Enneagram Types Under Stress

Written By Emily Hinz
Posted on

We’re living in difficult and uncertain times, which can cause a lot of tension. Not knowing what the future holds can at times overwhelm us with fear and anxiety. And it’s a well-known fact that dealing with high stress over an extended period of time can be destructive to our mental, physical, and emotional health.

With April being Stress Awareness Month, we thought it’d be especially fitting to share ideas on managing stress amidst these unprecedented times. Take a look at some thoughts below on common stressors and how to handle them based on your Enneagram type. We’re also building a new product that helps teams better understand how to deal with stress and conflict, increase self-awareness, and improve communication among co-workers. Check out My User Guide to learn more.


Ones get stressed out by feeling out of control, caught off-guard, or being surrounded by mistakes and irresponsibility. They don’t want to be incorrect or caught up in a disorderly situation, and feeling overly criticized by others (or by themselves) can send them over the edge.

To cope: Ones should focus on finding ways to relax and relieve their inner tension. Taking mental breaks from the source of their stress can help alleviate some of the pressure they feel. They should also learn to silence their inner critic by changing their self-talk to use more positive and constructive language. Ones may feel a great sense of relief when spending time doing things that make them happy, such as getting together with family and friends, or staying active with a hobby.


Twos get overwhelmed when they feel they’ve let others down, or when they’ve frequently disregarded their own needs in order to devote all of their time and energy to helping others. Since Twos care so deeply about people, any sort of conflict between them and the people they care about most weighs heavily on them.

To cope: Twos should practice drawing healthy boundaries in their relationships with others in order to gain much needed space for personal growth. They’d greatly benefit from being intentional about recognizing their own needs and dedicating time to meeting them. This will require them to say “no” at times. Twos might also enjoy exploring their creative side through music or art to release pent-up energy.


Threes can get stressed when facing potential failure or feeling like their capability is being questioned. Hitting a major roadblock in reaching their goals can be a source of discouragement for them. Threes also feel burdened when forced to repeatedly deal with intense emotions, whether it’s their own emotions or someone else’s.

To cope: Threes should slow down and pay attention to what their emotions are trying to tell them. When they spend time with people who truly know and care about them, they’ll feel less of a need to pretend they have it all together. Inviting others into their inner circle and asking for help can increase their motivation. Threes might also find keeping a list of things they’re grateful for or taking up a new hobby just for fun can be beneficial for them.


Fours have a hard time when feeling rejected, misunderstood, or ignored. Facing conflict or being interrupted exasperates them. They often compare themselves to others and believe they come up short.

To cope: Fours should focus on finding a healthy balance with their emotions and in their relationships with others, in order to process their surroundings in a more constructive way. Remembering that their emotions don’t define them may help them maintain a level head. Fours might find that keeping up with healthy habits and routines helps ground them and pushes them forward on a positive track. Dedicating time to their favorite creative outlets, whatever they might be, can be very therapeutic for Fours.


Fives start to stress when they feel the demands of their daily lives and close relationships are sucking up their time and energy, so they’re left feeling drained. Having their boundaries crossed causes them extreme distress, so feeling misled or invaded is hard for them to handle.

To cope: Fighting their urge to isolate, and instead turning towards positive coping methods can help Fives deal with their stress. They should pay close attention to their emotions. Sharing their innermost thoughts & feelings with someone they trust can be a helpful resource when Fives are trying to process their emotions. A workout routine can also be a good way for them to burn off extra energy.


Sixes get anxious about making wrong decisions, feeling betrayed or in danger, and not knowing what the future holds. Uncertainty can cause them to fixate on their worries and fret about seemingly minuscule issues. When someone objects to a belief or value that Sixes hold dear, it can cause considerable tension.

To cope: Sixes should focus on ways to center themselves and restore their sense of inner peace. Finding time to sit quietly, reflecting on each day and processing their emotions, can make them feel more capable of dealing with their stressors. Sixes may benefit from regularly journaling their thoughts to gain a better understanding. Keeping a list of things they’re thankful for and spending time around positive people can have a notable impact on them.


Sevens get stressed when they feel trapped, ignored, or diminished. Feeling restricted by commitments, rules, processes, schedules, or relationships can leave them depleted. It’s important for Sevens to feel like they’re being taken seriously, and when they aren’t, their stress level can rise quickly.

To cope: Sevens should make an effort to stay in the moment and understand what they’re feeling. Slowing down, and reflecting on their own thoughts and feelings can help them make sense of the situation. It may require them to spend some time alone to truly process their emotions. Then seeking out a friend who grounds them and asking for their insight can help Sevens get back on track.


Eights are stressed when they feel out of control or vulnerable. Facing dishonesty or betrayal from others when they weren’t expecting it can be particularly difficult for them. Eights like to be the ones in power, so when they feel helpless and exposed, they’re likely to get frustrated.

To cope: Eights should focus on slowing down and allowing themselves time to process, then finding positive ways to move forward. Taking time to process their emotions can help them deal with their circumstances in a healthier manner. Eights benefit from sticking to a workout routine to shake off their irritations. They might also like to brainstorm fun things to do when they’re feeling down in order to get their mind off of their stressors and onto something else.


Nines get overwhelmed by conflict, and dislike feeling as though they’re disappointing the people they care about most. Intense emotions, like anger, can be difficult for them to deal with. Nines are strained when they feel neglected, or when they suppress strong emotions for a long period of time.

To cope: Nines should be intentional about taking small, positive steps forward, and ask others for help when needed. Keeping a regular sleep schedule can ensure they’re getting enough rest to be able to process their thoughts and feelings properly. Rather than using passive activities as a way to soothe and avoid their discomfort, Nines should focus on making choices that will have a good impact on their mental and physical health. Asking a friend for help in tackling something that’s been stressing them can help Nines get a jumpstart when they feel apathetic.

What do you find stresses you out the most? Does understanding your Enneagram type help you better recognize and deal with your stressors? Let us know @zaengle or @myuserguide.