Alternative Coping Skills for Bipolar Disorder

April 12, 2017 Geralyn Dexter

Coping skills for bipolar disorder are important and learning alternative bipolar coping skills are complement traditional ones.

Alternative coping skills for bipolar disorder can be important thanks to the fact that living with bipolar disorder can feel like you're on an emotional roller coaster. Dramatic and erratic shifts in mood, energy levels, and your ability to function on a daily basis are affected. These mood fluctuations can wreak havoc throughout your personal and professional life. Learning to cope with intense emotions and changes with alternative coping skills for bipolar can help you feel more in control of your mental health.

Coping Skills for Bipolar Disorder

Coping skills are strategies that can help you manage the challenges that living with a mental health condition can present. There are unhealthy and healthy coping techniques. Unhealthy coping skills may provide temporary relief, but can increase stress in their aftermath. Healthy coping strategies can give you the tools to continue to manage distressing thoughts or emotions. Examples of healthy self-care strategies include talking to a friend or loved one, exercise, practicing mindfulness meditation, journaling, listening to music, or using aromatherapy. Alternative coping strategies are additional techniques that you can add to your toolbox.

Alternative Coping Skills for Bipolar Disorder

Try adding some of the following bipolar disorder alternative coping skills to your list to manage overwhelming emotions.

Paced breathing: Sit in a comfortable position. Start by inhaling for four seconds through your nose. Hold your breath for seven seconds. Open your mouth and exhale for eight seconds. You can repeat this cycle a few times until you begin to feel calm.

Grounding: Take a few deep breaths. Name five things you can see, four things you can touch, three things you can hear, two things you can smell, and complete the exercise by speaking a self-affirming statement to yourself.

Imagery: Close your eyes and imagine yourself in a place that makes you feel safe or produces a feeling of calm. Focusing on building the image by paying attention to what you might see, hear, or feel in this place. Allow yourself to relax.

Progressive muscle relaxation: Find a comfortable position. Choose a muscle group. Focusing on a specific area, tense your muscles. Slowly release the tension and notice how your body begins to relax. You may choose to do this with multiple muscle groups.

Opposite-to-emotion action: Tune into your emotions. Once you're able to label what you're experiencing, engage in an action that would produce the opposite emotion. For example, if you're experiencing depression, doing something active like going for a walk might combat those feelings.

Why You Should Look into Alternative Coping Skills for Bipolar Disorder

Everyone copes differently. Trying a variety of coping skills and discovering what works for you will help strengthen your ability to manage distress or intense emotions by providing you with more options for relief.

APA Reference
Dexter, G. (2017, April 12). Alternative Coping Skills for Bipolar Disorder, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 17 from

Author: Geralyn Dexter

Geralyn Dexter is a mental health counselor, writer, and advocate. She holds a Masters of Science in Mental Health Counseling and is currently working on a terminal degree in Counseling Psychology. She is passionate about psychoeducation, increasing mental health awareness, reducing stigma, and helping others on their journey to wellness. Find Geralyn on Twitter, Google+, Instagram, and Tumblr.

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