There are many coping skills techniques that BPD sufferers can utilize to help themselves manage stressful situations and the emotions that result. You just have to find the one that is most suitable for you. Let us explore the different types of coping skills.
Seek social support
Call someone. It can often help if we talk to other people who are also going through what we are going through. Reach out to others and you may find that it can be helpful when you are struggling with strong emotions. If you can’t find another person who has BPD that you are comfortable talking to, you can call a supportive friend or even a family member. If you truly have no one to call and you need to talk to someone you can call a helpline (for example, in the U.S. you can call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK).
Engage in Behavioral Activation
Think of an activity that might take your mind off a stressful situation. At least for a little while distract yourself, and then refocus. You can prepare a list of highly engaging activities that you can do when you are stressed. Activities such as watching television or spending time on the computer are not too effective because these are passive behaviors. Instead try dancing, yoga, going to the gym, going for a walk, playing the guitar/piano, even cleaning your house, or reorganizing your closet. Choose an activity that will engage and distract you from your current emotions. The activity does not need to be complicated, even something as simple as a warm shower or bath may help. The sensations of the warm water, the smell of your body wash, shampoo, may distract you from the situation that is making you upset.
Engage in Relaxation Exercises
Learn a relaxation exercises such as deep breathing where you find somewhere quiet to sit and focus your attention on your breathing. Breathe slowly, evenly and deeply, be aware of the rising and falling of your stomach with each breath. Or progressive muscle relaxation where you tense and relax each part of your body. Sometimes you can even use music, to create emotions that are the opposite of the one you are currently struggling with. If you feel anxiety, you can play something slow, if you are feeling depressed you can play something that may be upbeat or a piece that make you happy.
Practice grounding yourself
There are exercise that are designed to keep you “grounded" in the “now" (present moment). These exercises will help prevent you from getting caught up in the replaying of events in your head, creating worry about the future, regret about the past or zoning out. An example of a grounding exercise would be:-
- Mindfulness Meditation. This meditation method help you observe the rise and fall of your emotions. You are required to pay attention to the feeling you are currently experiencing, let yourself experience that emotion without trying to block it, suppress it, or hold on to it. Acknowledge that feeling then let it go.
Praying and letting your emotions ride out
Some BPD sufferers may find comfort in prayers, even if you are not a religious person, prayers can sometimes help when you are stressed. When encountering strong emotions people with BPD may also get the urge to engage in harmful activities, like self harm or drinking, doing drugs. Try to remember that these emotions will subside. In the meantime you can help yourself by using a timer, set it for 10 minutes and wait for 10 minutes, letting your emotions ride out.
Self-Help by processing your emotions and expression
Engage in self for Borderline Personality Disorder can come in the form of learning to process or express your emotions. There are many ways that you can express yourself, some people find that writing in journal or a blog helps, others like to draw or paint. Research has found that expressive writing can have positive consequences, such as promoting better physical health and reducing psychological symptoms. However BPD sufferers have to find what is most suitable for them, to some people these type of strategies could be overwhelming and stressful.