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How can I find healthy alternatives to self harm?

23 Answers
Last Updated: 12/28/2021 at 2:29am
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
Moderated by

Sarah Robb, LISW-S (Licensed Independent Social Worker, Supervisor Designation) and LICDC (Licenced Chemical Dependency Counselor)

Clinical Social Work/Therapist

Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations. Life poses many challenges. Learning to face, cope with, and resolve these challenges can increase our resilience.

Top Rated Answers
April 23rd, 2015 12:26pm
Outlets for your urges are great! If you like doing anything artistic (like drawing, writing, singing, dancing, etc.), that's always a great way to cope with your feelings. Exercising can also help you if you enjoy getting out, taking walks, going to the gym, anything.
January 23rd, 2015 2:33am
there are lots of articles online for alternatives. a few i used are drawing with a red marker on the places you want to cut, then look at the cut you dont have, and the wash off the marker. if you ever really need to cut, get a rubber band and pull it against your wrist. it gives you the relief of cutting without actually doing it.
April 1st, 2015 6:56pm
There is plenty of help available for self harm issues, there are even videos by popular youtubers addressing the issue and giving methods of help. Instead of harming yourself you could try to find other methods of trying to release your emotions, such as listening to music, going for a walk, talking to a friend.
December 8th, 2015 4:46pm
Try squeezing an ice cube for a while or meditation. Yoga helps me also by taking my mind off the subject
December 21st, 2015 6:26pm
Some healthy alternatives to self harm are self love resulting. Exercise is great to help with anger and frustration which can lead to self love. Healthy coping mechanisms can also include drawing, painting, speaking with a friend, writing poetry.
April 4th, 2015 7:01pm
There is no healthy alternative to self harm. If you are self harming or thinking about it, I would suggest seeking professional help from a therapist.
April 9th, 2015 2:26pm
Just google it. That always seems to work for me. A bunch of helpful sites pop up. And the alternatives on the sites are pretty helpful and of course healthy.
April 11th, 2015 8:39am
Try doing something you find enjoyable. Whether it be writing in a journal or listening to music. I find opening a window at night and breathing in the night air helps clear my head.
May 2nd, 2015 8:43am
google alternatives and then go through the lists on there and you should find one that works for you, there are a lot so it may take a while.
May 6th, 2015 2:11am
I suggest you google "coping skills". There are complete lists online of more healthy alternatives. :) Some of them might work for you, some not - take your time to find out what works best for you! x
September 14th, 2015 8:19am
A healthy alternative to self harm is to JOURNAL, yes i know it sounds strange but getting your thoughts out onto the page and seeing what you are thinking can help you understand yourself better. There are many different types of journaling if you are stuck there are prompts and it helps you gain perspective and gives you the outlet to refer to if you are feeling like you are unable to talk to somebody.
November 2nd, 2015 4:00am
Talk to someone about your feelings, let someone talk you through the hard times and help get you back to thinking straight before acting.
March 29th, 2016 3:16pm
Self-harm is a coping mechanism and is used as a form of relief. By pushing these feelings towards doing something productive, like writing, singing, painting, anything really, as a way to get the emotions off of your chest, you'll find healthy alternatives :) Stay strong!
September 20th, 2016 4:41am
You can snap a hair tie or rubber band on your arm instead of regular self hair. It cause the same pain, without the damage.
January 30th, 2017 9:02pm
Some healthy alternatives can be identifying what keeps your head clear. For some people it can be a sensation, like hotness (eating jalapenos) when they feel the desire. For others it can be a certain activity, which helps you forget the time or relax, like a coloring book, swimming, walking outside.
May 15th, 2017 5:41pm
Find things you love doing and channel whatever feelings cause you to self-harm into that thing or set of things. For me, I write a lot when I feel overwhelmed by feelings that would have caused me to self-harm in the past. Or I'll set up my camera and record myself for as long as it takes for me to get all my feelings out. I never save the footage or upload it anywhere for clear reasons, but it helps to just get everything out. Some people paint or do other forms of art, some participate in sports, some play video games. Just have to find what works for you.
June 12th, 2017 12:49am
Have you had a look at the self help guide on self-harm? It has some healthier coping methods on their. Many people i`ve spoke to have found it really useful to draw on the area of their body that they want to harm, how about giving this a try?
December 4th, 2017 1:32pm
If I feel the urge to harm myself, I usually try to find something positive to distract myself. Talking a shower and washing everything (make sure you're squeaky clean before getting out), writing, drawing, reading, talking to someone who calms you or makes you feel happy, etc. I've heard that drawing on yourself with non-toxic markers sometimes helps. Figure out what calms you and do it whenever you feel the need to self-harm.
January 8th, 2018 7:24pm
There's a ton of resources online, but one that I've found really helpful is using a red pen to draw lines where I would have harmed. Washing the lines off once the urge has faded gives me a sense of pride and satisfaction.
January 30th, 2018 11:17pm
Try to relieve the urge to self-harm by exercising, dancing, singing, taking a warm calming shower. You could even scream into a pillow to let your frustrations out. One thing I love to do when I'm feeling down is to take 15 minutes of my time to meditate, and just focus on my breathing, letting my mind wonder.
June 25th, 2018 8:39pm
Talking to people is always the best option. Also, distracting yourself by doing something fun like sports or music can be helpful.
October 28th, 2019 5:21pm
Such a good question! The app "Calm-Harm" has some really great suggestions, but what I like most about it is that it breaks down the urge to self-harm into 4 different possible needs: comfort, distract, express yourself, release. So my first suggestion would be to identify which one of those you're needing as self-harm can be about meeting different ones of those needs at different times. Once you know what is the underlying need behind the urge to self-harm, it might be easier to identify other ways to meet that need. A comfort example: Sing or hum your favorite songs. A distract example: Count backwards by 7s from 972. A express example: Call a friend you can talk about your feelings with. A release example: squeeze a rubber ball very hard. If you can identify the underlying need, you're more likely to actually meet it. And if you don't know, try a few things! You've got this!
December 28th, 2021 2:29am
Take time to relax and figure out your triggers. Do something you enjoy that is distracting, and if you need to, ice and markers can help if you strongly feel the need to be physical. Walking and listening to loud music can also help stimulate your body and distract yourself. Most importantly, if you feel the need to harm yourself/other it is important that you seek help. Find and tell an adult or someone you know who you trust to get you help that you are having these thoughts/urges. SH is a serious issue and needs to be treated as such by a medical professional.