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Alternatives to Cutting Yourself

written by: Diana Cooper • edited by: Lisa Lambson • updated: 11/24/2010

Learn how to stop cutting yourself by distracting yourself, calming yourself, expressing your emotions, and releasing tension when you have the urge. Finding alternatives to cutting can help you cope with life's problems in a healthier way.

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    Alternatives to Cutting

    If you are cutting yourself and are seeking alternative ways to stop, I applaud you.

    Many people, especially young teens, are or have cut themselves to help cope with strong emotions, including feelings of sadness, loneliness, shame, frustration, rejection, and anger.

    The following are ways on how to stop cutting yourself but they may not be enough.

    I strongly suggest you talk to someone about your problem. Talk to someone you can trust (a parent, teacher, coach, school counselor, doctor, or nurse).

    People who used to cut say they found much relief after opening up to someone, although it was hard to bring themselves to do it.

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    How to Stop Cutting Yourself

    Alternatives to cutting by distracting yourself until the urge of cutting passes:

    • Talk to a friend (about something that won't upset you).

    • Go for a walk or go on a bike ride.

    • Play with your pet or take them for a walk.

    • Watch TV (watch something that holds your interest and not upset you).

    • Read a good book.

    • Work on a puzzle.

    • Play a musical instrument.

    Alternatives to cutting by calming yourself:

    • Listen to soothing music.

    • Do breathing exercises

    • sit comfortably
    • close your eyes
    • inhale slowly through your nose (using your stomach and not your chest)
    • hold your breath for 3-5 seconds
    • slowly exhale from your mouth
    • do this about 5 times.

    • Close your eyes and picture yourself somewhere peaceful.

    • Curl up in bed with your pet or a warm cup of cocoa.

    Alternatives to cutting by expressing your emotions:

    • Write down your feelings.

    • Compose poetry or a song.

    • Draw or paint.

    Alternatives to cutting by releasing tension:

    • Turn on some music and dance (using fast movements).

    • Go for a run or shoot some hoops.

    • Scribble (use a red color on white paper).

    • Rip up paper.

    • Squeeze a ball or some Play-Doh.

    • Punch a pillow.

    Learning how to stop cutting yourself can be difficult, but it is not impossible. Sometimes, professional help from a therapist may be necessary and that is okay (it does not mean you are weak or crazy). They are trained to help you find why you are cutting yourself and can help you cope with problems in a much healthier way.

    Free Hotline to Help you Stop Cutting Yourself:

    1-800-DONT-CUT (1-800-366-8288)

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    Disclaimer

    Please read this disclaimer regarding the information contained within this article.

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