Here’s How Stress Looks Like for Each Enneagram Type and Ways to Manage It

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Here’s How Stress Looks Like for Each Enneagram Type and Ways to Manage It

Here in Singapore, a whopping 92 percent of the working Singaporeans reported feeling stressed according to the 2019 Cigna 360 Well-Being Survey which is significantly higher than the global average of 84 percent. Source

Stress has different faces, let’s discuss how each Enneagram type looks like when they’re feeling stressed out and how to effectively manage stress:

Type 1 (The Perfectionist)

When stressed, you start feeling overwhelmed and overly critical of others who you sense are being lazy or taking advantage of you. You tend to become more emotional and fixated on an “escape” from your troubles. You may start being resentful towards the people who count on you.

Ways to combat stress:

  • Allocate a huge chunk of your time just to relax
  • Spend time with your fun-loving friends or family


Type 2 (The Helper)

You are known for being kind and generous but when you’re stressed you can be harsh and direct towards people which may surprise them. The need to accomplish goals and this feeling of pressure can lead to burnout and a sense of rage towards people who you feel have taken you for granted.

Ways to combat stress:

  • Learn how to say “no” and set healthy boundaries
  • Treat yourself – take yourself on a date, explore new places


Type 3 (The Achiever)

In times of stress, you can become overly fixated on how you appear and overly attached to your accomplishments. The usual goal-oriented and competent person may start slowing down and feel unmotivated.

Ways to combat stress:

  • Practice mindfulness and get in touch with your authentic feelings, needs and desires
  • Spend time with people who knows you in and out, the people who you don’t need to impress


Type 4 (The Individualist)

As someone who’s deeply connected with their emotions, you may find yourself in a melancholic state when stressed. You may also begin forming new friendships or start volunteering to fill the dark void. In hindsight, this is good way to combat stress if you are not doing it for the wrong reasons.

Ways to combat stress:

  • Be with nature; go for a hike or travel
  • Express your emotions by writing about it or through another form of art


Type 5 (The Investigator)

As your default, you are very private and reserved. When you’re in a plague of conflict and stress you isolate yourself and become more emotionally detached. When this coping mechanism fails to help you then you might suddenly throw yourself into activities that stimulate your senses.

Ways to combat stress:

  • Get in touch with your feelings and reach out to someone you trust
  • Create a workout routine and stick to it


Type 6 (the Loyalist)

As a Type 6, you are prone to anxiety attacks and tend to overreact under stress. This stress causes you to be more workaholic. You may become overly needy as a way to deal with your insecurity and anxiety.

Ways to combat stress:

  • Practice gratitude. List things that you’re thankful for each day
  • Meditate or talk to a professional


Type 7 (The Enthusiast)

A stressed Type 7 will be in a manic state, distracting oneself by engaging in several activities that are stimulating. You may find yourself being overly critical. You may build up anger and become nit-picky.

Ways to combat stress:

  • Find joy in ordinary, peaceful moments, and take time to slow down
  • Schedule alone time away from external stimulation


Type 8 (The Challenger)

A Type 8 under stress will become excessive in different ways – overeating, excessive exercise, workaholic, etc. You might be over controlling and be aggressive with your opinions. You may also turn your aggression inwards and be withdrawn.

Ways to combat stress:

  • Do cardio and other physically demanding activities
  • Give yourself space to process and validate your emotions


Type 9 (The Peacemaker)

The calm and optimistic Type 9 will be anxious and overwhelmed during a stressful period. You numb yourself or re-frame to avoid dealing with inner conflict. Externally, you become obsessed with accomplishing things and creating social security. You also tend to become more reactive and passive-aggressive towards other people.

Ways to combat stress:

  • Go on a retreat or make time for quiet reflection
  • Get a plant or a pet and spend quality time taking care of it


Curious about your Enneagram Type? Gain self-awareness and build stronger relationships by signing up to our course here.

Cindy Leong
Cindy Leong
Cindy Leong is a sought after bilingual (English and Mandarin) Enneagram Personality Coach and Corporate Trainer in Asia, who can help you make sense of your professional and personal relationships. She is a member of International Coach Federation (ICF) and Singapore Psychological Society (SPS). Besides a Bachelor Degree in Psychology (majoring in Communications), she also has a Diploma in Business and has done in-depth research and studies in the areas of Organisational Behaviour and Gender Communications, both in Singapore and Taiwan. Through her expertise in corporate executive coaching, personal development, and relationship coaching, she has helped many professionals in their walk through challenging times, particularly in the areas of identity searching, relationship building and career breakthrough. Aside from being a published author of 2 books, she has also been invited by several radio stations and magazines as an expert guest speaker to provide insights into Enneagram, workplace conflicts and relationships.
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