Skip to main content Skip to bottom nav

Can I learn to use other forms of coping to resist the urges of Self Harm?

16 Answers
Last Updated: 08/18/2020 at 9:57am
1 Tip to Feel Better
United Kingdom
Moderated by

Lisa Meighan, BSc Psychology (Honours)


Hello, I am Lisa and I work in a person-centred approach mixed with cognitive behavioural therapy. I believe we all have the potential to be the best we can be.

Top Rated Answers
- Expert in Self-Harm
April 17th, 2015 8:38am
It's hard work. First, you have to think of or read about healthier ways to cope. Then you need to choose a few of those ideas to try. It's easiest to try a new skill BEFORE you are super triggered - maybe when you're just a little upset, try the skill. It can also help to write down these 3-5 skills you want to try and keep them somewhere you can see them and remember to try them. Then, reflect on the skill you tried - did it work? what made it helpful? OR, did it not help? Why was it unhelpful? Return to the big list of coping ideas and exchange any ideas that didn't work, or add new ideas to your list of ways to cope. You may have to do more reading to find more ideas. It's a long process, but by trying and reflecting you can eventually find ways to cope. Do note: it's rare for ONE coping method to work for ALL times you want to harm. Find out what works for what emotion, and try to find a variety of coping skills.
May 7th, 2015 5:44am
You can definitely learn how to use other forms of coping to resist self harm urges. This is a great way to divert negative energy into something that you can be proud of, such as a piece of writing or making a new friend online or researching a topic you've always been curious about. There will still be times when the self harm urges come back, but with practice it gets easier to know you'll get through and you have the strength and experience to face anything. You've already survived so much, you are incredibly strong!
June 4th, 2015 8:26pm
Yes absolutely! It can take time and patience and self-control, but some people find comfort in writing things down using a journal or writing someone you can confide in, going for a long walk and listening to music and drinking some cold water and meditate.
September 1st, 2015 8:02pm
Yes absolutely! There are so many resources out there to help you, and I would also encourage you to talk to a professional so that you can identify your triggers and get to the root of the problem. And don't be afraid to come talk if you ever need it :)
October 9th, 2015 1:56am
[| Draw - Draw on your body with a marker. If you find your thoughts continually drifting back to harming yourself, one alternative is to draw on your body with a marker. Draw on the place where you are thinking of harming yourself. Ink won’t leave a scar. [| Use body stickers, temporary tattoos, henna, tattoo pens [| Sleep it off - when you feel like self harming at night, go to bed early  [| Remove tools - flush it down the toilet, throw it in the trash or remove it from your reach. [| Keep tools out of reach - if you cannot throw it away, put it in a box, put tape around the tool to make it harder to get to, and put notes in/on the box to remind you why self-harm isn’t the answer, and why you’re fighting to recovery. Put this box in an out of reach area like a basement, top shelf or back of cupboard.  [| Butterfly Foundation - draw a butterfly on the area you self harm - if you self harm, you’ve killed the butterfly, if you don’t you’ve let it live. Label it with the name of someone you care about. [| Semicolon; foundation - A writer uses a semicolon to signify that they could have ended the sentence but chose not to. You are the writer, and your life is the story. Living another day is a victory in itself. Draw a semicolon as a symbol of your victory, and a reminder of why you must keep fighting.  [| Tape - Put thin clear tape on the areas you self harm. You won’t be able to harm your skin with the tape over it, you are able to draw on it and not stain your skin and if you feel desperate for pain rip the tape off. Do not use anything stronger than simple, clear, plastic tape. [| Talk to someone, this can be family, friends, a professional or one of our listeners [| These are other alternatives ---> [| There is an information booklet on managing self-harm behaviours that you might like to read through
November 16th, 2015 8:36am
Of course you can! This site is a very great one to help with the urges of self-harm. Always remember there is hope!
January 19th, 2016 1:00pm
yes you can. it will be hard though. cause self harm is inflicted mostly to let the person feel alive. to find something equally effective will be hard. but the mind can be trained to focus on another activity to subdue the urges of self harm.
January 25th, 2016 12:33pm
Yes their is a few coping techniques. For example you can get a red pen, and draw where you want to self harm. Hold some ice cubes in your hands or where you want to self harm.
March 14th, 2016 10:56pm
Yeah!, I used to draw on myself with a felt pen (always one with a soft tip so I couldn't hurt myself with it!) when I felt urges. I would draw where ever I would usually self harm. I found this really helpful and it helped me to stop self harming! I would draw anything, spirals, flowers, often just black lines. Hopefully this helps a little! :)
March 29th, 2016 10:06pm
Of course you can. I believe and you and basically everyone in the wonderful community believes in you too. :) You are a strong person and you will one day be able to completely resist the urges of self harm. Don't worry if it doesn't happen quickly because becoming better takes lots of time. For example, would you be able to heal in a week if you broke your leg? No, you wouldn't. It's the same thing with your mental health. Best of luck :)
May 24th, 2016 1:53am
Yes! That's exactly what one should be doing because self harm is NOT the answer. Things may seem hard right now and one may become overwhelmed, but things will always get better. Things will get better if one puts in the effort (no matter how big or small) to try and make things better. It's also good to remember that one is not alone as there are other people in the world who are stuck in the same situation as them. In terms of coping, it's good to focus on the interest and maybe trying something new. For example, if one likes exercising, then they should consider working out or joining a sport. If one wants to learn new, fascinating things, they can read a book. If one is confused and does not know what to do in a tough time, they can start off by simply smiling. Our bodies associate emotions with facial expressions meaning that one would become happier if they smiled. When feeling overwhelmed, one could consider to close their eyes and breathe 3 seconds in, and 3 seconds out...and just smile! If one needs someone to listen to them. there are lots of great listeners on here! Discover something you like as the world is full of beautiful things my friend :)
August 23rd, 2016 8:07pm
yes you totally can ... and there are professionals out ther who'll help you out or talking helps in general so if you want that.. this is a good place.
October 11th, 2016 8:46pm
Of course you can and that is one of the strongest things you can do! You just need to find another way of expressing your emotion, whether that's in taking up a team sport or just working out at home, drawing or painting, throwing icecubes at walls, singing, drawing with red pen where you'd usually harm, or try straight away bandaging up where you would harm without actually harming yourself.
November 28th, 2017 8:29pm
Yes, you can try and engage yourself in things that interest you, for example, you can draw if you like.
June 25th, 2018 3:38am
Yes, there are many ways to resist the urges of self-harm. Not everyone is the same, so not every technique works for everyone. Here are some that you can try. Doodling on your body can be a great way to cope. Instead of harming your body, draw on it with a marker. It might seem silly, but it can work. Working out can be another great alternative. It can distract you from the urge. To prevent self-harm, change your environment. If you self-harm at a certain place, time etc, then be busy during those times or avoid that area. Also, get rid of any things you use to self-harm. Delaying self-harm will also reduce the urge. Count to 100. Wait five minutes. Often if you don't give in right away, the urge weakens. Mindfulness exercises can also help. On 7cups, under path, there are many options. Find one that works for you. Reach out to someone. If you have a friend or family, get support from them to help you stay safe. Also, you might want to seek professional help.
August 18th, 2020 9:57am
Yes, using other forms of coping can help you in resisting the urge to Self Harm. Usually distracting yourself and finding something to invest your time in can divert your attention from wanting to Self Harm. Here are some ways you can do that: 1) Practicing self care and giving some time to yourself can prove to be soothing. Self love is the best love. 2) Stress relieving activities and expressing your emotions, getting rid of your anger by putting your energy into something like working out or dancing to aggressive music can also help. 3) Reaching out to friends and family, connecting with others can help you feel less isolated and better. 4) Practicing Gratitude and keeping a gratitude journal, finding things you are thankful for can help you focus on the positives in your life.