Self help for self-injury does exist and can be effective in curbing self-harm behaviors. Learn more about self-harm, self help coping skills.
Most people who self-harm want to stop hurting themselves and they can do this by trying to develop new ways of coping and communicating. However, some people feel a need not only to change their behavior but also to understand why they have resorted to harming themselves. (Discover why people self-injure.)
There are a number of self-harm, self-help techniques that can reduce the risk of serious injury or minimize the harm caused by self-injury. This list is not exhaustive - different people find different things useful in various situations. So if one self-help tool doesn't work, try another. You might also find these suggestions become more effective if you are getting professional self-injury treatment; working with a mental health professional.
Self-Injury Self Help Techniques
- Stop and try to work out what would have to change to make you no longer feel like hurting yourself (take our self-injury test for insight)
- Count down from ten (nine, eight, seven)
- Point out five things, one for each sense, in your surroundings to bring your attention on to the present
- Breathe slowly - in through the nose and out through the mouth.
- Marking yourself with a red water-soluble felt-tip pen instead of cutting
- A punch bag to vent the anger and frustration
- Plunging your hands into a bowl of ice cubes (not for too long, though)
- Rubbing ice where you'd otherwise cut or harm yourself
Self-Harm Self Help Coping Tools
There are several other self-injury, self help ideas you can implement to help yourself better cope with self-injury:
- Acknowledge that this IS a problem, that you are hurting on the inside, and that you need professional assistance to stop injuring yourself.
- Realize that this is not about being bad or stupid - this is about recognizing that a behavior that somehow was helping you handle your feelings has become as big a problem as the one it was trying to solve in the first place.
- Find one person you trust - maybe a friend, teacher, minister, counselor, or relative - and say that you need to talk about something serious that is bothering you.
- Get help in identifying what "triggers" your self-harming behaviors and ask for help in developing ways to either avoid or address those triggers.
- Recognize that self-injury is an attempt to self-sooth, and that you need to develop other, better ways to calm and sooth yourself.