Understanding the triggers
What leads you to self-harm? Increasing your understanding of the situations, feelings or thoughts that are likely to trigger the urge to self-harm can help you begin to make changes.
Find other ways of coping
Make a list of the things you enjoy and build these into your day:
- Listening to music
- Being creative: painting, drawing, writing
- Eating something nice
- Watching a movie
- Reading a good book
- Connect with people; write a letter, call a friend, text someone
- Try mindfulness
- Try relaxation
Find other ways to communicate your distress
You may feel that self-harm is a way that you communicate emotional pain, a way of expressing your distress. If so, it may be helpful to understand that better and to work on communicating your distress in other ways.
Here are a few questions you can ask yourself:
- What do I feel like when I harm myself?
- Have I ever tried to express in words how I feel? If not, can I think of words to describe what I feel like? If I have tried and it didn’t work, can I try a different way?
- Could I share my feelings with anyone?
- Might it help to write my feelings down?
- What do I fear might be the response of people to what I have to say?
Try to learn to describe how you feel. Try to learn to say “no” when you would like to.
Looking after yourself
Make sure you look after yourself when you self-harm, even if you’re not able to stop yet. For example, keep your cuts clean and use clean instruments.
Try to do as little as you can, just enough to ease your distress. Set limits. Decide how much you’re going to allow yourself to do and keep to it.
Don’t share things you use to self-harm with anyone else. If you do, you risk infection.
Try to keep your cuts shallow. Run cool water on your burns. Use clean dressings and antiseptic cream afterwards.
Keep first aid supplies on hand and know what to do in case of emergencies. Get medical attention if needed. Be kind to yourself.