QUIZ: Do you have boundary anxiety? Here's 9 steps to setting boundaries
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QUIZ: Do you have boundary anxiety? Here’s 9 steps to setting boundaries


Do you have boundary anxiety? Psychologist Professor Margareta James puts together a quiz to test your personal boundaries. Plus she reveals 9 steps to setting boundaries 

In our physical world, we set security boundaries when it comes to protecting property and privacy. When protecting our internal world, we rely on a more subjective internal system when our psychological and emotional boundaries are threatened.

Some people worry that boundaries will make them seem selfish or unfriendly and feel guilty about setting them – however it could not be further from the truth.

Boundaries are very much needed to keep stress at bay when it comes to relationships in every setting, so it is definitely worth giving them a thought. We need to set time for energy, space, resources and boundaries to protect ourselves.

Some people worry that boundaries will make them seem selfish or unfriendly

Saying no is a skill. It needs practice for some. If you are one of those people who blurts out yes to everything other’s request from you before you can think it through and you cannot seem to be able to say no, then consider this…

Every time you say yes to someone or something – you are already saying NO to EVERYTHING ELSE!

Especially if the ‘something’ you said YES to – is something you don’t want to do – it will ultimately lead to resentment. I am not talking about compromise now and then, I am talking about continuously putting your own needs and preferences on hold, so you can please other people when you feel that you ‘should’ because they need you.

You also need you. So, think about when you are going to be ‘The First ‘on your priority list. It is equally as important as sometimes putting others first.

To find out if your boundaries are in need of a serious overhaul – take this quiz below…

Compiled by psychologist Professor Margareta James. Professor Margareta James is a Psychologist working with traditional herbal medicine brand A.Vogel and she is also the Founder of the Harley Street Wellbeing Clinic.

READ MORE: 7 physical signs of stress you shouldn’t ignore – plus what can help

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QUIZ: How good are your personal boundaries?

1. ‘I find that I cannot say no to things even when I don’t feel like doing it or have the energy for it’ 

  • A  – rarely
  • B – sometimes
  • C – often

2. ‘I feel guilty about saying no to others’ requests’  

  • A  – rarely
  • B – sometimes
  • C – often

3. ‘I find myself trying to fix other people’s problems even at the detriment of my own needs’ 

  • A  – rarely
  • B – sometimes
  • C – often

4. ‘I get angry & upset when others say no to me’ 

  • A  – rarely
  • B – sometimes
  • C – often

5. ‘I feel I am often ‘used’ because I don’t stand up for my own needs’

  • A  – rarely
  • B – sometimes
  • C – often

6. ‘I feel too weak to voice my own needs  / I cannot seem to make myself heard and I get frustrated’ 

  • A  – rarely
  • B – sometimes
  • C – often

7. ‘I feel resentment towards people when their requests put too much pressure on me’

  • A  – rarely
  • B – sometimes
  • C – often

8. ‘I get angry / anxious about other’s requests that overwhelm me’

  • A  – rarely
  • B – sometimes
  • C -often

9. ‘I feel uncomfortable expressing my own needs (including my body, energy, time, resources) without feeling guilty, fearful, anxious or stressed’

  • A  – rarely
  • B – sometimes
  • C – often

10. ‘I am uncomfortable with expressing my true feelings and needs without getting stressed’

  • A  – rarely
  • B – sometimes
  • C – often

11. ‘I get preoccupied by other people’s problems and spend a lot of my energy trying to help them’

  • A  – rarely
  • B – sometimes
  • C – often

12. ‘People can ask – any time, day or night – for my help and I immediately run to their rescue’

  • A  – rarely
  • B – sometimes
  • C – often

13. ‘People think of me as very friendly and I tend to allow them into my private space quickly’

  • A  – rarely
  • B – sometimes
  • C – often

14. ‘I tend to overshare my personal information and views with others quickly which I may regret later’

  • A  – rarely
  • B – sometimes
  • C – often


Mostly A’s

Saying ‘no’ is never a problem for you as you have such firm boundaries. It’s important to you that other people respect these boundaries and in return you respect those of the people around you.

You’re in touch with what is good for you emotionally and how to express your own needs – even if it means you may need to refuse requests from others when they want your time, energy or other resources.

you may go too far the other way and adhere too rigidly to your own life rules

You’re comfortable with making yourself heard and not afraid to accept when others say ‘no’ to you. You have a well-developed self-awareness and know exactly what you do and won’t want.

The only downside is you may go too far the other way and adhere too rigidly to your own life rules. To avoid this, try to push yourself out of your comfort zone every now and again by not immediately saying ‘no’ and trying some new experiences that might enrich your life.

READ MORE: ‘The spiritual awakening retreat that empowered me to embrace a new chapter’

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Mostly B’s

You have some boundaries for yourself and some awareness of your own needs, however, you find it difficult to express them at times.

When you feel more confident and in a safe place, you find standing up for yourself easier. But other times you allow people to call upon you to solve their problems – even when you’re tired or overwhelmed yourself.

You find it difficult to say ‘no’ to certain people in your life. Think for a second – are you afraid that they may think you’re selfish or mean? Do you sometimes feel anxious about how others perceive you and what they think of you?

other times you allow people to call upon you to solve their problems

If you find yourself exhausted from the demands of your own life as well as others’ requests, you need to re-think your boundaries to protect your energy and resources.

What do you need? Respecting and prioritising your own needs will help restore your energy levels and eventually, setting healthy boundaries will ensure you feel less stressed and anxious all-round.

READ MORE: Look after yourself: 6 self-care essentials for a happier, healthier you


Mostly C’s

You seem to be using up a lot of your energy figuring out the solutions to other people’s problems. You’re a good listener and getting involved in other’s lives probably gets you some ‘thank-yous’ in return.

However, you also pay the price for it, sometimes getting criticism or anger back, which really upsets you. Think about how you could set clear boundaries for yourself when it comes to these relationships.

what other nice things you could be doing with your time and resources

Saying ‘yes’ to everyone means you’re actually saying ‘no’ to your own needs, which ultimately leads to resentment. Ask yourself, what other nice things you could be doing with your time and resources.

When protecting our own needs, we need to be okay with conflict sometimes – without feeling anxious or guilty. Doing the right thing sometimes means allowing others to work out a solution for themselves. Get comfortable with stepping back from others’ worries and focusing on you – and see your anxiety levels and overall happiness soar.

READ MORE: 6 daily self-care tips that will make you fall in love with yourself

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9 steps to setting healthy boundaries

Step #1 Listen to your body

Our bodies always give us signals when we’re close to reaching our emotional limit. Did you feel your jaw tighten or your fists clench? Maybe you broke into a sweat? For some it’s a dry throat, others a tight feeling in the pit of their stomach.

Whatever the cue, listen to what your body is telling you and spend some time trying to figure out exactly what why you feel so uncomfortable and pushed to your limits.

Step #2 Work out your priorities

Never forget that your time is both a valuable resource and a limited one. If you try to please everyone, you’ll not only end up in burnout but also deny yourself the pleasure of experiencing something fun or relaxing for yourself.

Never forget that your time is both a valuable resource and a limited one

Write a list of priorities – including necessities and things that just make you happy – and compare it to what you’re spending your time and energy on in real time. If there is a big gap, then that’s where you need to begin setting some clear boundaries.

Step #3 Be clear about what you mean

Practice saying ‘no’ when you don’t want to do something. Start with a small, easy no and work up from there. Remember there is no need to explain yourself or offer an excuse. Just saying ‘Thanks, but I can’t this time’ or even just: ‘No, thank you’ are perfectly acceptable answers.

READ MORE: Yoga, Pilates, Barre – what’s the best workout for your Zodiac Sign?

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Step #4 Accept you might feel uncomfortable at first

If you’re not used to setting clear boundaries, you may find yourself feeling anxious or guilty when you point out your personal limit. This is normal but the more you do it, the easier it will become. Taking a few deep breaths to calm your mind before speaking can really help.

Step #5 Be prepared for negatively

Don’t be surprised if some people react badly to you pushing back and saying no for a change.

It’s not your job to make it okay for them. They will deal with it

People who have been used to you saying yes to them to everything have been taking advantage of your good nature or worse have a controlling or manipulative personality will not enjoy you setting a boundary when they are used to getting their own way.

But stand firm and don’t waver. It’s not your job to make it okay for them. They will deal with it. Learn to let it go.

Step #6 Stay flexible

It’s normal to have different boundaries for different people and types of relationships, but be open to the idea they may shift over time. As long as you feel comfortable, it’s fine to reassess boundaries from time to time – as being too rigid can be as problematic as being too pliable.

Getting them right for you is the key – and of course accepting the boundaries of other people in your life.

READ MORE: Learning to love yourself: 7 ways to overcome self-doubt 

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Step #7 Find relaxation with herbs

Always making others a priority can lead to feelings of overwhelm and anxiety. Passiflora is a herb that works by boosting the levels of GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) in the brain. This compound lowers stressful brain activity and helps to induce feelings of calm and relaxation.

Try: A. Vogel Passiflora Complex Spray, a great pocket-size remedy for on-the-go relief’, £12.99

Step #8 Stroke away stress

‘Havening’ is an increasingly popular technique that helps reduce stress by stimulating calming brain waves, which are said to put the body in a more relaxed state.

It involves tapping or stroking your face or arms (from your shoulders to your elbows) or rubbing your palms together for 5 to 10 minutes. The great thing is you can do it anywhere for an instant effect. Visit:  to find out more.

Step #9 Breathe easy

Practise this easy, but effective breathing technique to restore calm:

  • Relax all the muscles in your body and consciously slow your breathing rate by half.
  • Close your eyes and inhale through your nose, filling your belly with air.
  • Hold for five seconds, then exhale slowly through your mouth.
  • Repeated 20 times, this will bring your pulse rate down and ensure stress ebbs away.


The Healthista Menopause Pack is a fully comprehensive online video workshop, led by Dr Dawn Harper; affordable, accessible and covering all aspects of the menopause, for those who need it most.

With expert advice and information from seven credible menopause industry experts, we hope that this online resource will help women navigate common health and wellness changes and challenges they may experience before, after and during the menopause.

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