If you experience the symptoms of BPD, you may wish to try some of the following self-help tools and strategies that others with BPD have found useful. These suggestions are derived from an online survey conducted in 2015.
Identify and engage in things that help me:
- Express/respond to my intense emotions
- Distract myself
- Distract by contact with other people
- Comfort/take care of myself
- Ground myself and focus
- Stay focused
- Relax/become calm
- Do a body scan to identify what I am feeling in my body
- Do a feelings check — what am I feeling in this moment?
- Ask what five things can I see, hear, and feel?
Things that help me with my relationships
- State a boundary and stick to it
- Remove myself from a situation rather than say something I know I will regret
- Apologise if I have done something that warrants an apology
- Request (not demand) for someone to change something that isn’t working
- If I am feeling rage, remove myself from the situation and wait until the feeling passes.
Things that help me remember to take care of myself
- Remind myself to eat healthy food even when I don’t feel like it
- Keep regular appointments with my support network even if I am feeling 'okay'
- Reach out, speak with someone I trust
- Take medication as prescribed (in consultation with prescribing doctor)
Things that help me when I am in crisis
- Create a personalised crisis plan when I am well
- Let someone know how I am feeling
- Take medication prescribed for 'when necessary' (p.r.n.)
- Kick cardboard boxes around outside.
Things that help me to relax
- Meditation, yoga, breathing techniques
- Listening to music.
Things that help me comfort myself
- Pick/ buy fresh flowers
- Pat an animal
- Cuddle a soft toy
- Eat a favourite treat
- Have a soothing drink
- Change the sheets on my bed
- Look myself in the eyes in the mirror and say: 'it's okay to feel this way'
- Have a bubble bath
- Speak to myself like I’m a distressed, small child
- Use perfume/hand cream
- Wear comfortable clothes
- Sing favourite songs
- Hold a safe, comforting object
- Sit in a safe place
- Write in my diary or speak with another (empathic) person
- Hug someone/hug myself
- Keep the light on/music on to sleep.
Things that help me distract myself
- Watch a movie (or re-watch something familiar)
- Exercise — walking/running/dance/stroll on the beach
- Do puzzles or a hobby.
Things that help me with my anger
- Punch a pillow
- Find a private place and scream (e.g. in the car)
- Cut a block of wood
- Shake like a dog.