Alternatives To Self-Harm

By Cheryl Rainfield, 2011

Self-harm is a coping method that may help us survive unbearable emotional pain, but it also hurts us. And you don’t deserve to be hurt, not ever–not even by yourself. So please be gentle with yourself.

If you can, instead of hurting yourself, try these alternatives. If you hurt yourself because of:

Emotional Pain:


  • Asking for a hug;
  • Talking it out;
  • Looking at feel-good images;
  • Listening to soothing music;
  • Writing, painting, or dancing it out;
  • Patting or playing with pets.



  • Forgiving yourself, and the child you once were;
  • Remembering how vulnerable you were;
  • Turning your anger on your abusers (in your mind);
  • Treating yourself the way you would a friend, someone you love.



  • Going for a run;
  • Punching a pillow;
  • Throwing raw eggs into the tub;
  • Screaming into a pillow.

Alternative to Suicide:


  • Calling a crisis line;
  • Talking to a friend. Tell them how you feel;
  • Reading Mari Collings’ Reasons Not to Kill Yourself.

Please do whatever you need to to stay safe and treat yourself kindly.

Written by Cheryl Rainfield, author of Scars, a teen novel about a girl who self-harms to cope with abuse.

Click here to download Alternatives to Self-Harm.

© Cheryl Rainfield, 2011 

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