Creating Healthy Boundaries by Shelia Heard

Key Elements for Creating Healthy Boundaries


If you truly want to be your best you, to have a happy and healthy life, you need to learn how to set boundaries. Boundaries are being clear about what your limits are, and they are necessary to ensure you don’t get overwhelmed by the demands of other people. Without boundaries, you are likely to be overburdened, stressed, and resentful, and it’s up to you to set and maintain your limits.  You are the only one responsible for your happiness and wellbeing. No one else can do it for you.


If you find it hard to say no, and it’s affecting your wellbeing, you need to stop and recalibrate. Here are some key elements for creating healthy boundaries:


  1. Know your limits

Knowing yourself is the key to creating and maintaining good boundaries. Know your emotional, mental, and physical limits. Work out what makes you feel uncomfortable or stressed and what feels good.


  1. Learn how to read your feelings

In assessing where your limits are, you will have felt a range of different emotions. Two key emotions that signal that your boundaries are being crossed are resentment and discomfort. If you feel you’re being taken advantage of, not appreciated, or even being exploited, that’s a sign you’re being pushed beyond your boundaries, and it’s time to reassert those boundaries and say no.


  1. Give yourself permission to enforce your boundaries

It’s okay to say no. In fact, it’s necessary for your self-respect to maintain your boundaries and refuse an unwelcome request. There is no room for guilt or self-doubt in this. Having clear boundaries and sticking to them is not selfish. In putting yourself first, you’re ensuring that you will have the energy to do the things you want to do and be there for people when its right for you.


  1. Be clear about what’s up for negotiation

Know what you need to stay happy and healthy, whether it’s your daily walk, a gym session, or yoga practice. Make it clear that these are non-negotiable parts of your daily schedule. Similarly, be clear that you won’t host family parties, but you will contribute with food or drinks. Being clear and direct about your boundaries leaves no room for doubt, guilt, or leverage.


  1. Be direct

When you’re clear about your boundaries, you don’t need an excuse, a backstory, or a note from your mother. Be direct and leave it at that. You can be polite and kind about it, but in the end, it’s okay just to say no and keep your boundaries strong.


Power Up Your Focus Muscles


It’s getting increasingly more difficult to focus these days. There are too many distractions available. From video games to social media, it makes you wonder how people can concentrate on tasks they should be doing. It’s possible though. You just must learn how to power up your focus muscles.


We tend to work better in spurts. Therefore, use that to figure out the optimal times for you. It’s different for each person. Some people can work for a full hour while others will do better with 15-minute intervals. Try to work with a colleague to help each other determine the best times for each of you.


If you aren’t getting enough sleep, you need to correct that. All other techniques to help you focus will be useless if you don’t. Your body needs the right amount of sleep. Lack of sleep will make your mind wander and focusing won’t happen. Try to go to bed and get up every day at the same time. Our bodies adjust easily to routines such as these. Again, people have different needs when it comes to sleep. You may only need six hours while others may need. If you struggle to get sleep, consider seeking out professional help.


If you don’t practice good eating habits, your foods won’t give you the proper amount of energy. That will cause you to be sluggish which will affect your ability to focus. It’s okay to eat the occasional sin snack, as they call it. But this should not be a regular habit. While it’s great to learn which foods boost your energy, you need to balance your diet for optimal focusing.


To continue the peak concentration path, make sure you add regular exercises to your routines and ones that include aerobics. It’s a proven fact that regular exercise will boost your stamina. Your focus will benefit from this boost. You don’t have to participate in extreme sports to get the benefits of exercise. Regular long walks will do wonders here.


After you have all the routine items in place, consider adding meditation into the mix. Once you learn how to meditate and it starts to be effective (this takes time), you will have the tools to clear your head and help your body relax. Your focusing muscles will be primed for optimal use when you have all of these factors implemented.


Make Small Improvements Daily


Who doesn’t want to improve their lives? If you look at self-help and productivity information, you will see it’s quite popular and growing. People want to improve. However, one of the biggest challenges people face is they try to do too much too fast. When you build up your improvement plan, you have a much better chance of success by taking small steps.


Determine what you want to improve. You can’t tackle everything. Therefore, make a priority of the aspects of your life you want to improve. Once you have that, you can determine a plan on how to improve. For instance, suppose you want to improve a skill at work or learn a new one. Learn what is involved in getting up to speed, and then map out small steps that you can take to accomplish that goal.


People make the mistake of trying to fast-track their improvements. If you tried to learn your new skill in two days, you could become confused. That would have the opposite effect, which is counterproductive. Try breaking up what you need to learn into small, 15-minute chunks. Then, schedule those learning activities for the next few months.


Colleges have been structuring their learning in this manner for years. Students take a course for an hour or two at a time. Then, they move on to their next class. That is spread out over several months. The reason colleges have been doing it this way is because it works.


While you can take on multiple improvements at the same time, don’t go overboard. You need to make sure your current improvements are working. Otherwise, you will get overwhelmed. When that happens, you run the risk of not continuing with all that you’ve mapped out.


Don’t listen to what others believe you should improve. It’s your life, and you are the one that will have to go through the improvements.


If you should happen to let your quest towards improvement slip, don’t be too hard on yourself. Life is busy and working on improvements is not something people include in their schedule. It is a mindset shift, and it takes a while to get used to the new ways. Therefore, you should keep the sessions short. By making small changes daily, the improvements will become habits. After a while, they will become second nature. The fact that you kept your activities small gave you a better chance of being successful at them.


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Written by Berit Lagdefoged, well versed writer at CAL.

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