When we talk about boundaries we are talking about restrictions that we put in place for ourselves or others, in order to promote a healthy balanced life that honors what we value. This can seem pretty simple at first but many people struggle with setting boundaries and sticking to them.
Some examples of boundaries could be: not taking work home with you, having one day a week where you spend time on yourself, or setting a limit on technology. Our lives can be full of demands that come from many different sources like family, friends, and work. So setting boundaries not only helps us manage all of these demands but also helps maintain healthy habits.
So how do we set good boundaries? This can include setting boundaries for ourselves, our children, or any other person in your life.
Set Clear Expectations
We first need to set clear expectations. We need to describe what it is we are talking about, in order to get everyone on the same page.
Reflect on How We’ve Been Feeling
After everyone is on the same page, reflect on how we have been feeling. How has taking work home made you feel? How does it feel to be spending too much time with technology? What emotions come up when you are regularly asked to do things that you would rather not?
When explaining our emotions it’s important to focus on ourselves and not others, using ‘I’ statements and avoiding accusatory statements can help.
After we’ve explained where we are emotionally, we need to assert ourselves. We need to describe what we want to happen. What boundary do we want to set for ourselves? Sometimes it can help to write these out. When setting boundaries we should try to make them: sustainable, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely.
Possibly the most important part of setting good boundaries is following through. If we mess up on this part it makes it harder to have success next time. That’s why it is important to reinforce the boundaries with rewards or punishments. Rewards generally work better so coming up with something for yourself or for those who you want to set more boundaries with is a good idea.
Setting boundaries is an important skill to have. We often believe that we are setting boundaries, but they can be unclear to those around us. It can be difficult and maybe a little awkward at the beginning, but as we practice this skill it gets easier for us to not only set boundaries that promote healthy lifestyles, but allows us to express ourselves and advocate for our needs.
If you’re looking to expand your mindfulness practice, check out 25 Ways to Practice Mindfulness to Lower Anxiety & Increase Self-Care.
And if setting boundaries is something that you would like to talk about, feel free to contact me on our website or by phone to set up a consultation today.
Adolescents, Children, and Families
I’m passionate about providing a safe, non-judgmental, and honest therapy environment for teens to discuss their thoughts and feelings. This opens the door for teens to increase their self-awareness and develop key coping strategies that they can use the rest of their life.
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