Self Injury Self Help: Self Help Coping Skills for Self Harm

Self-injury self help is available and effective. Try these self harm, self help techniques to curb SI behaviors. These coping skills may help you.

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.

If you still feel like cutting yourself or using other ways to self-harm, try:

  • 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

(Helpful information on Self-Harm Alternatives and Cutting Help and Treatment)

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.


article references

next: Alternatives to Self-Harm
~ all articles on self-injury
~ all articles on abuse

Last Updated: 27 August 2016
Reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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