First, people generally do not wish to hurt themselves, but see no better way of managing their emotions. The suggestions below are for people who have made the decision to quit self-injuring, and are looking for alternative strategies to deal with their emotions. Author Deb Martinson suggests looking at the emotions behind the urge (e.g., anger, frustration, restlessness, sadness, melancholic, craving sensation, wanting to see blood, wanting to focus) to help determine which strategies you might try.
Techniques to Try to Quit Self-Injuring:
- Distract yourself. Get away from the situation you are in, and do something else.
- Talk with someone who is supportive, such as a family member, friend, RA, hall director, minister or counselor.
- Engage in another activity that requires stimulation. Give yourself a massage, take a warm or cool shower, squeeze ice, finger paint, or squish Play-dough.
- Exercise is a way of quickly managing emotions. Go for a brisk walk or run, punch a pillow, swim, lift weights, or engage in other aerobic activities that require physical exertion.
- Pamper yourself by doing something soothing. Read, listen to music, take a relaxing bath, look at the moon or clouds, open a window to get some fresh air.
- Make a list of activities to engage in that have been helpful in the past when you have had the urge to self-injure. Keep this list handy to refer to in the future should you have the urge to self-injure.