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How Setting Boundaries Can Help with Anxiety

Kathy Kinghorn

February 23, 2023


  • Healthy boundaries make it possible to focus on our own needs and communicate them to others effectively, reducing the anxiety caused by overcommitment, self-neglecting, and feeling unsupported.
  • By learning how to set healthy boundaries, we can strengthen our relationships to others and ourselves while avoiding negative emotional triggers.
  • Most people experience anxiety at some point in their lives, but leaving it unregulated can cause numerous physical, mental, and emotional difficulties—including panic attacks, fatigue, and depression.
  • Building a plan with a qualified therapist is an effective way to set boundaries that reduce your anxiety and help you thrive in your daily life. Contact Therapy Utah for help finding an appropriate therapeutic match.

Setting healthy boundaries helps us prioritize our own needs and communicate them to others. This reduces the anxiety associated with overcommitment and the stress that comes with feeling unsupported. Healthy boundaries also help us improve relationships, reduce our exposure to triggers, and allow us to develop a deeper understanding of ourselves.

Learning how to set healthy boundaries can take time, but Therapy Utah’s individual therapy services can help. By creating specific plans for clients based on proven methodologies, we’ve successfully empowered countless people to control their anxiety—and we’re here to share our knowledge with you.

Read on to learn more, or contact Therapy Utah now to match with an experienced therapist who can help you face your anxiety with confidence.

Two pairs of feet separated by painted yellow line to symbolize setting boundaries
Via Adobe Stock.

Examples of Healthy Boundaries Include:

  • Saying “no” to a request that would overcommit your time or energy.
  • Communicating your needs and expectations in a relationship to avoid feeling unsupported or misunderstood.
  • Establishing personal time for rest, relaxation, or self-care activities.
  • Avoiding or limiting exposure to people or situations that trigger stress or anxiety.
  • Establishing rules for how you want to be treated in personal or professional relationships.
  • Taking a break or stepping away from situations that are overwhelming or emotionally taxing.

It’s important to recognize that everyone sets boundaries differently, based on their experiences and capacity to deal with different situations or the emotions they cause. Working with a therapist to understand what you need is an excellent first step towards setting boundaries that will be effective.

How Anxiety Can Overwhelm

Almost everyone experiences anxiety at some point, but leaving it unchecked can allow it to become overwhelming and make functioning in your daily life noticeably more difficult. Left to grow, anxiety may create persistent feelings of worry or fear that interfere with work, relationships, and other commitments or responsibilities.

Man with hands over face in shadowy room to symbolize unmanaged anxiety and need for boundaries
Via Adobe Stock.

Unmanaged Anxiety May Lead To:

  • Excessive worry or fear about everyday situations or upcoming events
  • Restlessness, irritability, or trouble sleeping
  • Fatigue, muscle tension, or physical aches and pains
  • Panic attacks or feelings of being out of control
  • Avoidance of social situations or activities due to fear or anxiety
  • Obsessive or compulsive behaviors
  • Trouble concentrating or focusing on tasks
  • Eating disorders or substance abuse as a way to cope with anxiety
  • Depression or feelings of hopelessness
Woman raising finger to symbolize setting boundary by saying no
Via Adobe Stock.

4 Ways Healthy Boundaries Reduce Anxiety

Much research shows that learning to set boundaries more effectively helps people deal with symptoms of depression and anxiety. These benefits can apply equally to situations at work, at home, and in your personal life. Here are a few of the clearest and most direct ways in which you can benefit from healthier boundaries:

Reducing Overcommitment

By setting healthy boundaries, you can say “no” to commitments that are too stressful or overwhelming. This can help reduce overcommitment and alleviate anxiety associated with feeling like you have too much to do.

Improving Relationships

Healthy boundaries can help improve relationships by enabling you to communicate your needs and expectations clearly. This can reduce the anxiety associated with feeling unsupported or misunderstood.

Improving Self-Care

Prioritizing your own needs through healthy boundaries can also improve self-care, allowing you to spend more time and energy on activities that bring you joy and help you relax. This can reduce the anxiety that often appears when you neglect your own well-being.

Reducing Exposure to Triggers

Setting healthy boundaries can also help reduce exposure to triggers that may cause anxiety. For example, avoiding social situations or people that cause you stress can help reduce anxiety associated with those triggers.

Building a Plan to Reduce Your Anxiety

Now that you understand the ways in which boundaries can help you manage anxiety (and the risks of leaving anxiety unchecked), you can start to consider what boundaries will allow you to put your anxiety in check and thrive in your everyday life.

For help identifying effective boundaries and creating a strategy to implement them, contact Therapy Utah. We’ll be happy to match you with a therapist whose experience, qualifications, and communication style can help you move towards your goals.

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