5 Types of Boundaries You Need For Your Mental Health To Stay Protected
Advice, a mental wellness tool, and a mantra we often find crossing our path while scrolling through our phone or reading a self-help book! Especially considering the current times when we are frequently expected to be there for others, setting boundaries is what we need to maintain our sanity.
But wait! Are boundaries all about saying “NO” when we are physically unavailable or there is more to it?
Well, boundaries are the essence of a healthy relationship and there is more to it than not attending a party with your loved ones. There are other types of boundaries in our lives that impact our relationships with others and ensure that we keep our mental health protected. Let us explore different types of boundaries and what they sound like.
5 Types of Healthy Boundaries
1. Physical Boundaries
We human beings always have an unsaid and unseen bubble around us that classifies us for our safe space. Interestingly, we decide on who is allowed at what distance from this physical safe bubble of ours. Like with our awareness we allow some people or relationships in appropriate settings to get in this personal space in the form of hugs, handshakes, and cuddles. It is also about your sexual preferences and addressing the physical needs of your body like hunger, thrust, and rest.
However, when this personal space is violated or evaded it leaves us feeling upset, uncomfortable, and even anxious. That is why it is suggested that one should maintain clear and healthy physical boundaries.
Healthy Physical Boundaries Will Sound Like:
- “I am really tired. I need to sit down now.”
- “I am not a big hugger. I am a handshake person.”
- “I need to eat. I am going to go grab something.”
- “No. I don’t want you to touch me like that.”
2. Emotional Boundaries
Addressing, respecting, and acknowledging one’s feelings refers to the emotional boundaries that you practice in your life. It also includes limiting what, when, and how much you are comfortable sharing with others at an emotional level. These boundaries measure your ability to state your feelings and setting boundaries around inappropriate topics, attitudes, and emotional dumping. Emotional boundaries are not only focused on your knowledge of your emotional energy but also about you respecting others’ emotions. Therefore, you should be able to validate the feelings of others and check with them if they can take the emotional information that you feel like delivering.
Emotional boundaries are generally violated when we receive criticism or are asked to justify our feelings. Apart from it, being emotionally dumbed without permission and assuming how others are feeling is also a part of unhealthy emotional boundaries.
Healthy Emotional Boundaries Will Sound Like:
- “I am having a hard time and really need to talk. Are you in a place to listen right now?”
- “I really can’t talk about that right now. It isn’t the right time.”
- “Right now, I am not in a place to take in all of this information. Do you think we can come back to this conversation later?”
- “I can only share with you if you can respond respectfully to me.”
3. Time Boundaries
We don’t have to be available for others all the time or plan our day according to their schedule! This factor demands you to value your time and suggests you utilize it smartly to classify time boundaries.
It also entails how much time you have to devote to yourself, to spend with others, and to invest in work or your social life. Keeping your personal, social, and professional life easily distinguishable and not letting them overlap or merge is a sign of a healthy time boundary.
Sadly, time boundaries are violated the most as valuing others’ time does not come that easy. Some ways in which time violations take place are showing up late or canceling on people because we have other commitments, contacting.
Healthy Time Boundaries Will Sound Like:
- “I can only stay for an hour.”
- “Do you have time to chat today?”
- “I would love to help, but I would be overcommitting myself. Is there another time?”
- “We have family time on Sundays, so we won’t make it.”
4. Intellectual Boundaries
This boundary refers to your thoughts, ideas, and curiosity. Intellectual boundaries include sharing one’s opinion on one hand and respecting that of others. It also highlights the awareness and ability to carry forward a healthy discussion, without hurting someone else or feeling hurt. To put it in a nutshell, intellectual boundaries are focused on sharing your ideas, opinions, thoughts, values, and beliefs with respectfulness and a willingness to dialogue and disagree.
They have trespassed when someone belittles or dismisses other’s thoughts or ideas. Other than that, when the thoughts shared are unhealthy or if the opinions are inherently harmful, and they are still forced to be accepted or agreed upon, the intellectual boundary is violated.
Healthy Intellectual Boundaries Will Sound Like:
- “I know we disagree, but I won’t let you belittle me like that.”
- “I would love to talk about this more, but I don’t think talking about it during Thanksgiving dinner is the best time.”
- “When we talk about this, we don’t get very far. I think it is a good idea to avoid the conversation right now.”
- “I can respect that we have different opinions on this.”
5. Material Boundaries
Material boundaries usually encircle your possessions, money, your wish to use them, and your expectations on how they should be treated (by self and others). Healthy materialistic boundaries are marked by having limits on what to share and with whom.
Usually, when your materialistic things are taken without permission, borrowed too frequently, not returned, damaged, or never returned. Along with this, manipulation of materials is also a sign of unhealthy material boundaries.
Healthy Marital Boundaries Will Sound Like:
- “I can’t lend out my car. I am the only person on the insurance.”
- “We can’t give any more money. We would be happy to help in another way.”
- “Sure! I am happy to share my dress with you. Just a heads-up, I do need it back by Friday.”
The New Found Boundary: Spiritual Boundary
Spiritual boundaries are set to protect your spiritual belief and your energy. It includes staying away from negative energies or the ones that drain you down (stopping your growth as an individual). It also centered on how we protect our relationship with God or something greater than ourselves. This boundary is violated in the form of questioning or disrespecting one’s or others’ spiritual belief systems. To avoid the violation of this boundary here are pointers for you to make a note of:
- Give yourself the permission to define your own relationship with whatever higher power you relate to (if any).
- Honor and practice your values and beliefs without interference.
- Choose your own path to view and practice religious activities.
- Avoid talking about your spirituality with people who find discomfort in it.
- Protect your energy by avoiding negative leeches.
So how many of these boundaries have you been maintaining in your life and which ones are being violated? Well, what matters is how aware you are of the boundaries that you are maintaining and how healthy they are. After all, setting healthy boundaries is a form of self-care and self-love.
Facing difficulty in maintaining healthy boundaries? Read this blog on ways to build healthy boundaries and get the much-needed help!
How To Set Healthy Boundaries For Yourself & Keep Your Energy Intact
Establishing Healthy Boundaries In A New Relationship
Do you often allow others to trespass your boundaries? Consider seeking help from a mental health professional, book your first therapy with BetterHelp.
Thank you for reading!
Love & Light