Coping Skills for Self-Harm: 5 Effective Strategies You Should Know

You may engage in self-harm to cope with challenging thoughts and feelings. However, self-harming behavior is often compulsive, which can make it challenging to stop. If you’re struggling, it’s important to learn how to express yourself in healthier ways. 

Let’s get into the top coping skills for self-harm.

Practice Mindfulness

People who self-harm often struggle with feeling stuck in their pasts or overly anxious about their futures. Mindfulness refers to the conscious intention of staying in the present moment. When practiced regularly, mindfulness can help reduce urges associated with self-harm. It can also improve symptoms related to depression and anxiety. Some tips for mindfulness include: 

  • Taking deep breaths. Breathe in through your mouth and hold the air for five counts. Exhale using your stomach and hold the release for five counts. Repeat 5–10 times.
  • Stretching. Commit to 5–10 minutes of stretching your body each day. Don’t worry about doing it “right.” Instead, focus on how it feels to honor your body.
  • Grounding exercises. When you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, practice bringing yourself back into the present moment. You can do this by focusing on engaging your five senses.

Remember that mindfulness may not feel natural at first. That’s normal. Consistent practice will make it feel more intuitive over time.


Find a Creative Outlet

People who self-harm often struggle with feeling stuck in their pasts or overly anxious about their futures. Mindfulness refers to the conscious intention of staying in the present moment. When practiced regularly, mindfulness can help reduce urges associated with self-harm. It can also improve symptoms related to depression and anxiety. Some tips for mindfulness include:

  • Taking deep breaths. Breathe in through your mouth and hold the air for five counts. Exhale using your stomach and hold the release for five counts. Repeat 5–10 times.
  • Stretching. Commit to 5–10 minutes of stretching your body each day. Don’t worry about doing it “right.” Instead, focus on how it feels to honor your body.
  • Grounding exercises. When you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, practice bringing yourself back into the present moment. You can do this by focusing on engaging your five senses.

Remember that mindfulness may not feel natural at first. That’s normal. Consistent practice will make it feel more intuitive over time.


Practice Positive Affirmations

Self-harm often comes from a place of profoundly low self-esteem and self-worth. In your recovery, it’s essential to counteract those negative thoughts you hold about yourself.

 Some positive affirmations for self-harm include: 

  • My feelings are important, and I deserve to feel them.
  • These feelings won’t last forever.
  • I am a good person.
  • I have suffered enough, and I don’t deserve to suffer anymore.
  • I am good enough exactly as I am.
  • I am worthy of healing.

 Write down affirmations that resonate with you and remind yourself of them whenever you struggle with self-harm urges.


Get the Most from Professional Support

Self-help strategies can work, but sometimes people need additional support. A qualified therapist can help you understand your emotions and triggers. They can also teach you a variety of alternative coping skills for self-harm and other issues.

To get the most from your treatment, it’s important to be honest and engaged with the process. Remember that your therapist is there to listen, teach, and encourage you to heal. The more open you are, the more you will gain from the work.


Final Thoughts on Coping Skills for Self-Harm

No matter your circumstances, you deserve to heal. Learning and practicing new coping skills for self-harm is an essential part of your recovery.


Get Help for Your Child or Teen

Sources

  1. Raypole, C. (2019, May 24). 30 Grounding Techniques to Quiet Distressing Thoughts. Healthline; Healthline Media. https://www.healthline.com/health/grounding-techniques