4 Reasons Why Setting Boundaries is Good for Your Health

Learning why it’s good for your health to set boundaries can help you feel more comfortable when doing so.

Cartoon of a lady sitting in a bubble and setting her boundaries with others.

You can set boundaries in all types of relationships, including those with coworkers, family members, friends, and intimate partners. By creating and adhering to boundaries in your relationships, you might notice improvements in your physical and emotional well-being.

Identifying some of the reasons why it’s good for your health to set boundaries can help you feel more comfortable when doing so.

1. Honor your needs

Boundaries in relationships are about your unique needs and desires when interacting with other people. You might have boundaries that differ from those established by others, and that’s perfectly normal and acceptable.

Your boundaries may relate to physical, emotional, or even digital interactions with another person. For example, you might feel comfortable holding hands with an intimate partner but not kissing them.

You could desire to follow a friend on social media but not share your account password with that person. With a coworker, you might avoid certain topics of discussion, such as talking about other colleagues or your personal lives.

No matter what boundaries you want to establish in your relationship, you should feel comfortable doing so. By creating these boundaries and requesting that the other person understand and adhere to them, you can honor your needs, goals, and feelings.

As a result, you can maintain a better sense of self without feeling the need to give in to another person’s desires.

2. Build your self-esteem

Self-esteem refers to your overall sense of self-worth and personal value. Your self-esteem can influence your relationships, mental health, and even your opportunities for academic and professional success.

When you establish boundaries in your relationships, you are telling yourself that your needs matter. As a result, doing so can help to increase your self-esteem. Clear and well-established boundaries can also serve as a form of self-care.

Related: Give Yourself the Ultimate Self-Care Day at Home

3. Improve conflict resolution

Conflicts arise in all relationships. People have different opinions, beliefs, and values, and these differences can sometimes create conflicts of all sizes and scopes.

Establishing boundaries can provide a common basis for discussing and resolving conflicts. Boundaries can even prevent hot-button topics from being brought up and creating issues.

With a spouse or intimate partner, you might set a boundary that relates to conflict by stating that you want to take an hour apart to cool down before continuing a contentious discussion. This boundary is reasonable in most situations.

With a colleague whose political views starkly oppose yours, you might choose to avoid engaging in political discussions. This boundary can help you avoid a topic that might make either of you feel uncomfortable or attacked.

4. Lower stress levels

Having your boundaries violated can ignite the production of cortisol, the body’s stress hormone. As a result, you might feel your heart start to race or your stomach starts to ache.

High-stress levels have also been linked to digestive problems, headaches, anxiety and depression, concentration and memory troubles, and heart disease. By establishing and adhering to boundaries in your relationships, you can minimize the stress you feel in situations with those around you and enjoy lower cortisol levels in your body.

Related: How Chronic Stress Affects Your Body

How to set healthy boundaries

Now that you understand why establishing boundaries is beneficial for your relationships, you might wonder how to go about creating your own. The first step is identifying interactions in which you felt uncomfortable.

You might feel the need to support those around you, stretching yourself too thin and causing burnout in the process. Perhaps you’ve engaged in one too many discussions about polarizing topics, and you want to avoid these in the future.

Engage in open and honest communication with the people around you and communicate your needs and why these boundaries are important. You can also request the support of a mental health professional if you’re struggling to achieve healthy boundaries in your relationships. You can improve your mental and physical health by setting parameters and adhering to them.

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