What do the Enneagram types do in stress?

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In this article we will discuss the question of “What does an enneagram go to in stress?”

We will closely discuss what the various enneagram types do when they are stressed and what they can do to maintain a healthy level of well-being. 

What do the Enneagram types do in stress?

Let us discuss how each enneagram type is like when they are under stress and what each type can do to cope with the stress and maintain a healthy level of well-being. 

Type 1: The Perfectionist

When they are stressed, they tend to kick into overdrive. They begin to do more and become more productive and are very motivated to solve the issue or the problem. 

However, when there is chronic stress they become almost prejudiced and are unable to accept other people’s opinions and often come out of touch with reality. 

When they are being evaluated under stress, they will become highly defensive and unable to accept that perhaps they don’t have everything under control.

To cope, type ones can do the following:

  • They will have to develop compassion and empathy for themselves and really understand that they need to become kinder to themselves and be less critical of what they cannot do. 
  • They must challenge themselves to seek support or accept help from others while also understanding that they are human and no one can be perfect. 
  • They must also allow themselves to rest. To stop, pause, and simply do nothing to be able to give themselves rest and attend to their needs. 
  • They must also be open to feedback and constructive criticisms when they are stressed because of facing roadblocks in their problems and accept that sometimes, external perspectives are important and much needed and that they cannot always be right. 
  • They should also attempt to focus on a specific part of the problem first and work with it before moving onto the larger picture. 

Type 2: The giver

When they are stressed, type twos become rather critical of others and less driven or motivated. 

They might develop some resentment of others, play the victim card, and fall into self-despair and procrastinate. 

They might also become extremely needy, seeking out reassurances and become sensitive to criticisms. 

To cope with the stress, type twos can do the following:

  • Confront one’s own feelings and thoughts rather than prioritising that of others or letting other people deal with it for you. 
  • Become more mindful over what thoughts and feelings you engage in about yourself and others. 
  • Practice self-love instead of seeking approval and love of other people and learn to set healthy boundaries while also respecting that of others. 
  • Empathy is very important, so direct that empathy towards themselves and take care of their own needs first. 
  • They also need to be assertive of their own needs and ask for them when they need it. 

Type 3: The achiever

When they are under stress, type 3 tends to become competitive in an unhealthy and toxic way. 

They become motivated and energised to do better so that they can get the approval of other people instead of seeing it as a self-improvement or self-betterment process. 

When the stress is chronic and they are not satisfied with the approval of others- which is likely- they become lazy and anxious due to low self esteem leading to mood swings and destructive tendencies.  

To cope, threes can try out the following:

  • Slow down, appreciate the moment in the present and allow themselves to rest and relax. 
  • They need to develop mindful attention within their relationships and strive to understand others more. 
  • They must also take time to see things as the experience rather than view it as a competition all the time. 
  • They also should challenge themselves to be vulnerable and allow others to see them as who they are and not what they have done. 
  • They must also choose to reflect and prioritise what is most important and do what must be done rather than do everything at once. Being able to understand what can wait can help them say no to things rather than be afraid of missing out. 

Type 4: The Individualist

When they are stressed, type 4s tend to become extremely sensitive and moody. 

They will also become lethargic, tired all the time, and be less motivated to do things. They might also ruminate on thoughts that involve hopelessness and negative thoughts involving the idea that something is “wrong” with the,

They are also more likely to engage in negative emotions and allow these emotions to dictate their thoughts and behaviours. 

Under extreme stress, they might engage in negative coping mechanisms like substance, seek out escapes, and engage in self destructive behaviours while also isolating themselves. 

To cope, fours can try the following

  • The best thing a four can do for themselves is get help to deal with these thoughts, feelings, and behaviours- preferably a coach, a therapist, or a counsellor. 
  • They must work to deal with their emotions in small steps until they gain mastery over regulating these emotions. 
  • They should strive to engage in positive affirmations based on compassion and kindness and view themselves with empathy. 
  • They could also choose to solve their problems with small actionable steps rather than striving for complete change at once. 
  • They must also be open to feedback in ways that they do not personalise or internalise this feedback and instead use it to make positive changes. 

Type 5: The Investigator

When they are under stress, type fives become extremely isolated, lose any form of awareness, and develop a tunnel vision where they obsess and hyper fixate on various issues. 

They either come disconnected by distancing themselves or by immersing themselves to projects to the point of exhaustion and collapse because they have been neglecting their physical needs. 

They might become defensive, bitter, and engage in conflicts with others while remaining extremely rigid of the opinions of other people. 

A few things that type fives can do to cope include:

  • Take care of themselves meaning that attending to their needs be it physical needs are emotional needs, 
  • They need to be able to reflect on their own emotions related to stress, their fears, and acknow,dge them for themselves. 
  • They will need to take breaks- give themselves time to relax and engage in things that allow them to have fun. 
  • Open up themselves to support provided by loved ones or seek out support with themselves.
  • Open themselves up to exploring their inner world, their thoughts, feelings, and their fears and anxieties. 
  • Open themselves up to feedback and criticism from other people and view it in a positive light. 

Type 6: The sceptic

When they are stressed, type 6 tends to become extremely suspicious of everything and everyone leading them to develop anxiety. 

They want to be alone and lose motivation to be productive while also blaming themselves or others for every little inconvenience that occurs around them.

Few things that sixes can do to cope include:

  • Becomes aware of their own power, control, and understand that the reality they create is on them and not on other people. 
  • They also need to address their anxieties by challenging their irrational thoughts and developing objectivity. 
  • They must also challenge themselves to build trust in their relationships. 

Type 7: The enthusiast

When stressed, type 7s become burned out easily and very critical over everything around them. They became highly judgemental, critical, and very confident of themselves. 

Under severe stress, they become unsure of themselves, lose objectivity, and the vision they have for themselves leading them to become unmotivated. 

They become pessimistic and lose sight of their hopes and dreams making them cynical and directionless. 

A few things that they can do to cope include:

  • Slowing down and facing their emotions instead of shutting themselves out of the discomfort. 
  • Learn to see the value in their struggles by being objective instead of personalising everything. 
  • Be alone with your thoughts instead of being engaged with friends, or activities. Reflect on your fears and your thoughts to develop a way to cope with them.

Type 8: The challenger

When they are stressed, type 8s become more controlling and almost tyrannical in their pursuit to solve the problem or gain control over what is stressing them. 

For them, they begin to disregard the feelings of other people as long as they get what they want and often take a cold approach to asserting control.

They begin to believe that they are better off alone and end up forcing themselves to work alone when under severe stress. 

To cope with stress, eighths can do the following:

  • Do nothing instead of going into overdrive to assert control, challenge themselves to do nothing, take a step back, relax before trying to make a plan to solve the problem. 
  • Be kinder to themselves instead of telling themselves to suck it up, rather choose an approach that allows them to be empathetic towards themselves in their struggle. 
  • Regulate their emotions better so that it does not spill over and hurt themselves and other people. 
  • Learn to become vulnerable and be taken care of by people who truly support and love them.
  • Take a step back, let others take care of the situation while you take a step back to attend to your emotions. 

Type 9: The peacemaker

When stressed, type nines become unmotivated and feel hopeless about their situations and their efforts. 

You become critical of themselves and give up on trying to improve themselves while also becoming emotionally burned out and experiencing empathy fatigue. 

They might also become passive aggressive in the relationship and embittered. 

A few things that nines can do to cope:

  • Pay attention and attend to their own needs first. Thai involves acknowledging their own needs to themselves and reflecting on what they truly want. 
  • They must assert themselves and their own needs, express it to other people, and strive to meet their own needs first. 
  • They must understand that conflict is also important and view it as a positive way to learn and develop more meaningful relationships. 
  • They must also allow themselves to change the way that things are normally done and open themselves up to changes especially in the way they deal with stress. 

What is an Enneagram?

The Enneagram is a categorization system of personality types. This system is based on how individuals interpret the world and manage their emotions, as well as how they behave as a response. 

The Enneagram, describes 9 different enneagram of personality types and these types are plotted on a map or diagram that illustrates how each personality type interacts and responds to each other. 

The exact origin of the Enneagram is unknown but it is assumed to have roots in ancient Babylon and also has traces of it in Greek philosophy 2500 years ago. 

This particular model of personality has been attributed to the Jewish Kabbalah, Christian mysticism and a mystical form of Islam, Sufism. However, the modern Enneagram system is the work of contemporary authors. Georg Ivanovich Gurdjieff who introduced the model in the 1930s as a spiritual symbol. 

According to the Enneagram, these types are defined by a core belief about how their world works and it is these beliefs that influence their world view, their motivation, and their perspectives about themselves, the world, and other people. 

These core beliefs are personal and individual to each type and while it can help us understand how each type reacts and responds to the world, it can also be limiting.

No one number or type is better than another as it is a horizontal system in spite of numbers being used and each individual may relate to more than one type and resonate with different traits depending on their station and experiences of life and overall levels of health.


In this article we have discussed the question of “What does an enneagram go to in stress?”

We have closely discussed what the various enneagram types do when they are stressed and what they can do to maintain a healthy level of well-being. 


Hall. S.B.Most Common Stress Responses of Each Enneagram Type and How to Manage Them. Truity. 11 JULY 2021. Retired on 20th January 2022. https://www.truity.com/blog/most-common-stress-responses-each-enneagram-type-and-how-manage-them

Owens.M. Enneagram Type 1: The Perfectionist. Truity. Retrieved on 20th January 2022. https://www.truity.com/enneagram/personality-type-1-perfectionist

Owens.M. Enneagram Type 2: The Giver. Truity. Retrieved on 20th January 2022. https://www.truity.com/enneagram/personality-type-2-giver

Owens.M. Enneagram Type 3: The Achiever. Truity. Retrieved on 20th January 2022. https://www.truity.com/enneagram/personality-type-3-achiever

Owens.M. Enneagram Type 4: The Individualist. Truity. Retrieved on 20th January 2022. https://www.truity.com/enneagram/personality-type-4-individualist

Owens.M. Enneagram Type 5: The Investigator. Truity. Retrieved on 20th January 2022. https://www.truity.com/enneagram/personality-type-5-investigator

Owens.M. Enneagram Type 6: The Sceptic. Truity. Retrieved on 20th January 2022. https://www.truity.com/enneagram/personality-type-6-skeptic

Owens.M. Enneagram Type 7: The Enthusiast. Truity. Retrieved on 20th January 2022. https://www.truity.com/enneagram/personality-type-7-enthusiast

Owens.M. Enneagram Type 8: The Challenger. Truity. Retrieved on 20th January 2022. https://www.truity.com/enneagram/personality-type-8-challenger

Owens.M. Enneagram Type 9: The Peacemaker. Truity. Retrieved on 20th January 2022. https://www.truity.com/enneagram/personality-type-9-peacemaker

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