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Old 01-04-2011, 06:12 PM   #1
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Alternatives to Self Harm

Alternatives to Self Harm


Just find the emotion you're feeling, and try out one of the options given below it. If some of those don't work, try the rest. All these options can be used at one point in time or another, and have been found helpful.
This list is also updated so if you don't think something's worked, come back again and you might find something else to try.
There's currently 84 alternatives here in total to try.

Sad, upset, depressed or just unhappy:

  • Curl up under a big warm duvet with a hot drink and a good book
  • Put on some calming, relaxing music
  • Take yourself off to bed with a tray full of treats
  • Lay down, and picture yourself somewhere or sometime when you were really happy.
  • Bubble bath with some nice calm music
  • Watch your favorite comedy/funny movie/movie
  • Go online and watch something funny on youtube
  • Curl up in bed with a soft toy
  • Go to a friend that can always cheer you up or make you smile.
  • Watch your favorite movie from your childhood.
  • Go outside and take a walk.
  • Play with a pet
  • Go to your favorite restaurant
  • Listen to some upbeat music
Angry, restless or frustrated:
  • Smash an empty soft drinks bottle against a wall
  • Crunch up soft drinks cans
  • Flatten aluminum cans for recycling, seeing how fast you can go.
  • Use a pillow or cushion and bash it against a wall
  • Rip up as many pages of an old newspaper as you can in one go
  • Use play dough to take out all your feelings
  • Go for a walk and break up any sticks you find along the way
  • Do some exercise/go for a walk
  • Throw Ice cubes at a brick wall
  • Rip apart a phone book
  • Smash a fruit with a hammer or bat (outside preferably)
  • Throw eggs in the shower
  • Play with play dough
  • Call some friends, see if they want to play some rough football
  • Turn on some loud music, and dance like mad
  • Do something fun
  • Scream in a pillow
  • Bounce a ball against a wall or the floor
  • Write a letter to someone whose upsetting you and explain why (Don't mail it)
  • Carry a stress ball around and squeeze it.
Needing to feel something, feeling depersonalized, unreal or dissociating:
  • Take some ice into your hands and squeeze it *hard*
  • Put a frozen pack of peas (or whatever) on the area you want to hurt
  • Bite into or chew something (food-wise) that tastes hot or nasty
  • Take a really hot/cold shower
  • Eat a hot pepper
  • Focus on how it feels to breathe. Notice the way your chest and stomach move with each breath.
  • Pay attention to the rhythmic motions of your body (walking, stretching, etc.)
Need to focus on something:
  • Play a game on the computer that requires concentration
  • Find something in the room and examine it closely. Write a detailed description of it including as much information as you can and then try and list all it’s possible uses. Try and get the list to 25 - if you can find that many uses try and find 40
  • Do homework/study/work on a club project
  • Go shopping for someone
  • Make some crafts
  • Go on the computer (Stay away from triggering websites)
  • Find a site that will teach you how to do something new
  • Clean your room (or whole house)
  • Play a musical instrument
  • Pull weeds in the garden or other yard work

  • Go on youtube and wath some funny videos
If it's a visual you want:
  • Draw red lines on your arms with a marker
  • Draw red lines on yourself with a red pencil, then drip water on it.
  • Use red paint.
  • Use food coloring
  • On a picture of yourself, mark in red ink what you want to do. Cut and tear up the picture afterwords.
  • Put an ice cube where you want to cut/burn. Not only does it hurt, but it leaves a red mark like burning yourself would.
  • Get a henna tattoo kit. Put the henna on as a paste and leave it over night. The next day you can pick it off as you would a scab, and it leaves an orange-red mark behind.
Other:
  • Write poetry or a story
  • Draw
  • Make a list of things you like about yourself, things you want to improve on, and possible ways you can.
  • Hug a soft toy
  • Take your imagination on a journey to a favorite place
  • Create a safe place for yourself - somewhere you can go when you are feeling bad
  • Make a list of all the things that are good about yourself
  • Music
  • Have a Bath or Shower
  • Touch something familiar and safe.
  • Talk to a friend
  • Keep a Diary (Journal)
  • Stay in a Public Place
  • Watch a movie
  • Go for a Drive or Ride your Bike
  • Relaxation/Deep Breathing
  • Read
  • Ask yourself inside, what do YOU need?
  • Take a safe risk.
  • Get it all out:
    Write what you're feeling. Don't edit it, just write a stream of consciousness. Then if you feel like you need to share it, send it to a trusted friend. Tell them whether or not you want them to reply or not. Or email it to yourself.
  • The fifteen-minute game:
    Tell yourself that if you still want to harm yourself in 15 minutes, you can. When the time is up, see if you can go another 15.
  • 5/4/3/2/1
    If it’s control that you want to experience with Self harm, this might help you. Try and name 5 things you can see, 4 things you can hear, 3 things you can smell, 2 things you can touch and 1 thing you like about yourself.
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Last edited by Heather; 09-22-2012 at 07:09 AM.. Reason: Adding more alternatives
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Old 01-04-2011, 10:31 PM   #2
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Re: Alternatives to Self Harm

Wow thanks this helped a lot
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Old 01-14-2011, 04:02 AM   #3
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Re: Alternatives to Self Harm

You don't even understand how much I will use this. Thanks you. :']
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Old 01-18-2011, 07:58 AM   #4
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Re: Alternatives to Self Harm

Ice cubes keep me from burning. Thanks
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Old 05-22-2011, 04:17 PM   #5
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Re: Alternatives to Self Harm

This an awful lot thank you so much
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Old 06-06-2011, 09:07 PM   #6
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Re: Alternatives to Self Harm

ice cubes help to keep meh from cutting thank you
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Old 09-21-2012, 05:27 AM   #7
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Re: Alternatives to Self Harm

thank you so much
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Old 09-28-2012, 03:30 AM   #8
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Re: Alternatives to Self Harm

This is really fantastic. Thank you for taking the time to do this!

I would like to suggest one more and it WILL be controversial... Masturbation. Im not trying to be pervy, but if you really need to feel something intense it's a lot safer and can actually make you feel good about yourself.
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Old 01-23-2013, 09:58 PM   #9
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Re: Alternatives to Self Harm

Thank god this exists. I know too many people who self harm and this is going out to all of them right now
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Old 01-24-2013, 08:05 AM   #10
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Re: Alternatives to Self Harm

I actually found something that helped me once personally, was acting like I was going to self-harm, with the thing in my hand (it fits in my closed hand), and running my hand itself along where I SH, like I would do it. IDK how that would work for other things like a knife, etc, and you'd have to be careful and might be tempted to actually do it, but yeah, it helped me.
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Old 04-28-2013, 10:16 PM   #11
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Re: Alternatives to Self Harm

This is so helpful. Thank you so much for posting this.
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