5 Ways to Set Stronger Boundaries

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Published Date|
April 27, 2024

5 Ways to Set Stronger Boundaries

Whether you consider yourself a people-pleaser or you simply have a hard time saying “no,” setting boundaries is an important part of maintaining your mental health.

Still, it can be hard to set boundaries when you feel like you’re being selfish or you don’t know how to communicate them.

Here at KMA Therapy, we’re passionate about equipping you with the tools you need to support your mental health. For over 15 years, we’ve helped our clients and community learn how to advocate for their needs and clearly communicate their boundaries.

After reading this article, you’ll know what boundaries are, why they’re important, and five ways to set stronger boundaries.

What is a Boundary?

A boundary is a personal limit you set based on your emotional, social, or physical needs. You might set a boundary with other people in your life, or you might even set a boundary with yourself.

For example, you might enjoy spending time with your friends after work, but know you need a full night’s sleep to feel okay during your early-morning shift. In this case, you’d set a boundary of returning home by 9pm in order to get things ready for the next day.

Boundaries help you understand what you want and need in your personal relationships, foster healthy interactions with others, and communicate to others what is acceptable to you.

Why are Boundaries Important?

Boundaries are important because they set the standard for how you wish to be treated and what kind of life you wish to lead.

Boundaries are important in all areas of your life, from friendships, to romantic relationships, to workplace interactions.

In your communication with others, boundaries can:

  • Foster a sense of trust
  • Help you build mutual respect
  • Ensure you both feel safe and understood
  • Foster effective communication between you and others

Ultimately, boundaries can help you manage your stress, prevent you from feeling burnt out, and help you maintain your financial stability.

5 Ways to Set Boundaries

boundary setting techniques

Follow these five steps to set stronger boundaries.

1. Understand your needs

You can’t set strong boundaries without understanding what you truly need.

Take some time to figure out what’s bothering you in different aspects of your life.

Do you have a boss who doesn’t respect your working hours? Do you have a friend who expects you to spend a ton of money every time you go out together?

Explore what is stressing you out about these relationships and how they impact your financial, emotional, and physical wellbeing.

Write out a list of what you need from these relationships in order to get a clear picture of what kind of boundaries you need to set.

2. Communicate your boundaries

Effectively communicating your boundaries can feel overwhelming, but these four tips can make it easier.

When communicating your boundaries:

  • Be specific about what you need
  • Express your feelings without blaming the other person
  • Choose an appropriate time and place for the conversation
  • Clearly outline how you plan to maintain your boundary going forward

For example, if you have a boss who asks you to do work after hours, you can communicate that you need them to ask you to complete tasks earlier in the day or wait until the following business day, as you have personal responsibilities to attend to after-hours.

3. Enforce with physical boundaries

Creating a physical boundary can be a great way to enforce the boundaries you’ve set.

For example, simply leaving your phone in another room is a great way to make sure you aren’t answering work-related messages after hours.

4. Prioritize your self-care

When you have a lot of beliefs about setting boundaries, finally setting one can feel overwhelming.

You also can’t control how other people react to your boundaries, which can feel stressful.

Make sure to prioritize your self care when setting boundaries, and make sure you’re taking care of your physical, mental, and emotional health.

5. Connect with a professional

If you need help setting boundaries or learning new communication strategies, connecting with a therapist can help.

A therapist can help you:

  • Understand related issues including perfectionism, self-esteem, and codependency
  • Understand which areas of your life need stronger boundaries
  • Explore leads you to believe you cannot set boundaries
  • Learn how to effectively communicate your boundaries
  • Practice self-regulation and self-care

Next Steps for Setting Stronger Boundaries

After reading this article, you know why boundaries are important and how to set stronger boundaries.

Here at KMA Therapy, we’re here to help you feel confident and secure when advocating for what you need.

We offer therapy at five convenient locations across Toronto: Yonge and Eglinton, King West, Yorkville, Liberty Village, and Yonge and Sheppard, and we offer virtual counselling sessions for anyone in Ontario.

Register online to learn more about our online anxiety counselling or download our Therapy 101 Guide to explore how therapy can work for you.

If you’d prefer to keep reading, explore these articles:

Author |
Emily Weatherhead (Guest Author)
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