You’ve probably heard over and over again about the importance of setting limits and priorities. You’ve probably also heard that not having these things in life can have extremely negative effects on your well-being. But how?
There are too many ways that these aspects can benefit your life, but one of them is by lowering your stress levels. Here are 10 ways priorities and limits make your life stress free.
1. Reduce conflict
Conflict is a great source of stress for many. Lack of clear boundaries or well-decided priorities can increase the chances of conflict. This is because having no boundaries means that there are many potential points for resentment to begin to form. Things that can potentially turn into conflict due to building resentment include:
- Feeling taken advantage of by those who know they have no limits
- You are expected to keep everything at a high priority level
- Repeatedly saying “yes” when you prefer to say “no.”
But when your limits are well defined and you enforce them well, these problems will not arise. You will have respect for your time and space and will be able to say “no” to things when your plate is full. Without priorities and limits set, relationships can quickly fall apart with the contempt it may begin to harbor.
When you don’t have priorities, you push yourself more and more and force yourself to do much more work because you are unable to select the most important tasks. This can quickly lead to burnout, which is a form of mental exhaustion that leaves you unable to perform your usual tasks at a preferable speed and quality level.
According to a study published in New Directions for Youth Development magazine titled “Setting and Maintaining Limits in Teacher-Student Relationships,” teachers say that setting limits on their work can help them stay in their profession longer while avoiding burnout. . The ability to set and maintain healthy boundaries made them feel more fulfilled, lowered their stress levels, and added a positive influence on your personal life.
3. Maintains a healthy emotional energy
People think of physical and even mental energy a little more seriously than emotional energy. But it is possible to burn out emotionally due to lack of limits. As mentioned above, having no boundaries can lead to a build-up of resentment. This can often affect your identity, self-esteem, self-worth, and even your confidence for self-defense.
You must set limits if you want to have some energy for yourself. More importantly, emotional boundaries can change depending on your current emotional state, and you need to be able to communicate that with others. For example, when you’ve just been through a breakup, you’re much less likely to want to hear a friend rant about family problems than if you were in a happier frame of mind.
4. It makes you more compassionate
It is a common and unhealthy mistake to think that it is mean or rude to set limits. While it’s true that setting limits can make some people feel a bit uncomfortable, especially in the beginning, the fact is that limits will make you the opposite of cruel!
In fact, limits can make you more compassionate. This is because you are respecting other people by being direct with them about where your limits are and you are more likely to respect their limits as well. It might sound harsh, but it’s a kind act that ensures no one is left guessing with you.
But what does compassion have to do with stress? Well, kindness is a kind of prosocial behavior, which is known to:
- Increase positive thinking
- Help with stress management
- Helps reduce perceived stress
- Improves emotional balance
So basically, setting limits is a sign of compassion, and compassion can help lower your stress levels!
5. Reduce the risk of codependency
Codependency refers to behaviors in relationships that involve mismatched priorities, lack of boundaries, and unhealthy attachment styles. It can happen in any relationship, be it romantic, platonic, family, professional, or anything else. Codependency implies:
- Reduce your own needs in priority levels
- Worrying too much about other people’s needs
- Lack of setting limits for a healthy emotional space
- Lack of autonomy, independence or self-sufficiency of one or both parties.
- The subconscious belief that only others can give you self-esteem
Failure to set boundaries can cause people to form codependent bonds. Someone with a codependent personality may have a more difficult time setting these limits to begin with to add fuel to the fire. If you don’t set limits, you may become codependently attached to someone or become the attachment of codependency.
Codependent relationships are toxic at their core, depleting positive thinking, energy and identity over time. On the surface, it’s grip at its worst. It’s a surefire way to end up stressed and even traumatized on a deeper level, especially if this occurs in a close, personal relationship. Being able to set limits and priorities will prevent this from happening.
6. Helps keep your life balanced
When you don’t set limits, you tend to accept more responsibilities than you can handle. The same goes for a lack of priorities. Without a clear idea of what to focus on, you end up piling up too much on your plate, unable to say “no” and juggling too many at once.
Sounds stressful, right? Well, obviously, that’s because it is! The lack of limits means that you cannot balance your life; you will always have something to do, even when you have nothing left to give.
Setting boundaries means being aware of your limits and how much space you have to accommodate others, whether it be physically, emotionally, or mentally. You’ll know when it’s time to put your foot down and turn someone down and when you have the ability to add more to your to-do list. It is a good way to maintain a balance without stress.
Vulnerability is a surprisingly valuable trait. Suppressing everything and putting on a brave face in front of everyone, even your closest friends and associates, is often unhealthy. This doesn’t mean you should throw tantrums every time something goes wrong, and you certainly shouldn’t! But that’s where the limits come in.
Having limits means that you will feel more secure when talking with friends, family, and other people. It means that those close to you will understand what you need when you are vulnerable, and they will also know how far you can go before you overtake. It basically means that you can show off those softer sides without worrying about hurting yourself or others.
Vulnerability is a key factor in talking about emotions, seeking help from others, and being honest about struggles. If you are not doing these things, your stress levels will increase as you will not receive support and you will have to somehow keep all your feelings hidden within yourself. It is not healthy!
Keep in mind, of course, that there is a difference between being vulnerable and simply over-sharing. It would be best if you didn’t share too much to make others uncomfortable, and this should be avoided with firm boundaries regardless.
8. It gives you space for personal care
Taking care of yourself is crucial, but you can’t do that in a positive way if you don’t learn to set limits. Without self-care, you’ll be increasingly stressed, burning at both ends without ever stopping to make sure you’re okay. Having strong limits and prioritizing your self-care means:
- You will have time to rest and recover, reducing your stress levels by matching your schedule
- You will have more energy and time to do the things you love and enjoy without feeling guilty.
- Your needs, be they mental, physical or emotional, will be expressed in a healthy way and met by those closest to you.
- You can organize your time so that other people do not take over your life
9. It can help strengthen relationships
It’s not uncommon for people to feel a little uncomfortable or even a little offended when they first communicate boundaries. For those who have known you for a long time, the sudden inclusion of boundaries in your relationship can be cause for concern.
But if you explain your need to set limits well and communicate clearly, positively, and kindly, in the long run, having priorities and limits strengthens your relationships. This is because limits will do these things:
- Stop unsafe and toxic patterns in relationships, like codependency, taking for granted, and overextending.
- Allow all parties in a relationship to feel comfortable putting themselves first when necessary
- Preventing relationships from becoming overwhelming, especially new ones
- Communicate differences in the language of love, comfort and preferences in a healthy and direct way.
- Show who your true friends are, who you can trust, and who to cut out of your life.
A stronger social support system of healthy relationships reduces stressful conflicts and can help you better manage your stress levels. You may not realize it, but having good friends often means having a good circle to keep you afloat through tough times.
10. Defend your rights
As a human being, you have many rights that you could set aside due to lack of limits. But these rights are the bare minimum for your physical and mental well-being, and without them, you will surely be the victim of stress-related problems and other struggles. For example, with limits, you know that you have the right to:
- Respectful treatment of others
- Make mistakes and learn from them
- Say “no” without feeling embarrassed, selfish, or guilty
- Set your own expectations, without the influence of others
- Put your needs first
These rights and limits are the ones that are often lacking in the lives of those who do not know how to protect their priorities. If you want a more positive well-being, make sure you have limits that allow you to enjoy these rights.
Stress is a typical part of everyday life. There is no real way to escape the clutches of something like stress. But making sure you have set priorities and limits set could go a long way toward keeping your world a little more peaceful!