100 Alternatives to Self-Harm

Trigger Warning  Please share this post! It could really help someone in need and you never know who is suffering in silence.

Note: If you are at risk please call a crisis line and reach out to your loved ones. If you self-harm please start to engage with these alternatives – they may be uncomfortable at first and not give you the relief you desire but over time they can help you a lot.

Here are 100 alternatives to self-harm – some are to distract you, others are to help you let out painful emotions, and others to help you break out of numbness 💜

  1. Tear apart a newspaper, photos, or magazines.
  2. Go for a walk.
  3. Allow yourself to cry without shaming yourself for it. Let it all out freely.
  4. Distract yourself with funny YouTube videos.
  5. Write down words that empower you and sticky tape them on your body.
  6. Re-organize your room.
  7. Repeat a positive affirmation (e.g. “I deserve love, not pain”).
  8. Reach out to a friend and talk through your emotions.
  9. Utilize aromatherapy.
  10. Focus on your breathing.
  11. Plan your dream holiday.
  12. Squeeze and hug your pillow tightly.
  13. Have a cold shower.
  14. Write out the lyrics to your favorite song.
  15. Dance around your room to let out any excess energy.
  16. Browse Amazon and make a Wishlist.
  17. Doodle over your notebook.
  18. Buy a cuddle toy.
  19. Write your negative thoughts on a piece of paper and tear them up.
  20. Put on a stopwatch and delay harming yourself by 1 minute… then another… keep doing this -at every minute congratulate yourself on your strength and self-control.
  21. Eat chewing gum and focus all your attention on it.
  22. Practice a mindfulness exercise.
  23. Break sticks in your backyard.
  24. Rewatch your favorite TV show.
  25. Scream into a pillow.
  26. Journal your thoughts.
  27. Count the tiles on your floor.
  28. Squeeze a stress ball.
  29. Put on a fake tattoo.
  30. Study the night sky and see how many stars you can count.
  31. Blow up balloons and pop them.
  32. Scribble with crayons over a blank page.
  33. Use a pen/marker to draw on yourself.
  34. Play music and sing out the lyrics to your favorite song.
  35. Pop bubble wrap.
  36. Treat yourself to your favorite meal
  37. Count to 100.
  38. Paint your nails a new color.
  39. Pick flowers.
  40. Think about how “You don’t want scars on your body”.
  41. Post on web boards or try answering other people’s posts.
  42. Write or ready poetry.
  43. Make a to-do list.
  44. Snap a rubber band on your wrist.
  45. Go to the zoo and rename the animals.
  46. Do the exact opposite of what you really want to do.
  47. Play with a pet
  48. Sleep.
  49. Cover yourself with band-aids where you want to cut it.
  50. Write a letter to yourself.
  51. Go out and perform one act of kindness.
  52. Have a pillow fight with a wall.
  53. Dress up very glamorous, with makeup to match.
  54. Listen to (non-triggering) music.
  55. Go for a swim.
  56. Work on a website or start a new one.
  57. Find someone you can help. Do volunteer work.
  58. Bake cookies or another favorite food you like.
  59. Paint or draw.
  60. Give someone a hug.
  61. Talk to yourself and record it.
  62. Finger-paint.
  63. Scream, scream as loud as you want.
  64. Play with play dough.
  65. Make hot chocolate.
  66. Build a pillow fort.
  67. Hug yourself.
  68. Write yourself an “I love myself because” letter and keep it. Read it when you feel down.
  69. Learn a different language.
  70. Complete something you have been putting off.
  71. Drink a cup of tea.
  72. Fold the paper and invent a new origami shape.
  73. Write your memoirs.
  74. Build something.
  75. Go out for ice cream.
  76. Create something with clay.
  77. Throw rocks in the river, lake, sea…
  78. Give your pet a spa!
  79. Watch an old comedy movie.
  80. Feed the ducks, birds, or squirrels.
  81. Stretch.
  82. Find a butterfly and take a picture.
  83. Go to a public place and people watch.
  84. Make a video.
  85. Go shopping.
  86. Get into your PJs.
  87. Make slime.
  88. Think about your ideal life. What do you have to do to get there?
  89. Alphabetize your books and magazines.
  90. Try to make as many words as possible out of your full name.
  91. Color coordinate your wardrobe.
  92. Take a hot bath and “be” in the moment.
  93. Sort all your photographs.
  94. Give yourself a pedicure.
  95. Go through all your old stuff, and donate to GoodWill.
  96. Buy yourself some toys and play like you are 5 years old again! 
  97. Take your own dog or a friend’s dog for a long walk.
  98. Dance, like no one is watching.
  99. Blow bubbles.
  100. Call a crisis line.

    While coping strategies can help reduce the impulse to self-harm, they generally don’t resolve the underlying causes of emotional turmoil. That means your desire to self-harm might resurface again and again. If none of the above help, please call a crisis line or someone you trust! Be safe 💜 Lots of love!

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