Maintaining Boundaries

Posted on September 27, 2013

Have you ever experienced high levels of stress because too many people want to be involved in your life, decisions, thoughts, and plans?  Do you get anxious when you think about speaking with certain people or when you think about not sharing certain details with people in your life?  Do you have a hard time saying no or having your own thoughts when around certain people?  If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may need to strengthen the boundaries in your life.

Boundaries are a necessary part of life if you wish to preserve healthy patterns of living.  Today, many people find themselves over worked, over involved, and over anxious about their decisions, responsibilities, and relationships with family and friends.  When was the last time you said “no” or made a decision based solely on what you wanted instead of what you thought others wanted?  For some, doing this brings great anxiety.  Anxiety can be affected by one’s history, relationships, family patterns of interaction, and level of self-esteem, but the important thing about the anxiety is that it exists and causes people to preserve unhealthy boundaries in their lives.

Below you will find suggestions for preserving healthy boundaries in your life.  Some of these suggestions may be incredibly difficult to try.  You may find that trying any of them seems unreasonable.  However, I encourage you to evaluate your current situation regarding boundaries and then begin dreaming about how life could be better, more liberating, and less stressful by creating healthier boundaries over time.

  •  Begin by making a list of the people or activities that bring you the most anxiety.  Ask yourself what it is about these people or activities that cause the anxiety for you.  Maybe your friend is overly critical or maybe your calendar is too full to continue your Tuesday night activities.
  • Limit the amount of time you spend speaking with those that make you anxious.  When you do speak, only offer information you are comfortable giving.  You don’t need to tell every detail of a decision you’ve made to all that ask, especially if the response from others could be negative or critical.
  • Begin to discover how much activity you can handle in your week.  Know when you are overloading yourself and make smart decisions to cut back.  Consider cutting out unnecessary activities that put you over the top.
  • Spend time by yourself.  Some people require large amounts of alone time.  Others only need a few hours every couple of weeks.  Know when you need to stop and take time for yourself.  Taking care of yourself will give you more energy to care for others.
  • Relax.  You are only one person and cannot make everyone happy in your life or participate in every activity that comes your way.  Find your strengths and stick with them.  Doing a couple things really well is better than doing everything just okay.

If you find that you’re struggling with boundaries in your life and are having difficultly trying any of the above suggestions, I encourage you to speak with a counselor who will help you discover what keeps you from preserving healthy boundaries in your life and experiencing the power you desire.

Written by: Kristie L. Watts, LMFTA

Kristie Watts is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Associate at Groff and Associates Counseling.  Her passions are parent/child relationships, adolescent females, and grief and loss.   If you are interested in seeing a counselor, for help in these areas, contact Kristie.

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NzE6Imh0dHA6Ly9ncm9mZmFuZGFzc29jaWF0ZXMuY29tL3dwLWNvbnRlbnQvd29vX3VwbG9hZHMvMy1ncm9mZl9oZWFkZXIucG5nIjt9PC9saT48L3VsPg==