Managing Emotions with BPD: Coping Strategies and Self-Care

Living with borderline personality disorder (BPD) can be a challenging experience, especially when it comes to managing emotions. People with BPD tend to experience intense and rapidly shifting emotional states, which can make it difficult to regulate their emotions effectively. However, with the right coping strategies and self-care techniques, it is possible to manage emotions and improve overall well-being. In this article, we will discuss some effective coping strategies and self-care techniques for managing emotions with BPD.

Understanding BPD and Emotions

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a mental health condition characterized by intense and unstable emotions, self-image, and relationships. People with BPD tend to experience emotions more intensely and frequently than the general population. They may struggle with emotional regulation, leading to impulsive and self-destructive behaviors.

BPD can make it challenging to navigate daily life, as it can interfere with work, relationships, and social activities. However, with the right strategies, people with BPD can learn to manage their emotions more effectively.

Coping Strategies for Managing Emotions

Mindfulness Practices

Mindfulness practices such as meditation, yoga, and deep breathing exercises can be helpful for managing intense emotions. These practices can help individuals become more aware of their emotional experiences and learn to regulate their emotions more effectively.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a type of therapy that has been shown to be effective in helping individuals with borderline personality disorder (BPD) manage their emotions. DBT was developed by Marsha Linehan in the 1980s and has since been widely used to treat BPD, as well as other mental health conditions.

DBT is a type of cognitive-behavioral therapy that incorporates mindfulness and acceptance-based strategies. It focuses on developing coping skills to manage emotional dysregulation, which is a hallmark of BPD. DBT teaches individuals to identify and regulate their emotions effectively, and to develop healthy interpersonal relationships.

DBT is typically delivered in a group setting, although it can also be delivered individually. It typically involves both individual therapy sessions and group therapy sessions. Individual therapy sessions focus on developing individual coping skills, while group therapy sessions provide a supportive and non-judgmental space for individuals to practice their skills and receive feedback. Contact a counselling therapist in Orillia for more information.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is another type of therapy that can be effective in treating borderline personality disorder (BPD). CBT is a type of talk therapy that focuses on identifying and changing negative thought patterns and behaviors that contribute to emotional dysregulation. CBT is a goal-oriented and collaborative approach to therapy that can help individuals develop coping strategies for managing intense emotions.

In CBT for BPD, the therapist and the individual work together to identify negative thought patterns that contribute to emotional dysregulation, such as black-and-white thinking, catastrophizing, and all-or-nothing thinking. The therapist then helps the individual develop strategies to challenge and change these thought patterns.

One common CBT technique used in treating BPD is cognitive restructuring. This technique involves identifying negative thought patterns and replacing them with more realistic and positive thoughts. For example, if an individual is experiencing intense anxiety in social situations, they may have the negative thought that “everyone is judging me.” The therapist would work with the individual to challenge this thought, and replace it with a more realistic thought, such as “it’s okay to feel anxious in social situations, and it’s unlikely that everyone is judging me.”

Support Groups

Joining a support group can be a valuable resource for individuals with BPD. Support groups offer a safe and non-judgmental space for individuals to discuss their experiences, share coping strategies, and receive emotional support.

Self-Care Techniques for Managing Emotions


Regular exercise has been shown to have a positive impact on mental health, including reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression. Exercise can also help regulate emotions by releasing endorphins, which can improve mood.


Eating a balanced and nutritious diet can also have a positive impact on mental health. Eating regularly and including foods that are high in protein and healthy fats can help stabilize mood and energy levels.


Getting enough sleep is essential for overall well-being, including managing emotions. Individuals with BPD may struggle with sleep disturbances, such as insomnia or nightmares. Creating a consistent sleep routine and practicing good sleep hygiene can be helpful in promoting better sleep.

Hobbies and Activities

Engaging in hobbies and activities can also be helpful in managing emotions. Finding activities that are enjoyable and engaging can help distract from intense emotions and provide a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.


Practicing self-compassion involves treating oneself with kindness and understanding, particularly during difficult emotional experiences. This can involve acknowledging and validating emotions, rather than criticizing oneself for experiencing them.

How to Set Boundaries

Setting boundaries is an important aspect of managing relationships with individuals who have BPD. People with BPD may struggle with maintaining appropriate boundaries and may have difficulty understanding and respecting the boundaries of others. Therefore, it is essential to communicate boundaries clearly and consistently.

Here are some tips for setting boundaries with someone with BPD:

  • Be clear and direct: When saying no to someone with borderline personality disorder, it is important to be clear and direct in your communication. Clearly express what you are comfortable with and what you are not comfortable with. Avoid being vague or ambiguous, as this can be confusing for individuals with BPD.
  • Be consistent: Consistency is essential when setting boundaries with someone with BPD. If you make a boundary, stick to it. If you make exceptions, this can be confusing and can undermine the boundary you have set.
  • Use “I” statements: When setting boundaries, use “I” statements to communicate your feelings and needs. For example, “I feel uncomfortable when you raise your voice at me” or “I need some space right now.” This can help the other person understand how their behavior is affecting you.
  • Validate their feelings: People with BPD may have intense emotions, and it is important to validate their feelings while still maintaining your boundaries. You can acknowledge their feelings while still asserting your own needs and boundaries.
  • Seek support: Setting boundaries with someone with BPD can be challenging, and it is important to seek support from friends, family, or a mental health professional. A mental health professional can help you develop effective communication strategies and provide guidance on setting and maintaining boundaries.


Managing emotions with BPD can be a challenging experience, but it is possible to learn effective coping strategies and self-care techniques to improve overall well-being. Mindfulness practices, therapy, support groups, exercise, good nutrition, sleep, hobbies and activities, and self-compassion can all be helpful in managing emotions with BPD. You can also talk to a counselling therapist in Huntsville for more information. While there is no cure for BPD, with the right strategies and support, individuals with BPD can lead fulfilling and meaningful lives.


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