How to Set Healthy Boundaries and Stick to Them

How to Set Healthy Boundaries and Stick to Them

Setting healthy boundaries is essential for managing your mental health. Without boundaries, people may take advantage of you. Boundary setting makes it clear how you would like to be treated and what is and isn’t acceptable. 

Why You Should Set Boundaries

Having good boundaries is key to maintaining healthy relationships. When you lack them, you may struggle with low self-esteem, constantly seeking approval from others, or codependency.

Setting boundaries is often a complicated and uncomfortable process; however, it’s crucial. Whether it’s with a romantic partner, a friend, a family member, or a co-worker, boundaries are how you protect your peace of mind. When you learn how to communicate your needs, it improves the state of your relationships. Honoring your needs and wants can also help prevent stress and anxiety.

Signs You Lack Boundaries

When it comes to boundaries, signs you lack them include:

  • You’re a people pleaser
  • You say “yes” when you want to say “no”
  • Oversharing
  • Feeling guilty for dedicating time to yourself
  • You allow people to take advantage of you
  • Your relationships are unhealthy
  • Overextending yourself
  • Feeling resentful
  • You’re passive-aggressive
  • You fear rejection and abandonment
  • Low self-esteem
  • Feeling exhausted or burnt out

Types of Boundaries

Boundaries typically fall into one of these six categories:

  1. Physical
  2. Emotional
  3. Sexual
  4. Workplace
  5. Financial
  6. Material possessions

How Do You Set Healthy Boundaries?

Boundaries can help you have a healthy sense of self, but to achieve this, you have to know how to implement them. When you have strong boundaries, you communicate to others that you know your worth. 

If you’re ready to establish boundaries with others, here are a few ways to get started. 


Take time to understand why setting boundaries is important. This is also a good time to practice goal-setting for what you hope to gain from having boundaries. During your self-reflection, explore what’s going on in your life and what areas could use boundaries. 

Start Small

If you’re not used to having boundaries, suddenly introducing them can feel overwhelming and uncomfortable. The process isn’t easy, so it’s best to start small and focus on one thing at a time. 

Communicate Your Needs

One of the most important parts of setting boundaries is being able to assertively communicate your needs. You can’t expect people to automatically know your boundaries, so it’s essential to share them with your loved ones. 

It may feel scary at first, but over time, you will begin to feel relief in knowing that you’re doing what’s best for you. When communicating your needs, be as clear and straightforward as possible about what you want. 


If you feel anxious about setting a boundary, practice beforehand. One way you can do this is by writing down everything you want to say. You can also practice in the mirror. 

Accept Any Discomfort

Setting boundaries for the first time can be an uncomfortable experience. If you’ve always had unhealthy or poor boundaries, you may feel guilt, shame, or remorse. It’s crucial to know that while it may feel difficult now, you’re doing what’s best for you. Boundary setting is a courageous act of self-love. 

Reiterate Your Boundaries

Not everyone is going to understand or respect your boundaries; however, you must continue to stand firm in them. If a person tries to cross the line you’ve drawn, kindly remind them of your needs. Anyone who wants to be in your life will learn to accept your boundaries. 

Examples of Healthy Boundaries

Some ways you can set healthy boundaries include:

Say No

Simply saying no to something you don’t want to do is one of the best ways to set a healthy boundary. In romantic relationships, it’s common to want to do anything possible to please your partner, even if it hurts you. You may avoid saying no because you’re worried about upsetting your partner but having personal boundaries is essential to maintaining a healthy relationship.

Maintain a Sense of Independence

For some individuals who don’t have boundaries, it’s easy to lose yourself in a relationship. It’s crucial for your well-being that you have individuality and a life outside of your partner. 

Stand Up for Yourself

Another example of a healthy boundary is standing up for yourself. Whether it be at work or in a disagreement with a family member, standing up for yourself matters. According to a study done by the National Library of Medicine, blurred work-life boundaries cause a decrease in happiness. If you’re having problems at work, speak up. 

Standing up for yourself doesn’t mean creating conflict. You can do it respectfully while still asserting your boundaries. When you learn to use your voice, you will begin to feel better about yourself. 

Refuse to Take Blame

If you’re a people pleaser, you may often allow others to place blame on you or manipulate your emotions. You can acknowledge their feelings while letting them know you won’t accept responsibility for their actions. 

Boundary Setting

Boundaries allow you to live a more fulfilling and balanced life. It’s easy to lose yourself in relationships, work, or other obligations. While it’s not usually an enjoyable experience, setting boundaries is how you protect your peace. Knowing when to draw the line and be assertive can help you feel better about yourself and improve your mental health. 

If not having boundaries is severely impacting your mental health, seeking treatment may help you. Working with a mental health professional can help you get to the root of why you struggle with boundary setting and also assist you in becoming more confident and assertive. 

Knowing when it’s time to draw the line in your relationships is essential. While setting boundaries is a difficult and uncomfortable process, it can lead to healthier relationships with others and improve your overall well-being. When you’re battling with mental health struggles, it can be challenging to assertively communicate your needs. At Alter Wellness Care, located in Laguna Beach, California, we treat various mental health disorders. We have outpatient programs specifically designed to cater to your needs. During your time with us, you’ll learn a range of skills including how to set boundaries. You’ll also have the opportunity to participate in different group activities. For more information about our program, call us at (866) 311-3510.

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