Self-harm help, top tips on breaking the cycle

Self-harm help, top tips on breaking the cycle

If you feel like you want to self-harm there are some tried and tested ways of dispelling the urge:

1) Distraction

Distracting yourself from the feelings and/or triggers can help quell the powerful urge to self-harm. Distraction techniques may include:

• getting out of your immediate surroundings

• doing a physically demanding activity, such as aerobics, boxing or running

• doing a mentally demanding activity such as puzzles, writing or reading

• seeing a friend or family member.

2) Expression

Expressing your feelings in an alternative way can help channel these powerful emotions more constructively. Some ideas you might like to try:

• art

• poetry

• keeping a diary (this also helps track triggers and episodes)

• going to a quiet place and screaming very loudly

• punching pillows or a punchbag

• doing a sport such as kick-boxing which deals with releasing emotion.

3) Alternatives

If you feel the urge to self-harm, a trick which has worked for some is to take an ice cube in your hand and squeeze it very hard. The cold sensation can produce similar feelings to that of 

self-harm without being damaging or dangerous. 

Again releasing anger by punching pillows or a punchbag can help these feelings dissipate. These are short-term solutions and the underlying emotions should still be addressed.

Other tips to deal with self-harming behavior

• Build self-esteem – via positive affirmations, writing down things you like about yourself (or what others say are your positives), taking up a meaningful hobby or volunteering, educate yourself on self-harm and learn this is not your fault and can be beaten.

• Talk – either to friends and family or support groups/forums

• Call a helpline and keep the number handy – SANELine 0845 767 8000

• Breathe and relax – learn techniques to help yourself keep calm

• Keep your life as trigger free as possible

• Join a group or forum with other people who can help and share advice

Further help

Self-harm help and information

Self-harm top tips on breaking the cycle

Adult self-harm a real-life story

What is self-harm? A brief overview

Self harm facts

Self-injury an intimate blog post

Blake Fielder Civil - Life after Amy Winehouse, recovery from drugs and self harm

External help

Borderline Personality Disorder help

We hope you have found this information useful, please also see

What is Borderline Personality Disorder

Borderline Personality Disorder Symptoms

Borderline Personality Disorder Treatments

Living with Borderline Personality Disorder

Real Life: Borderline Personality Disorder

Borderline Personality Disorder - Basic Facts from SANE

A tribute to tragic suicide victim Louise Wright

Family of Borderline Personality Disorder suicide victim speak out

Marsha Linehan, BPD and DBT

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