How to Set Boundaries that Protect Your Mental Health

Written by Tom Marino

October 13, 2021

set boundaries

Do you know how to set boundaries?

Last week, I shared why boundaries are critical for our personal growth. Setting expectations – for ourselves, and others – allows us to communicate our needs. Healthy boundaries prevent burnout and overwhelm.


How to set boundaries

Be proactive, not reactive.

Set boundaries today to communicate your needs and clarify your expectations. Don’t put it off.

We often put up boundaries to protect ourselves when we feel threatened or vulnerable. We go on “defense.” This is not an example of a healthy boundary. We’ve put up walls to keep people out, and our boundaries become obstacles.

Instead, be proactive in communicating your expectations. With boundaries in place, we have the framework to handle challenging situations before they arise.

We can avoid awkward confrontations when we set boundaries in advance. It’s easier to communicate our boundaries before they’ve been violated. Without sharing your expectations, there’s no way for the people around you to know what you need.


Change your language. 

We impose negative boundaries on ourselves when we use language like “I can’t” or “I won’t.” Watch your language. Are you reinforcing fear and insecurity with negative self-talk?

Our language influences our beliefs and our actions.

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.” ~ Henry Ford

We can reframe these negative thoughts by focusing instead on what we can and will do.


Learn when to say “no.”

“No” is a boundary. Many people find it challenging to say “no.” We call this the “pleaser” personality because they’re afraid to let people down.

Change your perspective: It’s not always about saying “no,” but rather learning when it’s most appropriate to say “yes.” Healthy boundaries help us learn the difference.

Here’s an example… You’re invited to go out with friends on a weeknight. But let’s say that you’ve set a boundary to stay in on weeknights – maybe because you need to study, or spend time with your family, or recharge after a long workday. With this boundary in place, there’s no need to labor over your decision. You politely turn down the invitation because it’s a weeknight, but you look forward to joining your friends on the weekend.



Follow these tips to set healthy boundaries that protect your time, energy, and mental health. Be proactive in communicating your needs and clarifying your expectations for yourself and others.

Healthy boundaries give us the parameters in which to thrive.

Want to learn how to set boundaries in your own life? As a Certified Life Coach, I can help you set healthy boundaries to communicate your needs and expectations. Book my calendar for a complimentary session and let’s chat about the positive changes you want to make.


Photo by Amin Hasani | Unsplash