As Enneagram Nines, we are sensitive people. And the unique thing about the way we’re wired is that, unlike more expressive numbers, most people don’t even realize how sensitive we really are. That’s because our calm, tough exterior and need to maintain harmony leads people to think we’ve got it all together. But deep down, underneath all of that, we are deep feelers.
Things like work, social engagements, daily responsibilities, and even the evening news can drain us. High demand typically leads to overwhelm.
Have you ever noticed how exhausted you feel after a long, heavy conversation with a friend who is going through a tough time? As Nines, we often show up for others like a tree. Stable, full of shade and comfort, and a place they know they can count on. This is one of our greatest gifts, but can also be to our detriment if we don’t have things in place to keep us on a healthy track.
Before I was living emotionally healthily as an Enneagram 9, my life was chaotic. I didn’t have the structure I needed to process the things I felt on a daily basis. Instead, I was trying to be what everyone else wanted and would end the day feeling frustrated and defeated. I spent years learning about myself and realizing what I actually needed in order to thrive as a Nine in health.
Remember, as humans, we are all created differently. And that means we have different needs. Our bodies and minds have different requirements. In order for us to truly thrive as Nines, there are specific things we can implement into our lives to keep us fueled, and help us feel taken care of.
You would never set out on a long road trip without reviewing the map, checking the oil, prepping the tires, and filling the tank. So why set out in life without a clear plan to help you not only survive, but thrive?
Here are 9 Must-Haves for Enneagram Nines (and other highly sensitive people) to Thrive:
(See what I did there? Nine things for us Nines 😉)
Try implementing these in your life and see what happens.
1. A slower, simpler pace in life and time to wind down at the end of the day.
I know - easier said than done. But the truth is, as badly as we sometimes want, or despite the demands of others, we just can’t keep going and going like other people do. Our nervous systems absorb a lot more information and we tend to get overwhelmed easily.
We need more time than others to leave the house, make decisions, and process information in general.
Creating more margin in your life by waking up earlier, not overbooking your schedule, and creating a wind-down routine for the end of the day will help you make sure you’re not overloading yourself. The evening/wind-down routine is key because it will invite you to turn your brain off, creating space to rest and refuel.
2. A calm, quiet place that we can retreat to.
Think of this as your cozy haven. The place you can go to rejuvenate. It can be conducive to all of the things that bring you to a place of relaxation. Consider things like low lighting, minimal noise, a beautiful view, and a few of your favorite tools to relax (books, music, a comfy chair/pillow, a journal, etc). This is your place. So make it that!
3. Permission from ourselves and others to feel our emotions and to cry.
This can be a tough one. But if we don’t have this permission, we pay for it with mental and physical problems. Remember, everything we suppress will eventually come out, and maybe not in a way we would have liked.
So breathe. Relax your throat muscles when you’re fighting tears. Despite what we may have picked up from our childhood stories or other life circumstances, emotions aren’t dangerous to show or feel. Instead of glazing over them or trying to maintain a calm demeanor, get to know your emotions. Make them your friends. And PS - you don’t have to apologize for being emotional.
4. Time to adjust to transitions in life.
Transitions are extra hard for us. Even positive changes, like new relationships or new homes, can be overstimulating and require extra time to adjust.
So if you know you have a transition or change coming up, plan for it. Schedule time in your daily routine to rest in your “retreat place”. And if you want to take it to another level, communicate to those around you that you may need a bit more time and space during the transition. Setting clear expectations and boundaries is just one of the many ways I help Enneagram Nines step into living a bold life.
5. The ability to manage conflict from a place of choice instead of reaction.
Dealing with angry people or potentially hurting their feelings is downright scary for us. So we either avoid this by going-along-to-get-along, or we react abruptly or passive-aggressively. Ever been there?
But if we choose to manage conflict in health, we are empowering ourselves to make a choice for how we will respond. Believe it or not, we really do have what we need to engage in healthy conflict.
We simply need to practice moving to a place of center so we can be purposeful instead. Try taking a deep breath, considering the other person’s stance, and then RESPOND (vs. react).
6. Close, meaningful relationships with others.
We crave meaningful relationships, and we get can become bored or restless in relationships that feel shallow.
We want to dive deep and connect with others in more profound ways. If you want to thrive as an Enneagram Nine, practice allowing your messy self to be seen just as much as the parts you like. True connection must go both ways.
7. Healthy meals spread evenly throughout the day and caffeine and alcohol-free options.
Sensitive people tend to get “hangry” easily. We can also be more sensitive to the effects of caffeine and alcohol. So overindulging in food or other things to cope can actually have a negative effect.
Planning healthy meals that are easily accessible, and having drinks on hand that don’t include stimulants or suppressants can help you maintain more mental health. Try using a meal delivery service, and keep things like sparkling water or kombucha stocked in your refrigerator.
8. A creative outlet.
As Enneagram Nines, we thrive when we can channel all of our deep observations, emotions, and thoughts into something creative. Creativity can act like a pressure valve releasing all that sensory and emotional energy. Sounds good, right?
So find a way to create something, and give yourself permission to actually spend time doing it. This can look different for everyone, but a few ideas include art, journaling, writing, getting out in nature, reading, crafting, and more.
9. A strong sense of purpose.
We think deeply about the big things in life. Who are we? What is our purpose on this planet?
Whether it’s writing, traveling, leading important causes, or studying scripture, we crave meaning. Lean into this gift. We have it for a reason!