Self Injury

106 Alternatives to Self-Injurious behaviors (If anybody can recommend another alternative that isn't listed below, please e-mail me)

  1. Use washable red markers to "cut" on your skin
  2. Place your hands in freezing cold water
  3. Listen to music/relaxation tapes
  4. Make a mourning wreath (start with black flowers and replace with colored flowers)
  5. Repetitive reality checking (It's April 2001, and I'm going to be ok)
  6. Negotiate with yourself
  7. Get to know others
  8. Recognize and acknowledge the choices you have NOW
  9. Offer options
  10. Carry tokens to remind you of peaceful comforting things/people
  11. Create and use mental safe places (beach, cabin in the woods, peaceful mountain)
  12. Get out on your own, get away from the stress
  13. Help someone around you (reach out on a bb, newsgroup, phone list etc.)
  14. Pay attention to the changes needed to make you feel safe
  15. Count yourself down (10...9...8...7...)
  16. Take a different perspective (different vantage point)
  17. "I'm aware" Repeat 5 things you see, smell, touch, taste in your present surroundings to help ground you in the present
  18. Pay attention to your breathing (breath slowly, in through your nose and out through your mouth)
  19. Pay attention to the rhythmic motions of your body (walking, stretching, etc.)
  20. Move to music
  22. Ask yourself inside, what YOU need
  23. Make affirmation tapes inside you that are good, kind, gentle (Sometimes you can do this by writing down the negative thoughts and then physically re-writing them into positive messages)
  24. Touch Something familiar/safe
  25. Draw
  26. Put your feet firmly on the floor
  27. Make something (craft, needlework, etc.)
  28. Accept a gift from a friend
  29. Meditate
  30. Make a phone list of people you can call for support. Allow yourself to use it
  31. Learn HALT signals (hungry, angry, lonely, tired)
  32. Identify what is causing you pain (other than food)
  33. Accept where you are in the process. Beating yourself up, only makes it worse.
  34. Do something FUN!!!
  35. Take a break from mental processing
  36. Take a SAFE risk
  37. Tear up paper (old phonebooks, newspapers, etc.)
  38. Honor your present anger
  39. Throw ice cubes at the bathtub wall, at a tree, etc.
  40. Give yourself permission to.... (Keep it safe)
  41. Lose the "should-could-have to" words. Try... "What if"
  42. Choose your way of thinking, try to resist following old thinking patterns
  43. Put memories in air tight containers with air tight lids
  44. Notice black and white thinking
  45. Connect with others around you. Call a therapist or friend.
  46. Notice "choices" versus "dilemmas"
  47. Keep in touch with others who are fighting the same fight
  48. Check in with yourself and others frequently (try not to isolate)
  49. Make yourself as comfortable as possible (Without using food)
  50. Take a bath or a shower
  51. Color in coloring books
  52. Hold a stuffed animal
  53. Write a poem
  54. Leave the room
  55. Leave the premises
  56. Write a letter, NOT mailed, to the person or problem upsetting you
  57. Play a musical instrument
  58. Plan regular activities for your most difficult time of day
  59. Call a hotline or support group
  60. Listen to a comedy tape or video
  61. Reality check old messages (Those you supply and those you hear others tell you)
  62. Clean the house
  63. Get out a fine tooth comb and vigorously brush the fur of a stuffed animal (but use gentle vigor )
  64. Pull weeds in a garden
  65. Plant flowers
  66. Deep breathing
  67. Relaxation techniques
  68. Call a friend, your therapist or a crisis line
  69. Try not be be alone (visit a friend, go shopping, etc.)
  70. Take a hot bath
  71. listen to music
  72. go for a walk
  73. write in a journal
  74. wear an elastic around wrist and snap it when you have the urge to harm yourself
  75. some people find it helpful to draw red lines on themselves with washable
  76. markers instead of cutting themselves
  77. hold ice cubes in your hands - the cold causes pain in your hands, but it is not dangerous or harmful (some people find it relieves the urge to harm themselves for that moment)
  78. punching a bed or a pillow (when nothing but a physical outlet for your anger and frustration will work).
  79. scratch draw a picture on a thick piece of wood or use a screw driver and stab at the piece of wood. (can be another physical way to release your emotions without harming yourself.)
  80. avoid temptation (i.e. avoiding the area in CVS where the razor blades are kept, etc.)
  81. try to find your own creative ways as outlets for emotions.
  82. learn to confront others/making your own feelings known instead of keeping them inside
  83. go outside and scream and yell take up a sport (a form of exercise can help you release tension, etc.)
  84. work with paint, clay, play-doo, etc.
  85. draw a picture of what or who is making you angry
  86. instead of harming yourself, try massaging the area you want to harm with massage oils or creams, reminding yourself that you are special and you deserve to treat yourself and your body with love and respect
  87. go to church or your place of worship
  88. wear a pipe cleaner or something that will fit on the places that you injure.
  89. break the object that you use to self-injure as a way to show that you have control over it.
  90. write a letter to the person(s) that have hurt you and express how they made you feel. Theses letters do not have to be in perfect form and you do not have to please anyone but yourself. You do not have to give these letters to the people, but it is a great way to release the feelings that you are carrying within. After you write the letters, you can decide then what to do with them. Some people find destroying the letters help (i.e. tear them up, throw them in a lake, etc.)
  91. do some household chores (i.e. cleaning)
  92. do some cooking
  93. try some sewing, crossstitch, etc.
  94. recite a poem, prayer or anything else familiar the comforts you multiple times
  95. write down all your positive points and why you do not deserve to be hurt
  96. write in your journal why you want to hurt yourself and if you have hurt yourself, write down what caused it to happen so in the future you can prevent it from happenings - or find out what your triggers were
  97. Play some kind of musical instrument. Even if you don't really know how to play, picking out tunes is a way to concentrate and help get rid of the urge to harm yourself.
  98. yoga
  99. allow yourself to cry. Getting the tears out can make you feel better. It allows the inside to release, as opposed to self abuse. Picture your "ickies" pouring out as you cry.
  100. Take a shower
  101. write down a word best associated with what you are feeling (i.e. horrible, sad, lonely, angry) and continue to write it down, over and over. Sometimes when you do that, the words looks silly etc., and it puts humor or a smile in your life.
  102. sing a song on what you are feeling. It's another way to get it outside.
  103. Shout
  104. Scribble on paper. Clutch the pen in your fist. It's a way to diffuse it on to paper. (Get a few sheets so they don't tear.)
  105. Take item you are self injurying with and use it against something else. For example, if you are using a razor blade, rip it across a towel. Sometimes seeing what "can" be done to an object can make a person think twice about using it on themselves. Can also give the feeling of "doing it"...the tangible aspect.
  106. Make a list of reasons why you are going to stop cutting. Every time you get the urge, read the list to remind yourself why you shouldn't. Also remember to put on that list that you do not deserve to hurt yourself. You are important and special and you do not deserve to be hurt.

Information on this page was adopted from these websites: