Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a mental health condition. It can cause someone to have difficulty managing their emotions. However, there are certain methods for coping with BPD.

BPD affects an individual’s ability to control how they feel. This can lead to intense emotions that can last for extended periods.

Symptoms of BPD can negatively affect a person and their relationships. However, treatments can help improve their quality of life, and certain lifestyle changes can also help them cope with BPD symptoms.

This article discusses how coping skills can benefit BPD. It also lists and explains some coping techniques and how to help a loved one with BPD.

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Coping skills can help someone with BPD reduce intense emotional states. They can also minimize outbursts of emotion and physical aggression and help people from potentially damaging their relationships.

Coping skills may also help improve a person’s confidence and help them handle different situations.

Read about borderline personality disorder.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) suggests that eating a balanced diet and exercising may be beneficial to someone with BPD.

A meta-analysis from 2022 found that at least 30 minutes of physical exercise could help improve a person’s ability to regulate their emotions.

However, a study from 2022 noted that 20 minutes of physical exercise did not produce a significant reduction in negative feelings in people with BPD. Researchers state that this result may be due to a small sample size. Therefore, further research is necessary into the effects of exercise on people with BPD.

NAMI notes that it may be beneficial for someone with BPD to connect with others with the condition. Support groups for BPD allow them to ask questions and share their experiences with those who understand what they are going through.

NAMI also provides a list of resources that may be helpful for someone with BPD who is looking for support. A person can also speak with a healthcare or mental health care professional about BPD support in their area.

A person who has BPD may also seek support from friends or family. A study from 2022 found that perceived social support from significant people helped reduce perceived stress and depressive symptoms in those with the disorder.

NAMI notes that activities, such as yoga, meditation, or tai chi, may help relieve stress in people with BPD.

Additionally, the following activities may benefit a person who has BPD and is feeling restless or angry:

  • exercising
  • listening to loud music
  • practical activities, such as gardening or woodwork

Grounding helps shift a person’s focus from negative emotions to the present. This can help someone who has BPD if they become overwhelmed or disassociated.

Grounding involves the use of a person’s senses. Possible grounding techniques an individual can use include:

  • touching certain materials
  • naming things they can smell
  • focusing on things they can taste
  • watching or studying certain objects
  • listening out for different sounds

Learn more about grounding techniques.

Mindfulness is a form of meditation that involves someone focusing on how they are feeling in the present moment. It allows them to be fully present and focus on their thoughts and feelings without judgment.

Research from 2018 tested the effects of mindfulness on social rejection in people with BPD. Researchers found that those with BPD who practiced mindfulness had a quicker recovery from negative feelings following social rejection than those who did not.

Read more about mindfulness.

Self-soothing is a coping skill that helps a person regulate their emotions. It involves doing activities that they find calming or relaxing. This may include activities such as breathing exercises or taking a hot bath.

A study from 2017 found that doing something positive for themselves helps improve positive feelings in people with BPD. It also helped reduce negative feelings.

Keeping track of mood changes may help those with BPD to determine possible triggers for their symptoms.

Mood diaries may also help individuals process difficult thoughts and feelings. This may help them feel less overwhelmed.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), BPD can cause a person to experience suicidal thoughts or feelings. This means it is important that those with BPD have a plan ready in case they experience a crisis.

A person’s crisis plan should include possible triggers, self-help techniques, and support information. These individuals should share this plan with a healthcare or mental health care professional.

Suicide prevention

If you know someone at immediate risk of self-harm, suicide, or hurting another person:

  • Ask the tough question: “Are you considering suicide?”
  • Listen to the person without judgment.
  • Call 911 or the local emergency number, or text TALK to 741741 to communicate with a trained crisis counselor.
  • Stay with the person until professional help arrives.
  • Try to remove any weapons, medications, or other potentially harmful objects.

If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, a prevention hotline can help. The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is available 24 hours a day at 988. During a crisis, people who are hard of hearing can use their preferred relay service or dial 711 then 988.

Find more links and local resources.

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There are various ways a person can help a loved one with BPD. These include learning about the condition, communicating clearly, and setting boundaries.

Learn about BPD

Learning about BPD can help someone understand their loved one’s condition. Education about the disorder can help an individual understand that their loved one is experiencing symptoms of a condition and does not mean to hurt them.

Practice self-care

It is important for someone to look after themselves when they are helping a loved one with BPD. The NIMH recommends counseling for those who have a loved one with the disorder.

Communicate clearly

The NIMH recommends offering support, understanding, and patience to a loved one with BPD. A person may also encourage their loved one to find treatment.

Set boundaries

It may be useful for a person to set boundaries when they have a loved one with BPD. This involves setting certain limits, such as not continuing a conversation if they experience verbal abuse.

Learn how BPD can affect relationships.

BPD is a mental health condition that can cause someone to have trouble regulating their mood. There are various methods people can use to help cope with their symptoms.

If a person is experiencing BPD symptoms or finding it difficult to manage them, they should speak with a healthcare or mental health professional about treatment options.