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  • Writer's pictureRachal Jones

๐•Š๐•™๐•’๐•ก๐•– ๐• ๐•— ๐•’ ๐•ค๐•ก๐•š๐•œ๐•ช ๐•“๐•’๐•๐•!

Echidnas are an almost mystical creature, and when they feel threatened, they have a unique response. When a predator strikes, the echidna only has a couple of options: their speed dictates that outrunning the threat is impractical, so their best chance is to retreat into a ball with all of their spikes wrapped to protect their more sensitive areas or dig their way out of trouble.

Do you ever observe someone in the workplace when they perceive a threat, curl into that same ball with their spikes showing? Receiving challenging feedback, conflict with a co-worker, or missing out on an opportunity or resources can trigger us. Even though our threats in the workplace come in a very different form, the flight or fight response is a challenge to recognize and manage for many people.

Engaging executive functioning skills through curiosity, questioning, and rational thinking along with physical management of our response through breathing and awareness can help to minimize the unhelpful defensive response.

Fortunately for humans, we have a full range of skills that are far better responses.

Notice what you are perceiving as a threat and tap into your emotional regulation skills so that you consciously choose a helpful response and avoid the spiky ball effect. If someone on your team is prone to this, recognize when they are in spiky ball mode and understand in that defensive response they are โ€˜tucked awayโ€ and less able to process and regulate their response. Time and the reduction of perceived threat will help to unravel the ball so rational processing can restart.

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