Mindfulness Monday: How to Set and Maintain Healthy Boundaries

Recognise where a boundary is needed. Pay close attention to how you feel before and after an interaction. If an interaction has left you feeling uncomfortable, distressed, frustrated, and/or exhausted, that’s an indicator from your body that something is wrong. Paying close attention to your feelings can help you assess where space is needed.

There are three types of boundaries which you can implement:

  1. Mental and emotional boundaries can include who you share your thoughts, opinions, beliefs, and emotions with, including how you allow someone to speak to you, or how much energy you are willing to invest in a relationship.
  2. Physical boundaries have to do with how close you allow someone to be to you, physically, and what touch you’re okay and not okay with.
  3. Resource boundaries are about “your ability to choose where and how your time is spent.” This could look like asking for an hour to yourself every afternoon or disconnecting from your phone after 8 p.m. 

Not sure how to set and maintain them? Go step by step:

  1. Clarify your needs and communicate them. Be sure and firm in what you want and talk about it with the other person. Make sure to time it when neither of you are in an emotionally reactive place, i.e. when you’ve had a stressful day. 
  2. When setting boundaries, make sure you’re not focusing on changing the other person’s behaviour, but instead making a clear statement about how you will respond in new ways if the person continues the behaviour. Be calm, clear and assertive.
  3. Be gentle with yourself. Setting a boundary can bring about feelings of guilt in you or the other party might not respond the way you would have hoped. Be mindful that you don’t fall back into old habits just because they’re familiar. It’s a process and like all processes, it takes time to get the hang of it.
  4. Be open. Allow your boundaries to change, because as time goes on, our needs and limits may change as well. 

Artist, critic and a self proclaimed historian. I write about the this and thats, odds and ends, and etceteras of the art world.

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