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Set Boundaries for Better Mental Health

By Paul Rothbart

Being healthy involves more than just the body. As the body and mind are linked, you cannot be truly healthy unless you have good mental health. This includes your emotional state. Mental health issues can be abstract and hard to recognize. But there are things that you can do that can help improve your overall mental health. One of them is setting boundaries. This includes physical and mental boundaries. Here is some information on setting and maintaining boundaries.

Defining Boundaries

When interacting with other people, boundaries are a set of guidelines as to the type of behavior you find acceptable from them. A boundary can be thought of as a property line. You want to set rules for how people approach that line and when it is permissible to cross it. Setting boundaries makes for healthier relationships with everyone you encounter, both familiar people and strangers. Without boundaries, others may behave in ways that make you uncomfortable and anxious. This can have a detrimental effect on your emotional as well as mental health.

Physical Boundaries

You are probably familiar with the term "personal space." Some people get friendly quickly, doling out hugs when meeting someone for the first time. This is fine if you are comfortable with that. Many people are more reserved. If physical contact makes you uncomfortable, politely make that clear to others. It's not rude and you shouldn't have to deal with the anxiety it may produce. You can also use nonverbal communication. If you encounter someone who likes to get in close during a conversation, taking a step or two back is a clear sign that it's not OK.

Intellectual and Emotional Boundaries

These boundaries are more subtle. They involve taking on the feelings of those close to you rather than experiencing your own emotions. You can be sympathetic and supportive, but you don't have to experience those feelings firsthand. These boundaries are also about not changing your opinions or preferences to match those of other people. Make it clear that you respect their views, but that yours differ. This is a good way to protect your self-esteem and you may find yourself in an interesting and healthy debate.

When it comes to mental health, setting boundaries is essential. You are free to live in your space and think and feel as you do, just as others are. Set boundaries with the people you interact with and expect them to respect those boundaries. Your mental and emotional health can improve significantly.

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Buckeye, Ariz.

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