How to set healthy boundaries to protect your mental health

Setting boundaries might seem hard, but when you actually start doing it, you see a lot of benefits it brings into your life

By Anjaan

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Published: Thu 28 Apr 2022, 8:43 PM

The buzz word in the self-help circles is ‘boundaries’. Setting boundaries is an important aspect of understanding your identity and is crucial for your mental well-being. Although, the word ‘boundary’, sometimes, can have a negative connotation. Your life might be geared towards productivity — the need to earn more, do more, please more, connect more, etc. All those are great of course, but they need to come in personalised dosages and in balance. If you keep pushing, hustling and keep allowing — eventually, you will be stressed, anxious and drained.

The best way to practise the yogic concept of sathya (honesty/truthfulness) is to first and foremost be honest with yourself. You have to learn the art of speaking your truth. The costs for not setting healthy boundaries can include stress, wasted time, financial worry and relationship issues, which can cause mental distress.

Benefits of setting boundaries:

Setting boundaries might seem hard, but when you actually start doing it, you see a lot of benefits it brings into your life. Here are a few:

• Helps you to focus on yourself and your wellbeing

• Builds greater self-esteem and self-respect

• Aids in discovery of independence and developing autonomy

• Develop your individuality and self-identity

• Helps you to meet your needs

• Improves your communication with others

• Aids to find time for things you actually like to do

• Helps you get rid of toxic relationships

• Progresses your ability of saying “no” and “yes”

• Reduces the chances of burnout and frustration

• Creates emotional wellbeing and optimum mental health

Types of boundaries:

Boundaries can range from being open to rigid. Here are some types of boundaries:

• Professional boundaries — knowing what to say no to at work

• Boundaries in relationships

• Material boundaries — the things you own

• Physical boundaries — knowing what others are allowed to do

• Emotional boundaries — being clear on what emotionally drains you

• Mental boundaries — allowing for your opinions and thoughts

How to enforce your boundaries:

Getting to know your own boundaries is a very powerful tool to stand on our own strength and become empowered and resilient. Here are a few ways to enforce boundaries:

Step #1 - Develop knowledge of yourself before setting boundaries. Be committed to your goals and only indulge in activities that empower you. Be clear on what your needs are before communicating it to others.

Step #2 - Have clarity in what you agree to. Communicate your expectations clearly, calmly, and consistently. Decide if any action, activity or conversation aligns with you or not. Take ownership of boundaries that you set up to achieve your goals

Step #3 – Be vocal about someone disrespecting your boundaries. If your boundaries are transgressed, assess your choices and take action. Learn to speak up and suspend privileges to people who are not aligned with your boundaries

Step #4 - Build the strength to say NO. Withdraw from any agreed action if people involved are not following agreed boundaries. Decide if the boundary is negotiable and ask yourself how long you are willing to accept this behaviour. Practice detachment and seek help if needed.

Remember that as an adult you always have choices. You don’t have to be friends with someone who takes advantage of you. You don’t have to work for someone who criticises you. You don’t have to stay in a relationship with someone who ignores you.

Setting boundaries helps to find the courage and wisdom to live true to yourself. I wish you the strength to find your sathya and live in radicle honesty.

Connect with Anjaan across social media @MeditateWithAnjaan

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