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    Thread: Alternatives to Self Harming

    1. #11
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      i've tried quite a few of them and with the ones that work, i've started to make a scrapbook with a page for soothing things (like a shower with nice smelling products, hot cup of tea, a soothing playlist that i created etc) and a page for distractions (friendship bracelet making, reading a book, watch family guy etc) and things that help when i feel a certain way (i have a squidgy stressball with a smiley face on and orange pompom hair which is very helpful when im feeling anxious) and so now i have the scrapbook to work on too as another distraction. It may seem childish (and mine really does look childish with sequins and stickers and glitter glue) but its something positive to work on :-)

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      "Try putting a rubber band around a wrist then pinging it when you need to."

      This is the one i reconment if someone asks me.. I have used this method a few times.. and it does help..

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      Here are some alternatives from Always Lending A Helping Hand
      Alternatives for when you’re feeling angry or restless:

      Scribble on photos of people in magazines
      Viciously stab an orange
      Throw an apple/pair of socks against the wall
      Have a pillow fight with the wall
      Scream very loudly
      Tear apart newspapers, photos, or magazines
      Go to the gym, dance, exercise
      Listen to music and sing along loudly
      Draw a picture of what is making you angry
      Beat up a stuffed bear
      Pop bubble wrap
      Pop balloons
      Splatter paint
      Scribble on a piece of paper until the whole page is black
      Filling a piece of paper with drawing cross hatches
      Throw darts at a dartboard
      Go for a run
      Write your feelings on paper then rip it up
      Use stress relievers
      Build a fort of pillows and then destroy it
      Throw ice cubes at the bathtub wall, at a tree, etc
      Get out a fine tooth comb and vigorously brush the fur of a stuffed animal (but use gentle vigor)
      Slash an empty plastic soda bottle or a piece of heavy cardboard or an old shirt or sock
      Make a soft cloth doll to represent the things you are angry at; cut and tear it instead of yourself
      Flatten aluminium cans for recycling, seeing how fast you can go
      On a sketch or photo of yourself, mark in red INK what you want to do. Cut and tear the picture
      Break sticks
      Cut up fruits
      Make yourself as comfortable as possible
      Stomp around in heavy shoes
      Play handball or tennis
      Yell at what you are breaking and tell it why you are angry, hurt, upset, etc.
      Buy a cheap plate and decorate it with markers, stickers, cut outs from magazines, words, images, what ever that expresses your pain and sadness and when you’re done, smash it. (Please be careful when doing this)
      The Calm Jar (Fill a mason jar or similar with colored water and glitter. When feeling upset or angry you can shake it to disturb the glitter and focus on that until the glitter settles.)
      Blow up a balloon and pop it
      Alternatives that will give you a sensation (other than pain) without harming yourself:

      Hold ice in your hands, against your arm, or in your mouth
      Run your hands under freezing cold water
      Snap a rubber band or hair band against your wrist
      Clap your hands until it stings
      Wax your legs
      Drink freezing cold water
      Splash your face with cold water
      Put PVA/Elmer’s glue on your hands then peel it off
      Massage where you want to hurt yourself
      Take a hot shower/bath
      Jump up and down to get some sensation in your feet
      Write or paint on yourself
      Arm wrestle with a member of your family
      Take a cold bath
      Bite into a hot pepper or chew a piece of ginger root
      Rub liniment under your nose
      Put tiger balm on the places you want to cut. (Tiger balm is a muscle relaxant cream that induces a tingly sensation. You can find it in most health food stores and vitamin stores.)
      Alternatives that will distract you or take up time:

      Say “I’ll self harm in fifteen minutes if I still want to” and keep going for periods of fifteen minutes until the urge fades
      Color your hair
      Count up to ten getting louder until you are screaming
      Sing on the karaoke machine
      Complete something you’ve been putting off
      Take up a new hobby
      Make a cup of tea
      Tell and laugh at jokes
      Play solitaire
      Count up to 500 or 1000
      Surf the net
      Make as many words out of your full name as possible
      Count ceiling tiles or lights
      Search ridiculous things on the web
      Colour coordinate your wardrobe
      Play with toys, such as a slinky
      Go to the park and play on the swings
      Call up an old friend
      Go “people watching”
      Carry safe, rather than sharp, things in your pockets
      Do school work
      Play a musical instrument
      Watch TV or a movie
      Paint your nails
      Alphabetize your CDs or books
      Cook
      Make origami to occupy your hands
      Doodle on sheets of paper
      Dress up or try on old clothes
      Play COMPUTER games or painting programs, such as photoshop
      Write out lyrics to your favorite song
      Play a sport
      Read a book/magazine
      Do a crossword
      Draw a comic strip
      Make a chain link out of paper counting the hours or days you’ve been self harm free using pretty colored paper
      Knit, sew, or make a necklace
      Make ‘scoobies’ - braid pieces of plastic or lace, to keep your hands busy
      Buy a plant and take care of it
      Hunt for things on eBay or Amazon
      Browse the forums
      Go shopping
      Memorize a poem with meaning
      Learn to swear in another language
      Look up words in a dictionary
      Play hide-and-seek with your siblings
      Go outside and watch the clouds roll by
      Plan a party
      Find out if any concerts will be in your area
      Make your own dance routine
      Trace your hand on a piece of paper; on your thumb, write something you like to look at; on your index finger, write something you like to touch; on your middle finger, write your favorite scent; on your ring finger, write something you like the taste of; on your pinky finger, write something you like to listen to; on your palm, write something you like about yourself
      Plan regular activities for your most difficult time of day
      Finish homework before it’s due
      Take a break from mental processing
      Notice black and white thinking
      Get out on your own, get away from the stress
      Go on YouTube
      Make a scrapbook
      Colour in a picture or colouring book.
      Make a phone list of people you can call for support. Allow yourself to use it.
      Pay attention to your breathing (breath slowly, in through your nose and out through your mouth)
      Pay attention to the rhythmic motions of your body (walking, stretching, etc.)
      Learn HALT signals (hungry, angry, lonely, tired)
      Choose a random object, like a paper clip, and try to list 30 different uses for it
      Pick a subject and research it on the web - alternatively, pick something to research and then keep clicking on links, trying to get as far away from the original topic as you can.
      Take a small step towards a goal you have.
      Re-organize your room
      Name all of your soft toys
      Play the A-Z game (Pick a category ie. Animals, and think of an animal for every letter of the alphabet
      Have a lush warm bubble bath with candles!
      Do some knitting
      Do some house hold chores
      Alternatives that are completely bizarre. At the least, you’ll have a laugh:

      Crawl on all fours and bark like a dog or another animal
      Run around outside screaming
      Laugh for no reason whatsoever
      Make funny faces in a mirror
      Without turning orange, self tan
      Pluck your eyebrows
      Put faces on apples, oranges, or other sorts of food
      Go to the zoo and name all of the animals
      Color on the walls
      Blow bubbles
      Pull weeds in the garden
      Alternatives for when you’re feeling guilty, sad, or lonely:

      Congratulate yourself on each minute you go without self harming
      Draw or paint
      Look at the sky
      Instead of punishing yourself by self harming, punish yourself by not self harming
      Call a friend and ask for company
      Buy a cuddly toy
      Give someone a hug with a smile
      Put a face mask on
      Watch a favorite TV show or movie
      Eat something ridiculously sweet
      Remember a happy moment and relive it for a while in your head
      Treat yourself to some chocolate
      Try to imagine the future and plan things you want to do
      Look at things that are special to you
      Compliment someone else
      Make sculptures
      Watch fish
      Youtube funny videos!
      Let yourself cry
      Play with a pet
      Have or give a massage
      Imagine yourself living in a perfect home and describe it in your mind
      If you’re religious, read the bible or pray
      Light a candle and watch the flame (but please be careful)
      Go chat in the chat room
      Allow yourself to cry; crying is a healthy release of emotion
      Accept a gift from a friend
      Carry tokens to remind you of peaceful comforting things/people
      Take a hot bath with bath oil or bubbles
      Curl up under a comforter with hot cocoa and a good book
      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)
      Make a tray of special treats and tuck yourself into bed with it and watch TV or read
      Write words in the sand for them to be washed away
      Alternatives for when you’re feeling panicky or scared:

      “See, hear and feel”-5 things, then 4, then 3 and countdown to one which will make you focus on your surroundings and will calm you down
      Listen to soothing music; have a CD with motivational songs that you can listen to
      Meditate or do yoga
      Name all of your soft toys
      Hug a pillow or soft toy
      Hyper focus on something
      Do a “reality check list” – write down all the things you can list about where you are now (e.g. It is the 9th November 2004, I’m a room and everything is going to be alright)
      With permission, give someone a hug
      Drink herbal tea
      Crunch ice
      Hug a tree
      Go for a walk if it’s safe to do so
      Feel your pulse to prove you’re alive
      Go outside and attempt to catch butterflies or lizards
      Put your feet firmly on the floor
      Accept where you are in the process. Beating yourself up, only makes it worse
      Touch something familiar/safeLeave the room
      Lay on your back in bed comfortably (eyes closed), and breathe in for 4, hold for 2, out for 4, hold for 2. Make sure to fill your belly up with air, not your chest. If your shoulders are going up, keep working on it. When you’re comfortable breathing, put your hand on your belly and rub up and down in time with your breathing. If your mind wanders to other things, move it back to focusing ONLY on the synchronized movement of your hand and breathing.
      Give yourself permission to…. (Keep it safe)
      Create a safe place for yourself and take yourself there
      Lay on the grass and watch the clouds. You can try to make pictures with them too.
      Light a candle and watch the flame
      Alternatives that will hopefully make you think twice about harming yourself:

      Think about how you don’t want scars
      Treat yourself nicely
      Remember that you don’t have to hurt yourself just because you’re thinking about self harm
      Create a safe place to go
      Acknowledge that self harm is harmful behavior: say “I want to hurt myself” rather than “I want to [moderated]”
      Repeat to yourself “I don’t deserve to be hurt” even if you don’t believe it
      Remember that you always have the choice not to self harm: it’s up to you what you do
      Think about how you may feel guilty after self harming
      Remind yourself that the urge to self harm is impulsive: you will only feel like self harming for short bursts of time
      Avoid temptation
      Get your friends to make you friendship bracelets: wear them around your wrists to remind you of them when you want to self harm
      Be with other people
      Make your own list of things to do instead of self harm
      Make a list of your positive character traits
      Be nice to your family, who in return, will hopefully be nice to you
      Put a band-aid on the area where you’d like to self harm
      Recognize and acknowledge the choices you have NOW
      Pay attention to the changes needed to make you feel safe
      Notice “choices” versus “dilemmas”
      Lose the “should-could-have to” words. Try… “What if”
      Kiss the places you want toSHor kiss the places you have healing wounds. It can be a reminder that you care about myself and that you don’t want this
      Choose your way of thinking, try to resist following old thinking patterns
      The Butterfly project- draw a butterfly on the place(s) that you would self harm and if the butterfly fades without self-harming, it means it has lived and flown away, giving a sense of achievement. Whereas if you do self-harm with the butterfly there; you will have to wash it off. If that does happen, you can start again by drawing a new one on. You can name the butterfly after someone you love.
      Write the name of a loved one [a friend, family member, or anyone else who cares about you] and write their name where you want to self harm. When you go to self harm remember how much they care and wouldn’t want you to harm yourself.
      think about what you would say to a friend who was struggling with the same things you are and try to be a good friend to yourself.
      Make a bracelet out duct tape, and put a line on it every day (Or any period of time) you go without self harm. When it’s full of lines, take it off and make a chain out of all the bracelets and hang it up somewhere where you can be reminded of your great progress.
      Alternatives that give the illusion of seeing something similar to blood:

      Draw on yourself with a red pen or body paint, or go to a site such as this, where you ‘harm’ the screen (be aware that some users may find this triggering, so view with caution)
      Cover yourself with plasters where you want to self harm
      Give yourself a henna or fake tattoo
      Make “wounds” with makeup, like lipstick
      Take a small bottle of liquid red food coloring and warm it slightly by dropping it into a cup of hot water for a few minutes. Uncap the bottle and press its tip against the place you want to self harm. Draw the bottle in a cutting motion while squeezing it slightly to let the food color trickle out.
      Draw on the areas you want to injure using ice that you’ve made by dropping six or seven drops of red food color into each of the ice-cube tray wells.
      Paint yourself with red tempera paint.
      'Injure' your skin with nail polish (it feels cold, but it's hard to get off)
      Use red food colouring on your skin
      Alternatives to help you sort through your feelings:

      Phone a friend and talk to them
      Make a collage of how you feel
      Negotiate with yourself
      Identify what is hurting so bad that you need to express it in this way
      Write your feelings in a diary
      Free write (Write down whatever you’re thinking at that moment, even if it doesn’t make sense)
      Make lists of everything such as blessings in your life
      Make a notebook of song lyrics that you relate to
      Call a hotline
      Write a letter to someone telling them how you feel (but you don’t have to send it if you decide not to)
      Start a grateful journal where everyday you write down three: good things that happened/ things that you accomplished/ are grateful for/ made you smile. Make sure the journal is strictly for positive things. Then when you feel down you can go back and look at it.
      Books:


      Bodies Under Siege: Self-Mutilation and Body Modification in Culture and Psychiatry By Armando R. Favazza
      Bodily Harm: The Breakthrough Healing PROGRAM for Self-Injurers By Karen Conterio
      A Bright Red Scream: Self-Mutilation and the Language of Pain By Marilee Strong
      Cutting: Understanding and Overcoming Self-Mutilation By Steven Levekron
      The Scarred Soul: Understanding & Ending Self-Inflicted Violence By Tracy Alderman
      Secret Scars: Uncovering and Understanding the Addiction of Self-Injury By V.J. Turner
      Self Injury: Psychotherapy with People Who Engage in Self-Inflicted Violence By Robin Connors
      Skin Game: A [moderated] Memoir By Caroline Kettlewell
      Women and Self-Harm: Understanding, Coping, and Healing from Self-Mutilation By Gerrilyn Smith
      Women Living with Self-Injury By Jane Wegscheider Hyman
      Stopping the Pain: A Workbook for Teens Who [moderated] & Self-Injure
      Last edited by Helena1; 13-03-15 at 14:07. Reason: self harm specfics removed
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    4. #14
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      Do something slow and soothing, like taking a hot bath with bath oil or bubbles, curling up under a comforter with hot cocoa and a good book, babying yourself somehow. Do whatever makes you feel taken care of and comforted.

    5. #15
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      thankyou very much for posting this ... i had a random idea last night to turn to knitting when i feel like self harming .... it's a problem ive had for quite a while but i've not really done enough to try and hel[ myself control this . i will be printing these off.

    6. #16
      Forum Safety Team Foxjo's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Snowyrabbit View Post
      thankyou very much for posting this ... i had a random idea last night to turn to knitting when i feel like self harming .... it's a problem ive had for quite a while but i've not really done enough to try and hel[ myself control this . i will be printing these off.
      Definitely take up a hobby that uses your hands. This can then distract you from the urge.
      Hobbies i do are cross stitch as it makes you concentrate on the pattern and i make christmas decorations out of felt.
      This gives me great satisfaction when i can hand over a gift to someone knowing that i have made it myself and not self harmed!
      Gradually by repeating this you can get out of the habit or urge of self harming.
      its not easy it takes a lot of effort to resist but in time you can do it.
      Hugs
      Fox
      What doesn't kill me makes me Stronger
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    7. #17
      Active Member Cry-Baby's Avatar
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      Thank you so much for providing this for our community! It is wonderful to have safer options when we get that urge to hurt ourselves.
      Sincerely Yours,
      Cry☯Baby

    8. #18
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      Quote Originally Posted by Foxjo View Post
      Definitely take up a hobby that uses your hands. This can then distract you from the urge.
      Hobbies i do are cross stitch as it makes you concentrate on the pattern and i make christmas decorations out of felt.
      This gives me great satisfaction when i can hand over a gift to someone knowing that i have made it myself and not self harmed!
      Gradually by repeating this you can get out of the habit or urge of self harming.
      its not easy it takes a lot of effort to resist but in time you can do it.
      Hugs
      Fox
      excuse me if I've already asked you this but my memory sucks and I don't take notes, but:

      felt <- what kinda stuff do u make, do you have pickles, erm picckies. ?

      Making something, following instructions, then repeating it has been an excellent source of "something to centre my thoughts on to escape the monsters". It's like u get in the zone, pureness, if ya like, like a single stroke down a cats purring back, like relistening to your fav song. You are in control, you are the master, a finished product is in your sights, it IS achievable and will be unique and that = special.

      Maybe a bit load of avoidance but who the fuck cares.

    9. #19
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      Quote Originally Posted by tomghanini2 View Post
      excuse me if I've already asked you this but my memory sucks and I don't take notes, but:

      felt <- what kinda stuff do u make, do you have pickles, erm picckies. ?

      Making something, following instructions, then repeating it has been an excellent source of "something to centre my thoughts on to escape the monsters". It's like u get in the zone, pureness, if ya like, like a single stroke down a cats purring back, like relistening to your fav song. You are in control, you are the master, a finished product is in your sights, it IS achievable and will be unique and that = special.

      Maybe a bit load of avoidance but who the fuck cares.
      I make Christmas decorations like Robins, snowmen, Santa's they are a bit naive but I'm chuffed with them
      What doesn't kill me makes me Stronger
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    10. #20
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      Quote Originally Posted by Foxjo View Post
      I make Christmas decorations like Robins, snowmen, Santa's they are a bit naive but I'm chuffed with them
      You made them so they're frickin awesome and a punch in the mouth for anyone who says otherwise.

      Anything you make yourself, that is unique to you, that gives you a sense of "yay me", that made you whilst making them, that posssibly helped you concentrate on something other than ,well, anything like that is immune to criticism. QED.

      Last edited by Mischief; 14-10-18 at 16:04.
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