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Reducing stress | enneagram types two, three and four

Some stress is caused by external factors, some stress has internal causes, and most stress is a combination of the two. It is always helpful to identify the external sources of stress and change these if you can. At the same time, the amount of stress we experience is often made more difficult by our own internal reactions. And some stress may be caused by what we think, how we feel, and what we do.

In this second blog of a three-part series, you can learn how the Enneagram types formed in the Heart Center of Intelligence – Twos, Threes and Fours – act when stressed, what stresses individuals of these types, and how people of each type can change their self-talk to reduce their stress.

TWOS under stress become sleep-deprived, anxious, insecure, highly self-doubting, deeply disheartened, and sometimes furious, though the rage can be deeply suppressed.

Stressors
-Letting others down
-Others disappointing them
-People they care about appearing angry or distant with them
-Others acting rudely
-Feeling ignored or taken for granted
-Not having enough sleep or relaxation
-Not being able to fix an interpersonal issue that matters to them
-Feeling falsely accused of a wrongdoing

To reduce stress…change your self-talk
Notice when you say something negative or non-productive to yourself; this worsens your stress. Take that statement, then change the statement to its opposite, and say the new statement to yourself instead. Use this process each time you engage in negative or non-productive self-talk.

Change this: Who is that person? What can I do to make them more comfortable, happier, etc.? to this: What do I need right now?
Change this: What looks different about this person? to this: Let me focus on myself.
Change this: What can I say or do to establish, reestablish, or heighten this relationship? to this: Let the other person take 50% of the responsibility for this relationship.

THREES under stress can become workaholics, hyper-driven, abrupt (and even hostile), deeply angry, highly anxious, and verbally aggressive, but also lethargic and isolated from others who can give them support and feedback.

Stressors
-Believing failure is possible or looming
-Having their self-confidence or sense of competence challenged
-Thinking they may lose something or someone they deeply wanted
-Strong feelings arising in them or feeling compelled to discuss emotional interactions at length
-Having no specific goals to pursue
-Having plans thwarted for any reason

To reduce stress…change your self-talk
Notice when you say something negative or non-productive to yourself; this worsens your stress. Take that statement, then change the statement to its opposite, and say the new statement to yourself instead. Use this process each time you engage in negative or non-productive self-talk.

Change this: Why are they wasting my time? to this: Do I really believe my time is more valuable than their time?
Change this: How can I work something I know or I’ve done into the conversation? to this: Let me just relax and enjoy this person or conversation.
Change this: It’s sort of true; there are many ways to be truthful to this: I must be truthful with myself first and foremost, before I can be truthful with someone else.

FOURS under stress become moody, self-reflective, very quiet, self-blaming, depressed and/or extremely agitated, accusatory, aggressively angry, and highly emotional.

Stressors
-Feeling slighted, unacknowledged, or rejected in any way
-Feeling blamed or accused
-Others interrupting or cutting them off verbally or non-verbally so they can’t express themselves adequately or completely
-Others misunderstanding or misinterpreting their ideas, feelings, actions, and/or intentions
-Not fully understanding their own reactions and then having difficulty expressing themselves clearly
-Comparing themselves to others and then perceiving themselves as deficient

To reduce stress…change your self-talk
Notice when you say something negative or non-productive to yourself; this worsens your stress. Take that statement, then change the statement to its opposite, and say the new statement to yourself instead. Use this process each time you engage in negative or non-productive self-talk.

Change this: I want to be happy but this isn’t what I was looking for to this: I’m looking for me!
Change this: Feeling sad is not such a bad thing…at least I feel to this: I can also feel happy, thrilled, and I am so much more than my feelings.
Change this: If only I had made other choices in my life to this: I’ve made some really wonderful choices in my life such as…

Ginger Lapid-Bogda PhD, the author of six best-selling Enneagram-business books, is a speaker, consultant, trainer, and coach. She provides certification programs for professionals around the world who want to bring the Enneagram into organizations with high-impact business applications, and is past-president of the International Enneagram Association. Visit her website: TheEnneagramInBusiness.com. ginger@theenneagraminbusiness.com

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