How to Manage Self-Harm Thoughts with Journaling

June 29, 2020 Martyna Halas

Journaling can be a wonderful tool to use whenever you have self-harm thoughts or you feel like your life is falling apart. The act of writing something down on paper works like magic. Your mind calms down, your emotions become more transparent, and you gain control over your self-harm thoughts.

Why Journaling to Manage Self-Harm Thoughts Works for Me

Keeping a journal to manage my self-harm thoughts (and daily mental health) has been extremely beneficial to my emotional wellbeing, and many people experience similar effects. In fact, journaling is often assigned in therapy to express one's negative feelings.

Putting your thoughts on paper helps you explore your inner self and unload anything that may be bothering you. As there is no one correct way to journal, the beauty of this practice is that you can fully personalize it and make it as unique as you are.

Here are some of the most significant benefits that journaling has given me:

Creating Your Journal to Manage Self-Harm Thoughts

If you're new to this practice, don't worry, it's straightforward. All you need is a notebook of your choice, or just a word processing program on your computer.

I strongly recommend journaling first thing in the morning, and also, anytime you experience intrusive self-harm thoughts.

In the morning:

Pick up your pen and start writing whatever comes to your mind at that moment. It does not have to be coherent or logical. Even if you don't know what to write about, put that on paper, too. Do it without interruption for as long as you need to, though I recommend setting yourself a minimum length of two pages or so.

Why bother? You'd be surprised how much emotional baggage you carry the moment you wake up. Dumping all that dirt on paper first thing in the morning will make you feel lighter, calmer, and ready to tackle the day ahead with more positive energy.

When you feel self-harm urges:

Instead of hurting yourself, immediately grab your pen and write down exactly what you're feeling. You can even doodle shapes or lines and "harm" a piece of paper instead of your skin.

Try to look deep inside yourself and ask what the underlying cause may be. The moment you become analytical of your emotions, you distract your brain and detach yourself from your self-harm thoughts.

Finally, rate your urge to self injure in terms of intensity, one being the lowest and ten being the highest. Keeping track of this can help you identify potential triggers and avoid them in the future.

I strongly encourage you to try this practice. Do you already keep a daily journal to manage your self-harm thoughts and mental health? Let us know in the comments.

APA Reference
Halas, M. (2020, June 29). How to Manage Self-Harm Thoughts with Journaling, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 25 from

Author: Martyna Halas

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