These are some ideas for helping people delay or avoid self-harm that you might wish to consider – they’ve all been suggested by people who self-harm. Some ideas might seem ridiculous, but others might work. Different people find that different things help, and it isn’t failure if you try something and it doesn’t help. You will be able to add things which you have discovered.
Letting it out physically:
- Scream as loud as you can.
- Hit a cushion or punching bag or throw a cushion against a wall.
- Squeeze a stress ball.
- Play loud music and dance energetically – be as wild as you like.
- Write words on yourself with a red marker pen.
- Spend some energy - go for a walk, swim, go to the gym, ride a bike or go running.
Trying to work out how you’re feeling:
- Ask yourself “Do I feel angry?’ ‘Do I feel anxious?’ ‘What about?’
- Ask yourself ‘What would the object you are using to self harm say if it could talk to me?’
- Write a letter to someone you’re angry with (hurt by etc.) saying how you feel (No need to send it).
- Write a list of your achievements.
- Write a letter to yourself saying ‘I love you because….’
- Make a list of things you’re thankful for.
- Make a wish list.
Talking about it:
- Talk to a friend.
- Call a helpline.
- Join a chat room.
- Call your therapist.
Using your Creativity:
- Draw, paint, collage, paper mache, finger paint or sculpt in clay - to express what you want to do or what you are feeling.
- Write a poem, story, song, joke, autobiography, parody or musical.
- Write a diary or journal or read old entries (unless there might be triggers).
- Write an online journal.
- Scribble a word again and again to say how you’re feeling e.g. ‘lonely’, ‘angry’.
- Deface a magazine.
- Take some photos.
- Play an instrument or sing to music as loud as you can.
- Put on music which expresses how you are feeling.
- Write out the soundtrack to your life if it were a film.
- Imagine a colour which expresses your feelings then change it in your mind to another,
- Make a memory box or scrapbook,
- Write an alternative ending to a story.
- Create your own cartoon characters or legends.
- Have a bath or shower.
- Stay in bed.
- Use aromatherapy oils.
- Eat chocolate (or whatever you like to eat).
- Have an ‘emergency box’ with whatever helps you cope.
- Buy something special.
- Massage your hands, arms or feet (or the area you want to harm).
- Stroke a pet or cuddle a teddy.
- Ask a friend to hold you.
- Paint your nails or have your hair done.
- Have a cup of tea.
- Rock or hug yourself.
- Try yoga or meditation.
- Watch television or movies.
- Browse the web (avoiding any triggering material).
- Learn a new skill.
- Do puzzles or play chess.
- Try Origami or learn to make jewelry.
- Sew or knit.
- Go through a photo album.
- Design a dream house.
- Have a debate.
- Make a paper chain of the days its been since you last cut (add a new one everyday).
- Look for pictures in the clouds.
- Play video games.
- Catch up on DIY, homework or housework.
- Cook or bake something.
- Have a clear out – give your old stuff to charity.
- Re-arrange your room or decorate.
- Give your pets a bath and/or look after them.
- Volunteer somewhere.
- Join a class.
- Think about what you’d like to change about your life and make a plan.