Other Methods to Avoid Cutting

  • Scribble on photos of people in magazines
  • Viciously stab an orange.
  • Throw an apple/pair of socks against the wall
  • Have a pillow fight with the wall
  • Scream very loudly
  • Tear apart newspapers, photos, or magazines
  • Go to the gym, dance, exercise
  • Listen to music and sing along loudly
  • Draw a picture of what is making you angry
  • Beat up a stuffed bear
  • Pop bubble wrap
  • Pop balloons
  • Splatter paint
  • Scribble on a piece of paper until the whole page is black
  • Filling a piece of paper with drawing cross hatches
  • Throw darts at a dartboard
  • Go for a run
  • Write your feelings on paper then rip it up
  • Use stress relievers
  • Build a fort of pillows and then destroy it
  • Throw ice cubes at the bathtub wall, at a tree, etc
  • Get out a fine tooth comb and vigorously brush the fur of a stuffed animal
  • Slash an empty plastic soda bottle or a piece of heavy cardboard or an old shirt or sock
  • Make a soft cloth doll to represent the things you are angry at; cut and tear it instead of yourself
  • Flatten aluminium cans for recycling, seeing how fast you can go
  • On a sketch or photo of yourself, mark in red ink what you want to do. Cut and tear the picture
  • Break sticks
  • Cut up fruits
  • Make yourself as comfortable as possible
  • Stomp around in heavy shoes
  • Play handball or tennis
  • Yell at what you are breaking and tell it why you are angry, hurt, upset
  • Hold ice in your hands, against your arm, or in your mouth
  • Run your hands under freezing cold water
  • Snap a rubber band or hair band against your wrist
  • Clap your hands until it stings
  • Wax your legs
  • Drink freezing cold water
  • Splash your face with cold water
  • Put PVA/Elmer's glue on your hands then peel it off
  • Massage where you want to hurt yourself
  • Take a hot shower/bath
  • Jump up and down to get some sensation in your feet
  • Write or paint on yourself
  • Arm wrestle with a member of your family
  • Take a cold bath
  • Bite into a hot pepper or chew a piece of ginger root
  • Rub liniment under your nose
  • Put tiger balm on the places you want to cut.
  • 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
  • Color your hair
  • Count up to ten getting louder until you are screaming
  • Sing on the karaoke machine
  • Complete something you’ve been putting off
  • Take up a new hobby
  • Make a cup of tea
  • Tell and laugh at jokes
  • Play solitaire
  • Count up to 500 or 1000
  • Surf the net
  • Make as many words out of your full name as possible
  • Count ceiling tiles or lights
  • Search ridiculous things on the web
  • Colour coordinate your wardrobe
  • Play with toys, such as a slinky
  • Go to the park and play on the swings
  • Call up an old friend
  • Go "people watching"
  • Carry safe, rather than sharp, things in your pockets
  • Do school work
  • Play a musical instrument
  • Watch TV or a movie
  • Paint your nails
  • Alphabetize your CDs or books
  • Cook
  • Make origami to occupy your hands
  • Doodle on sheets of paper
  • Dress up or try on old clothes
  • Play computer games or painting programs, such as Adobe Photoshop
  • Write out lyrics to your favorite song
  • Play a sport
  • Read a book/magazine
  • Do a crossword
  • Draw a comic strip
  • Make a chain link out of paper counting the hours or days you've been self harm free using pretty colored paper
  • Knit, sew, or make a necklace
  • Buy a plant and take care of it
  • Hunt for things on eBay or Amazon
  • Browse the forums
  • Go shopping
  • Memorize a poem with meaning
  • Learn to swear in another language
  • Look up words in a dictionary
  • Play hide-and-seek with your siblings
  • Go outside and watch the clouds roll by
  • Plan a party
  • Find out if any concerts will be in your area
  • Play a musical instrument
  • Make your own dance routine
  • 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
  • Plan regular activities for your most difficult time of day
  • Finish homework before it's due
  • Take a break from mental processing
  • Notice black and white thinking
  • Get out on your own, get away from the stress
  • Go on YouTube
  • Make a scrapbook
  • Make a phone list of people you can call for support. Allow yourself to use it.
  • Pay attention to your breathing
  • Pay attention to the rhythmic motions of your body
  • Learn HALT signals
  • Choose a random object, like a paper clip, and try to list 30 different uses for it
  • Pick a subject and research it on the web
  • Crawl on all fours and bark like a dog or another animal
  • Run around outside screaming
  • Laugh for no reason whatsoever
  • Make funny faces in a mirror
  • Without turning orange, self tan
  • Pluck your eyebrows
  • Put faces on apples, oranges, or other sorts of food
  • Go to the zoo and name all of the animals
  • Color on the walls
  • Blow bubbles
  • Pull weeds in the garden
  • Congratulate yourself on each minute you go without self harming
  • Draw or paint
  • Look at the sky
  • Instead of punishing yourself by self harming, punish yourself by not self harming
  • Call a friend and ask for company
  • Buy a cuddly toy
  • Give someone a hug with a smile
  • Put a face mask on
  • Watch a favorite TV show or movie
  • Eat something ridiculously sweet
  • Remember a happy moment and relive it for a while in your head
  • Treat yourself to some chocolate
  • Try to imagine the future and plan things you want to do
  • Look at things that are special to you
  • Compliment someone else
  • Make sculptures
  • Watch fish
  • Let yourself cry
  • Play with a pet
  • Have or give a massage
  • Imagine yourself living in a perfect home and describe it in your mind
  • If you're religious, read the bible or pray
  • Light a candle and watch the flame
  • Go chat in the chat room
  • Allow yourself to cry
  • Accept a gift from a friend
  • Carry tokens to remind you of peaceful comforting things/people
  • Take a hot bath with bath oil or bubbles
  • Curl up under a comforter with hot cocoa and a good book
  • Make affirmation tapes inside you that are good, kind, gentle
  • Make a tray of special treats and tuck yourself into bed with it and watch TV or read
  • “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
  • Listen to soothing music; have a CD with motivational songs that you can listen to
  • Meditate or do yoga
  • Name all of your soft toys
  • Hug a pillow or soft toy
  • Hyper focus on something
  • Do a “reality check list” – write down all the things you can list about where you are now
  • With permission, give someone a hug
  • Drink herbal tea
  • Crunch ice
  • Hug a tree
  • Go for a walk if it's safe to do so
  • Feel your pulse to prove you're alive
  • Go outside and attempt to catch butterflies or lizards
  • Put your feet firmly on the floor
  • Accept where you are in the process. Beating yourself up, only makes it worse
  • Touch something familiar/safe
  • Leave the room
  • Give yourself permission to...
  • Think about how you don’t want scars
  • Treat yourself nicely
  • Remember that you don’t have to hurt yourself just because you're thinking about self harm
  • Create a safe place to go
  • Acknowledge that self harm is harmful behavior: say “I want to hurt myself” rather than “I want to cut”
  • Repeat to yourself “I don’t deserve to be hurt” even if you don’t believe it
  • Remember that you always have the choice not to cut: it’s up to you what you do
  • Think about how you may feel guilty after self harming
  • Remind yourself that the urge to self harm is impulsive: you will only feel like cutting for short bursts of time
  • Avoid temptation
  • Get your friends to make you friendship bracelets: wear them around your wrists to remind you of them when you want to cut
  • Be with other people
  • Make your own list of things to do instead of self harm
  • Make a list of your positive character traits
  • Be nice to your family, who in return, will hopefully be nice to you
  • Put a band-aid on the area where you'd like to self harm
  • Recognize and acknowledge the choices you have NOW
  • Pay attention to the changes needed to make you feel safe
  • Notice "choices" versus "dilemmas"
  • Lose the "should-could-have to" words. Try... "What if"
  • Kiss the places you want to SH or kiss the places you have healing wounds. It can be a reminder that you care about myself and that you don't want this
  • Choose your way of thinking, try to resist following old thinking patterns
  • The Butterfly project- draw a butterfly on the place that you would self harm and if the butterfly fades without self-harming, it means it has lived and flown away, giving a sense of achievement. Whereas if you do self-harm with the butterfly there; you will have to wash it off. If that does happen, you can start again by drawing a new one on. You can name the butterfly after someone you love.
  • Draw on yourself with a red pen or body paint
  • Cover yourself with plasters where you want to cut
  • Give yourself a henna or fake tattoo
  • Make “wounds” with makeup, like lipstick
  • 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.
  • Draw on the areas you want to cut using ice that you've made by dropping six or seven drops of red food color into each of the ice-cube tray wells.
  • Paint yourself with red tempera paint.
  • 'Cut' your skin with nail polish
  • Phone a friend and talk to them
  • Make a collage of how you feel
  • Negotiate with yourself
  • Identify what is hurting so bad that you need to express it in this way
  • Write your feelings in a diary
  • Make lists of everything such as blessings in your life
  • Make a notebook of song lyrics that you relate to
  • Call a hotline
  • Write a letter to someone telling them how you feel