Do you draw boundaries for your mental health? (Photo via Pexels/ Ron Lach)

6 Effective Tips on Setting Boundaries for Your Mental Health

Setting boundaries is easier said than done. It can be scary to speak up for ourselves, or even if you have set some healthy boundaries, you struggle not to get them walked all over again. By setting boundaries, we can feel safer, more connected, and more present in our relationships. When someone sets a boundary with you, it's an attempt to make the relationship work, not to cut you out.


People generally think that boundaries are stop signs that would tell people what not to do. In reality, boundaries are like welcome signs. They are like doormats that say - Welcome in (please take off your shoes). The idea of setting a boundary is based on making the relationship safer and more enjoyable, hopefully for both parties. It's not about controlling people and cutting them out of your life. Research shows that setting boundaries in a relationship can be a complex process, but its not impossible.


Effective tips to set boundaries

Boundaries are limits we place on our relationships about what behavior we will and will not accept from other people. We can have emotional or physical boundaries or both. Emotional boundaries, for instance, are like how you allow someone to talk to you or how much energy you are willing to put into the relationship. Physical boundaries affect how close we allow people to get to us.


1) Keep affirming

People around us can test our patience and keep breaking our boundaries. For instance, someone who has been mean and condescending towards you may continue to do so even after you have stated your boundaries. It's important to note that no matter what the other person says, you can continue to affirm and tell the other person that it is not personal and that the way the other person speaks to you is not okay!

Lack of boundaries can lead to enmeshed relationships. (Photo via Pexels/ Ron Lach)

2) Communicate

When discussing your views and thoughts with another person, be open-minded but considerate — taking a moment to collect oneself before and after the chat is typical. However, do not use it as a justification to hold back from communicating your feelings.

Setting limits but failing to enforce them gives the other person the impression that they have a valid reason to keep crossing them. Never deviate from your restrictions without giving them great thought. If not, you can end yourself by making compromises that you don't agree with.

Whether its work or personal space, communication is the key! (Photo via Pexels/ Christina Morillo)

3) Conserve love and energy

Always remember that boundaries are intended to improve relationships and foster connections (not to push people away, take revenge, or avoid vulnerable connection opportunities). Make an appointment with your therapist if you believe that your limits are increasing your sense of isolation. Your strategy could require a little adjustment.

Save your emotional, mental, and physical energy by setting boundaries. We all have various limitations, and not everyone is naturally aware of them. The key is to prevent your internal batteries from running out to the point where you crash and require a reset. This pattern of moving forward and then stopping wears us out so much more than is necessary over time.

Boundaries conserve love and energy. (Photo via Pexels/ Andrea Piacquadio)

4) Don't overexplain

Initially, while setting boundaries, you may feel the need to explain yourself, but a crucial part of setting boundaries is not to overexplain. According to researchers, just saying a 'no' is more than enough to establish your boundaries. Setting limits well requires not over-explaining since everyone has the right to choose what they do and do not want to do.

Saying 'no' is also establishing a boundary. (Photo via Pexels/ Vie Studio)

5) Focus on yourself

The "I" statements emphasizes on the speaker's thoughts and sentiments, allowing them to be expressed without concern for what the listeners might think. It is an example of a forceful language that is firm but not aggressive.

A person can say, "I need some time to myself after I come back from work," instead of establishing a boundary by saying, "You have to stop bothering me after work."

Focus on yourself first and then others. (Photo via Pexels/ Andrea Piacquadio)

6) Keep making adjustments

No matter how hard you work on setting sensible boundaries, you won't always do it right the first time. You'll be attempting something entirely new, and as is typical in such circumstances, you'll need to have both triumphs and failures before fully understanding it.

You might find that some of your boundaries are too loose while others are too strict. You may be able to say this because maintaining them will make you feel stressed out and uncomfortable all the time. This will persist even after your limits have been in place for a few weeks. You may also see that your boundaries weren't broad or inclusive enough and that you still have unmet mental health requirements.



When you grow up watching your parents overextending themselves and not setting limits, it makes sense why you may struggle to set boundaries now.

You may also struggle with setting boundaries if, as a child, your boundaries were continually disregarded or if your parents made you feel guilty for saying no. It's okay if you are not able to set boundaries immediately, it's a difficult thing to do and takes a lot of strength.

Finally, while it's essential to create boundaries, it's even more important to respect the ones that others have established for themselves. According to research, this rule applies to everyone who deals with or has authority over other people, including parents, kids, romantic partners, bosses, and coworkers. Respect is a two-way street, and maintaining one's own boundaries as well as respecting the boundaries others have established for themselves is crucial.


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Edited by
Priya Majumdar
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