A Psychologist Says Boundaries May Reduce Stress

A Psychologist Says Boundaries May Reduce Stress.

Stress is unavoidable in life—no spoilers. “Fight, flight, or freeze,” explains Aimee Daramus, PsyD, a clinical psychologist and professor. And that can affect how you sleep, eat, work, or interact with others because your brain and body focus on staying alive and safe. Fortunately, there are four types of healthy boundaries you can set to help you better manage stress and keep it from spreading into other areas of your life, like a viny house plant.

Yes, setting healthy boundaries can help you avoid emotional dumping. Want to avoid bringing work stress into Zoom catch up with an old friend, or the dread of moving into your evening yoga session?

“We do no one any good if we burn out and need care. This is why boundaries are so crucial, “Dr. Daramus said. “We must decide how much we can give to our friends, family, and communities before taking time off.”

Dr. Daramus explains the four types of boundaries you should set for yourself based on your level of stress.

There are 4 types of boundaries may reduce stress.

1. Physical Stress


Sitch: Working late, staying up late to finish your to-do list, neglecting to eat well because you can’t tear yourself away from your computer, or anything else that wears your body down causes this type of stress.

Fix: Dr. Daramus suggests creating a task list in a planner and deciding that when those tasks are completed, so are you. Another way to set a similar boundary is to set a deadline for work and treat meals and workouts the same way you treat work projects. Add them to your calendar and treat them like any other commitment.

2. Emotional stress

Sitch: Emotional stress hurts or intrudes on us emotionally. It could be reading too much about uncontrollable tragedies or listening to friends’ problems without expecting anyone to listen.

Fix: You could set a boundary by telling friends you’re there to listen, but you’ll need a chance to express yourself so you feel cared for, says Dr. Daramus. Consider limiting your screen time or muting/unfollowing media sites or accounts that send you into a stress spiral.

3. Social stress

Sitch: You may be worn out from too much socializing, or (given recent events) worried about not having enough.

Fix: Skip one more Zoom happy hour where you’ll have the same conversation as the last five Zoom parties. Instead, read, listen to music, or engage in a relaxing hobby. If your unease stems from a lack of social events, the opposite rule applies. Suggest a FaceTime or socially distant date with a friend.

4. Burnout

Sitch: Burnout occurs when stress causes physical or mental illness and requires a variety of boundaries, especially if you have multiple responsibilities. That’s mean boundaries may reduce stress.

Fix: Dr. Daramus recommends alerting others to your overwhelm as soon as possible. Take frequent breaks to do something that makes you feel like your life belongs to you instead of everyone else. Keep your personal and professional relationships as reciprocal as possible. And don’t assume others will do the same for you. Ask for help when you need it.

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