken over by an extreme emotional outburst or an emotional explosion caused by an incident that has triggered an angry or fearful response in me.

And now for the science bit… 

Science has taught us that such emotional explosions are neural hijackings. A centre in the limbic system of the brain, the amygadala (the seat of all emotions in the brain)takes over the neocortex (the part of the brain responsible for our thinking). During this moment the neocortex stops functioning. The amygdala gets triggered and in an instant takes control of the brain, in a sense hijacking it. Thus, it is called emotional hijacking.

While it can feel like the outburst occurs out of nowhere, this is usually not the case.  You may be stressed out, or angry about something that might have occurred before. So it makes sense to try to take measures to prevent the hijacking happening in the first place. I am learning to work on this by practising mindfulness, but it is a slow process. I have lived so long reacting emotionally to life, that I have needed to relearn that we are all capable at any time of changing those overwhelming emotions if we wish.

Always, at the heart of our being, we are in control. The emotions we experience are the emotions we create, but we are not what we feel.  Listen to what your feelings have to say, and then if they don’t serve you well, choose to let go of them. Remember your feelings are your choice. Choose your feelings wisely.

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