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Old 02-08-2012, 09:20 AM   #1
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Alternatives To Self Harm Thread. *Positive!*

Alternatives To Self Harm Thread.

I figured maybe we could have a thread where we could all share what we do alternatively to self harming, share ideas, share techniques, share distractions, comforts, soothing distractions, etc etc.

I found this also,
it may come in handy,
but add your own or discuss how it worked out for you.

The following content has been hidden - Reason : LONGGGG.
Below is a list of things to do instead of cutting, burning, bruising, or any other form of self harm.

Please keep in mind that unfortunately, not everything on this list will work for everyone.

So, if you try something and it doesn’t work for you, don’t get discouraged!

Alternatives for when you’re feeling angry or restless:
  1. Scribble on photos of people in magazines
  2. Viciously stab an orange
  3. Throw an apple against the wall[prepare for mess!]
  4. Have a pillow fight with the wall
  5. Scream very loudly
  6. Tear apart newspapers, photos, or magazines
  7. Go to the gym, dance, exercise
  8. Listen to music and sing along loudly
  9. Draw a picture of what is making you angry
  10. Beat up a stuffed bear
  11. Pop bubble wrap
  12. Pop balloons
  13. Splatter paint
  14. Scribble on a piece of paper until the whole page is black
  15. Filling a piece of paper with drawings
  16. Throw darts at a dartboard
  17. Go for a run
  18. Write your feelings on paper then rip it up
  19. Use stress relievers
  20. Build a fort of pillows and then destroy it
  21. Throw ice cubes at the bathtub, wall, at a tree, etc
  22. Get out a fine tooth comb and vigorously brush the fur of a stuffed animal (but use gentle vigor)
  23. Slash an empty plastic soda bottle or a piece of heavy cardboard or an old shirt or sock
  24. Make a soft cloth doll to represent the things you are angry at; cut and tear it instead of yourself
  25. Flatten aluminium cans for recycling, seeing how fast you can go
  26. On a sketch or photo of yourself, mark in red ink what you want to do. Cut and tear the picture
  27. Break sticks
  28. Cut up fruits
  29. Stomp around in heavy shoes
  30. Yell at what you are breaking and tell it why you are angry, hurt, upset, etc.
  31. Buy a cheap plate and decorate it with markers, stickers, cut outs from magazines, words, images, what ever that expresses your pain and sadness and when you’re done, smash it. (Please be careful when doing this)
  32. The Calm Jar (Fill a mason jar or similar with colored water and glitter. When feeling upset or angry you can shake it to disturb the glitter and focus on that until the glitter settles.)
  33. Blow up a balloon and pop it

Alternatives that will give you a sensation (other than pain) without harming yourself:
  1. Hold ice in your hands, against your arm, or in your mouth
  2. Run your hands under freezing cold water
  3. Snap a rubber band or hair band against your wrist
  4. Clap your hands until it stings
  5. Wax your legs
  6. Drink freezing cold water
  7. Splash your face with cold water
  8. Massage where you want to hurt yourself
  9. Take a hot shower/bath
  10. Jump up and down to get some sensation in your feet
  11. Write or paint on yourself
  12. Arm wrestle with someone
  13. Take a cold bath
  14. Bite into a hot pepper or chew a piece of ginger root

Alternatives that will distract you or take up time:
  1. Say “I’ll self harm in fifteen minutes if I still want to” and keep going for periods of fifteen minutes until the urge fades
  2. Color your hair
  3. Count up to ten getting louder until you are screaming
  4. Sing on the karaoke machine
  5. Complete something you’ve been putting off
  6. Take up a new hobby
  7. Make a cup of tea
  8. Tell and laugh at jokes
  9. Play solitaire
  10. Count up to 500 or 1000
  11. Surf the net
  12. Make as many words out of your full name as possible
  13. Count ceiling tiles or lights
  14. Search ridiculous things on the web
  15. Colour coordinate your wardrobe
  16. Play with toys, such as a slinky
  17. Go to the park and play on the swings
  18. Call up an old friend
  19. Go “people watching”
  20. Carry safe, rather than sharp, things in your pockets
  21. Do school work
  22. Play a musical instrument
  23. Watch TV or a movie
  24. Paint your nails
  25. Alphabetize your CDs or books
  26. Cook
  27. Make origami to occupy your hands
  28. Doodle on sheets of paper
  29. Dress up or try on old clothes
  30. Play computer games or painting programs, such as photoshop
  31. Write out lyrics to your favorite song
  32. Play a sport
  33. Read a book/magazine
  34. Do a crossword
  35. Draw a comic strip
  36. Make a chain link out of paper counting the hours or days you’ve been self harm free using pretty colored paper
  37. Knit, sew, or make a necklace
  38. Make ‘scoobies’ - braid pieces of plastic or lace, to keep your hands busy
  39. Buy a plant and take care of it
  40. Hunt for things on eBay or Amazon
  41. Browse the forums
  42. Go shopping
  43. Memorize a poem with meaning
  44. Learn to swear in another language
  45. Look up words in a dictionary
  46. Go outside and watch the clouds roll by
  47. Plan a party
  48. Find out if any concerts will be in your area
  49. Make your own dance routine
  50. Trace your hand on a piece of paper; on your thumb, write something you like to look at; on your index finger, write something you like to touch; on your middle finger, write your favorite scent; on your ring finger, write something you like the taste of; on your pinky finger, write something you like to listen to; on your palm, write something you like about yourself
  51. Plan regular activities for your most difficult time of day
  52. Finish homework before it’s due
  53. Take a break from mental processing
  54. Get out on your own, get away from the stress
  55. Go on YouTube
  56. Make a scrapbook
  57. Colour in a picture or colouring book.
  58. Make a phone list of people you can call for support. Allow yourself to use it.
  59. Pay attention to your breathing (breath slowly, in through your nose and out through your mouth)
  60. Pay attention to the rhythmic motions of your body (walking, stretching, etc.)
  61. Learn HALT signals (hungry, angry, lonely, tired)
  62. Choose a random object, like a paper clip, and try to list 30 different uses for it
  63. Pick a subject and research it on the web - alternatively, pick something to research and then keep clicking on links, trying to get as far away from the original topic as you can.
  64. Take a small step towards a goal you have.
  65. Re-organize your room
  66. Name all of your soft toys
  67. Play the A-Z game (Pick a category ie. Animals, and think of an animal for every letter of the alphabet
  68. Have a lush warm bubble bath with candles!
  69. Do some knitting
  70. Do some house hold chores

Alternatives that are completely bizarre. At the least, you’ll have a laugh:
  1. Crawl on all fours and bark like a dog or another animal
  2. Run around outside screaming
  3. Laugh for no reason whatsoever
  4. Make funny faces in a mirror
  5. Without turning orange, self tan
  6. Pluck your eyebrows
  7. Put faces on apples, oranges, or other sorts of food
  8. Go to the zoo and name all of the animals
  9. Color on the walls
  10. Blow bubbles
  11. Pull weeds in the garden

Alternatives for when you’re feeling guilty, sad, or lonely:
  1. Congratulate yourself on each minute you go without self harming
  2. Draw or paint
  3. Look at the sky
  4. Instead of punishing yourself by self harming, punish yourself by not self harming[if that makes sense]
  5. Call a friend and ask for company
  6. Buy a cuddly toy
  7. Give someone a hug with a smile
  8. Put a face mask on
  9. Watch a favorite TV show or movie
  10. Eat something ridiculously sweet
  11. Remember a happy moment and relive it for a while in your head
  12. Treat yourself to some chocolate
  13. Try to imagine the future and plan things you want to do
  14. Look at things that are special to you
  15. Compliment someone else
  16. Make sculptures
  17. Watch fish
  18. Youtube funny videos!
  19. Let yourself cry
  20. Play with a pet
  21. Have or give a massage
  22. Imagine yourself living in a perfect home and describe it in your mind
  23. If you’re religious, read the bible or pray
  24. Light a candle and watch the flame (but please be careful)
  25. Go chat in the chat room
  26. Allow yourself to cry; crying is a healthy release of emotion
  27. Accept a gift from a friend
  28. Carry tokens to remind you of peaceful comforting things/people
  29. Take a hot bath with bath oil or bubbles
  30. Curl up under a comforter with hot cocoa and a good book
  31. Write down the negative thoughts and then re-write them into positive messages.
  32. Make a tray of special treats and tuck yourself into bed with it and watch TV or read
  33. Write words in the sand for them to be washed away

Alternatives for when you’re feeling panicky or scared:
  1. “See, hear and feel”-5 things, then 4, then 3 and countdown to one which will make you focus on your surroundings and will calm you down
  2. Listen to soothing music; have a CD with motivational songs that you can listen to
  3. Meditate or do yoga
  4. Name all of your soft toys
  5. Hug a pillow or soft toy
  6. Hyper focus on something
  7. Do a “reality check list” – write down all the things you can list about where you are now (e.g. It is the 9th November 2012, I’m my bedroom and everything is going to be alright, the walls are [colour], the floor is made of [fabric])
  8. With permission, give someone a hug
  9. Drink herbal tea
  10. Crunch ice
  11. Hug a tree
  12. Go for a walk if it’s safe to do so
  13. Feel your pulse to prove you’re alive
  14. Go outside and attempt to catch butterflies or lizards
  15. Touch something familiar/safe
  16. Leave the room if it's a reason why you're feeling scared/panicky
  17. Lay on your back in bed comfortably (eyes closed), and breathe in for 4, hold for 2, out for 4, hold for 2. Make sure to fill your belly up with air, not your chest. If your shoulders are going up, keep working on it. When you’re comfortable breathing, put your hand on your belly and rub up and down in time with your breathing. If your mind wanders to other things, move it back to focusing ONLY on the synchronized movement of your hand and breathing.
  18. Give yourself permission to…. (Keep it safe)
  19. Create a safe place for yourself and take yourself there
  20. Lay on the grass and watch the clouds. You can try to make pictures with them too.
  21. Light a candle and watch the flame

Alternatives that will hopefully make you think twice about harming yourself:
  1. Think about how you don’t want scars
  2. Treat yourself nicely
  3. Remember that you don’t have to hurt yourself just because you’re thinking about self harm
  4. Create a safe place to go
  5. Acknowledge that self harm is harmful behavior: say “I want to hurt myself” rather than “I want to cut”
  6. Repeat to yourself “I don’t deserve to be hurt” even if you don’t believe it
  7. Remember that you always have the choice not to cut: it’s up to you what you do
  8. Think about how you may feel guilty after self harming
  9. Get your friends to make you friendship bracelets: wear them around your wrists to remind you of them when you want to cut
  10. Be with other people
  11. Make your own list of things to do instead of self harm
  12. Make a list of your positive character traits
  13. Be nice to your family, who in return, will hopefully be nice to you
  14. Put a band-aid on the area where you’d like to self harm
  15. Recognize and acknowledge the choices you have NOW
  16. Pay attention to the changes needed to make you feel safe
  17. Notice “choices” versus “dilemmas”
  18. Lose the “should-could-have to” words. Try… “What if”
  19. Choose your way of thinking, try to resist following old thinking patterns
  20. The Butterfly project
  21. Write the name of a loved one [a friend, family member, or anyone else who cares about you] and write their name where you want to self harm. When you go to self harm remember how much they care and wouldn’t want you to harm yourself.
  22. Think about what you would say to a friend who was struggling with the same things you are and try to be a good friend to yourself.
  23. Make a bracelet out duct tape, and put a line on it every day (Or any period of time) you go without self harm. When it’s full of lines, take it off and make a chain out of all the bracelets and hang it up somewhere where you can be reminded of your great progress. Reward yourself for resisting.

Alternatives that give the illusion of seeing something similar to blood:
  1. Draw on yourself with a red pen or body paint
  2. Cover yourself with plasters where you want to cut
  3. Give yourself a henna or fake tattoo
  4. Make “wounds” with makeup, like lipstick
  5. Take a small bottle of liquid red food coloring and warm it slightly by dropping it into a cup of hot water for a few minutes. Uncap the bottle and press its tip against the place you want to cut. Draw the bottle in a cutting motion while squeezing it slightly to let the food color trickle out.
  6. Draw on the areas you want to cut using ice that you’ve made by dropping red food color into each of the ice-cube tray wells.
  7. Paint yourself with red paint.
  8. ‘Cut’ your skin with nail polish (it feels cold, but it’s hard to get off)

Alternatives to help you sort through your feelings:
  1. Phone a friend and talk to them
  2. Make a collage of how you feel
  3. Negotiate with yourself
  4. Identify what is hurting so bad that you need to express it in this way
  5. Make a feelings diary
  6. Free write (Write down whatever you’re thinking at that moment, even if it doesn’t make sense)
  7. Make lists of everything such as blessings in your life
  8. Make a notebook of song lyrics that you relate to
  9. Write a letter to someone telling them how you feel (you don’t have to send it)
  10. Start a grateful journal where everyday you write down three: good things that happened/ things that you accomplished/ are grateful for/ made you smile. Make sure the journal is strictly for positive things. Then when you feel down you can go back and look at it.
  11. Call a hotline

In a world where you can be anything, be yourself.

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Old 02-08-2012, 09:30 AM   #2
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Ooh, neat idea. :)

*Go to Starbucks (okay, so this doesn't work for everyone, but it works for me).
*Call a friend.

It doesn't matter where you come from; it matters where you go.
No-one gets remembered for the things they didn't do.
We won't all be here this time next year,
so while you can take a picture of us.
We're definitely going to hell,
but we'll have all the best stories to tell.

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Old 02-08-2012, 09:48 AM   #3
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:) I'm glad.

Oooh, starbucks! I love starbucks.
Very good idea there!

In a world where you can be anything, be yourself.

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Old 02-08-2012, 09:49 AM   #4
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This is a great idea for a thread. I'll have a think.


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Old 02-08-2012, 03:20 PM   #5
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I like to do origami sometimes, for focus and to keep my hands busy.

We Do Not See,
What We See.

Bury Me.

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Old 02-08-2012, 04:18 PM   #6
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Starbucks or Costa
Using stick people as a story board to express yourself which helps if you feel like you can't draw

Get multicoloured paper and cut it up or tear it, or into shapes that calm you like moon and stars.

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Old 02-08-2012, 06:51 PM   #7
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Those are great ideas:) I usually read or listen to music really loudly and try to channel my emotions through the lyrics.

Those who wish to sing, always find a song

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Old 02-08-2012, 09:14 PM   #8
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I usually listen to music, write or watch movies.
This is a really helpful list. c:

The Trick Is To Keep Breathing

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Old 02-08-2012, 10:42 PM   #9
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I found a couple of these threads already.
This one isn't so good... Here.
This one isn't quite the same but is probably the best... Here.

Just incase they have more ideas.

The world is just illusion always trying to change me.
You will find wonder wherever you can, and spread joy whenever you are able.

I felt emotions of gentleness and pleasure, that had long appeared dead, divide within me. - Frankenstein.

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Old 02-08-2012, 10:56 PM   #10
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Dip your hand in pva glue, dry, then peel it off.

Hold Out Your Hand. Let Me Feel You As The Sun Comes Up Again.
I've Never Felt So Free. We Made It Through The Night.
Forget About The Fight. We Left The Cold, And The Darkness Tried To Take Us Down.
I've Never Felt So Free. We Made It Through The Night

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Old 03-08-2012, 02:31 AM   #11
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Femme - I know there are probably similar/alike threads, but I haven't seen any for a while,and I thought we could use some positivity and share lots of different distractions and ideas with one another, but thank you for linking those too, I'm sure they will incline others to go check them out and maybe even get some new ideas that way, too.

Crimson, that's a good idea, especially if you have trouble with picking at wounds/scabs/etc.

Everyone else - all of your ideas are awesome!


In a world where you can be anything, be yourself.

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Old 03-08-2012, 05:45 PM   #12
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I do like the pva glue idea

Has anyone tried airdough? You can make good stress balls out of that. It can be punched too!

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Old 03-08-2012, 09:07 PM   #13
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I did mean for them to be other points of refferance and not at all to be anything else. I agree, we haven't had one of these for a while.
It's Flem btw. :]

The world is just illusion always trying to change me.
You will find wonder wherever you can, and spread joy whenever you are able.

I felt emotions of gentleness and pleasure, that had long appeared dead, divide within me. - Frankenstein.

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Old 03-08-2012, 09:31 PM   #14
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t-shirt reconstruction! it's quite satisfying to cut fabric, especially on bigger men's-like tshirts made out of thicker fabric. and then there's lots of ripping and stretching of the material involved. just something that i've been interested in lately. youtube it, there's lots of tutorials. my wardrobe is growing more and more shredded as the days go by. o.o

also wanted to add that as somebody who is really depressed about her lack of creativity as of late, and inability to produce art like i used to, i've found that one cathartic way to get something, anything out, artistically, is with oil pastels. there's something satisfying to me about the thickness and depth of the medium, even if i'm just scribbling nonsense or drawing simplistic things.

Last edited by pandachan : 03-08-2012 at 09:42 PM. Reason: forgetful panda
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Old 04-08-2012, 08:51 AM   #15
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Self harm release; polos and bottle of 7 up/lemonade, shake, then explode

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Old 14-02-2013, 09:35 PM   #16
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Bump for epic amazing thread!

(I like this one because it has all the different reasons for self-harming and appropriate alternatives in lists! )

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Old 16-02-2013, 08:16 PM   #17
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love it, thanks :)

How can the light that burned so brightly
Suddenly burn so pale?

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Old 16-02-2013, 08:31 PM   #18
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I think it's a great thread. I'm new to the website and just getting started. I'm in treatment for various thing's and its not going so good at the moment.

I usually go hiking or if I have the time i watch a movie. I have an account on IMdB and I'm tracking all the movies i have seen.

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Old 16-02-2013, 08:38 PM   #19
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Oh wow thats a really good list!

I've blogged out my feelings, and gone out of the house to get air, or called someone :)

♥ .I'm going to fall like I don't need saving. ♥
...My smile's just the armour I built when I was alone...

There was some part of me that hurt so badly, that I wouldn't ever be able to forget it.
It faded but the memories could bring it back any second, keeping me in the moment.
It would never fully heal. I could never really be free. I could never really be fixed.
Now I just have to work out how to live whilst being broken.
I feel like I'm dying.

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Old 16-02-2013, 08:51 PM   #20
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Some of the time i....
. draw
.write about how i am feeling get everything down on paper then rip it up so its like the feelings are gone
.talk to someone about how i feel
.listen to music

Im not afraid .......Or am I ?

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