July 31, 2020
Are Emotional Hijacks Holding You Back?

Justine Smith

Have you ever been addressed in a meeting unexpectedly? All of a sudden, it feels like the room temperature rose 10 degrees, and your upper lip is visibly sweating.

That can result in an embarrassing moment that will keep you up at night, but the scientific name is fight or flight. 

Today the response is triggered by smaller daily “threats,” like being asked to speak publicly, impromptu.

Emotional intelligence (EQ) expert and corporate coach Bill Benjamin calls this an emotional hijack and knows it is a huge impediment to cohesive teamwork. 


In modern-day society, our fight or flight response hampers us most of the time. It prevents us from connecting when it matters. What’s worse is falling victim to this natural response when you need to be calm and patient in a team setting.

So today we’re sharing three powerful ways to regain control of your brain when you’re in the hot seat.

1. Stop

Put a pause on the moment. Whether it’s taking a sip of water, stepping away for a walk, or refocusing on something else in the room. If you can disconnect from the trigger, even for a few seconds, you will be able to slow the flight or flight response in your brain.

2. Oxygen

Take a big deep breath and get as much oxygen into your body as possible. With cortisol pumping through your veins, your adrenaline will peak. When you take a mindful, deep breath, you can dilute the cortisol-injected blood flow with oxygen and minimize its effects on your body.

Person looking worried at their job

3. Seek

While you get the physical effects of fight or flight under control with the first two steps, seek information to regain control of your mind. Instead of panicking and allowing your brain to be hijacked by emotions, make a conscious effort to assess the situation logically.

Look for information that will best serve you when handling the situation. When you rely on facts, it’s hard for emotions to take control.

As simple as this system is, these three steps may help you outsmart human instinct. Next time you’re put on the spot or need to handle a difficult situation with a team member, don’t sweat it.

Remember these 3 steps and pull yourself out of an emotional hijack.


Justine Smith is a Graphic Designer for Excelerate America, the fun, smart service for businesses looking to level up. Do emotional hijacks  hold you back in your business? Try these 3 steps and let Justine know if they help by emailing her at justine.smith@excelerateamerica.com

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