If you’ve been following along in this series (first post HERE), I’ve been really into reading about the ENNEAGRAM lately. This has brought about a desire to use the knowledge I’ve gained about my type to help me get through all the ways this crazy world we’re living in is bringing about anxiety/stress. What I’ve found has been wildly helpful!
Again, if you’re totally new to the enneagram, I would encourage you to check out some of the great resources available online about the types and how to type yourself. I’d also recommend checking out Beatrice Chestnut’s book The Complete Enneagram, as well as The Honest Enneagram by Sarajane Case (who also has an instagram account and a podcast).
If you too have been obsessing about all things enneagram as of late, consider identifying some of the downfalls inherent in your type and then adopting a few positive life-practices to help you combat them.
To help, I’ve listed some examples below based on my readings of each type. I’m not saying these are the ones you should go with — they’re just a jumping-off point. They might not ring true for you and where you’re at or how you show up as an individual type. They are simply meant to inspire you to find a few of your OWN practices!
Today let’s talk about TYPES SEVEN, EIGHT, & NINE —
Enneagram Type Seven:
Positive Practice #1 – As different impulses and desires pop into your head, write them in a journal.
Get in the habit of recognizing your impulses by taking the time to jot them down in a journal. Instead of acting immediately upon each of your desires, this will give you the chance to reflect and evaluate whether it is something that will truly bring you happiness. Learning which impulses are worth acting on will take time, but the fun thing about having a written record of them is that you’ll be able to notice trends. Are you more likely to crave a certain thing when you’re upset? Are you procrastinating? Finding these trends can help you sort out what’s really good for you and what’s a distraction.
Positive Practice #2 – Reserve some time each week to “single task” or to do something you enjoy without external stimulation.
Sevens can sometimes mask their anxieties by surrounding themselves with people. If no people are available, they might pop on the television or turn the music way up. But welcoming some silence, or at least some alone time, will help a seven to trust themselves and their feelings. To make this easier, schedule something that you truly love doing so you won’t mind doing it by yourself. And if possible, leave the TV set off and the headphones at home.
Positive Practice #3 – Set long-term visions and then work backwards to turn them into a plan.
A seven may go after a goal full speed ahead without thinking about the long-term consequences. To mitigate against possible disappointments or unhappiness, sevens may need to take a different approach when it comes to goal setting. You’re very good at going after things and getting what you want — and that’s a good thing! But what you achieved may not be what you want forever. So when goal-setting, cast a vision for your future. What do you want your life to look like in five, ten, twenty years — we’re talking the whole picture here. Now work in reverse to develop the plan that will help you achieve that vision.
Enneagram Type Eight:
Positive Practice #1 – Practice letting others take the lead when in low stakes situations.
Here’s the deal — eights love taking control of a situation and exerting their power. However, if you want true loyalty and security from the people around you, it means showing them you don’t always have to be at the front of the pack. Identify areas of your life or decisions that you feel are low stakes enough that you’re happy to be a follower instead of a leader. This will be different for everyone, but will go a long way in securing trust from others.
Positive Practice #2 – Say yes to opportunities that allow you to inspire and uplift other people.
While eights are self-reliant and independent, they feel most powerful when they’re able to energize and encourage other people. Even better if they’re able to help others through a crisis. Eights can be “yes people” so it can be helpful for you to filter through requests by asking yourself if this opportunity will allow you to motivate, encourage, and inspire. If so, go for it!
Positive Practice #3 – Find ways to include others in your successes and celebrate them.
Again, because you’re independent and have a perception of yourself as the leader of the pack, you may not take time to recognize the people that have helped you when you achieve something great. But as we all know, it’s lonely at the top. You’ll enjoy yourself so much more in the happy times if you make a point to recognize the contributions of others and include them in celebrations. Think: going out to dinner with the whole team when you snag that big deal.
Enneagram Type Nine:
Positive Practice #1 – Get in the habit of making decisions or forming opinions on your own so you can stick to them when you’re with others.
Nines have a tendency to go along with the group majority. They love to keep the peace and make sure everyone is getting along, so why rock the boat? However, a true relationship means showing up as yourself — even if you disagree on something. Because your instinct is to follow the crowd, take some time before you’re in said crowd to sit with yourself and form your own opinions. This way when someone asks what restaurant you want to eat at, you won’t have to respond with, “Whatever everybody else decides is fine!”
Positive Practice #2 – Send follow-ups after big group conversations to encourage yourself to stay focused.
Because nines are in the habit of not exerting themselves socially, they can sometimes tune other people out, disengage, and start to day dream. To stay focused as an active participant, set a challenge for yourself that you have to send at least one follow-up after a group social engagement pertaining to the conversations that were had. Something as simple as “You mentioned xyz the other night so I thought you might enjoy this article on abc” is not difficult to do, but setting this goal will help you pay closer attention when in big groups.
Positive Practice #3 – Schedule regular cardio and strength sessions.
Exercise can help you play out emotions you might be suppressing. For nines, that emotion is often anger. What better way to get out aggression in a healthy way than by strapping on sneakers to pound the pavement or lifting heavy dumbbells? Regular exercise can also help a nine with body awareness, concentration, and self-discipline.