Skip to Content

Navigating BPD: 10 Effective Coping Strategies

A person with borderline personality disorder often finds they struggle to control their emotions. They may have mood swings, engage in self-harm, experience suicidal thoughts, or act impulsively. These symptoms all have one thing in common: emotion dysregulation. Sadly, individuals might engage in unhealthy behaviors as a way to handle the emotional pain they are experiencing. How can they bring these symptoms under control?

Listen to Music

Music can help people learn more about their emotions, particularly when they struggle to put these emotions into words. An individual with borderline personality disorder will often find their mood mimics the mood of the music they are listening to. Try to choose music that is the opposite of the mood currently being experienced to help bring symptoms under control.


Exercise is good for more than just weight loss and cardiovascular health. It can also boost a person’s mood. Researchers are looking at whether physical activity can help with emotion regulation, but more work needs to be done in this area before they can definitively say it does.


Behavioral activation is a strategy that helps many individuals with BPD. The goal of this therapy is to change behaviors that help feed their emotional responses. Cognitive-behavioral therapists often use this technique with those who are depressed and find it helps patients with BPD develop coping skills related to regulating their emotions. Redirecting the person to a highly engaging activity can help them bring these emotions under control.

Social Support

Many people with BPD struggle to maintain relationships. They lack social support and interactions with others are frequently negative. Spending time with others and working on relationship skills is of benefit to these men and women. A professional may help with improving these skills.

Build Tolerance

Individuals with BPD need to learn to control their impulsive behaviors.  Practice identifying emotions and remember that they are transient. Most emotional reactions last only a few minutes. Try to ride them out for ten minutes. That period is typically enough to bring the emotions under control.

Practice Mindfulness

Focus on the present moment and accept any thoughts and feelings. Dialectical behavior therapy emphasizes this technique, which was created specifically for men and women with BPD. This practice helps a person become more in tune with their inner states.


Grounding techniques help bring a person back to the present. Hold an object, smell food, or hold an ice cube in the hand for a few minutes. Pay attention to the sensations to redirect the emotions and relax the mind and body.

Deep Breaths

Stop and take a few deep breaths. Doing so decreases acute distress and also has positive long-term effects. Find somewhere quiet and focus on breathing. Every breath should be slow, deep, and even. Watch the chest and stomach move with each breath to remain grounded.

Turn to Prayer

Prayer can help when a person is stressed. Spirituality appears to affect a person’s emotions and coping skills. Regular spiritual experiences lead to positive feelings, according to researchers in one study.

Help Others

Helping others feels good and distracts a person from their stressful feelings. This act doesn’t need to be big. Small gestures help men and women with BPD connect with others.

A person with borderline personality disorder can learn coping skills to help with their emotions. Seek professional help to learn these skills. They are of great help to those who struggle with emotion dysregulation.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.