Cutting can be a fatal. Learning to resist the urge to cut can save your life or the life of someone you care about. Whether you cut because you are numb or because the pain is too intense, these techniques can help you move past this phase of your life.
1. Sensory Techniques (you want to feel)
- Snap a rubber band where you want to cut
- Listen to loud music
- Squeeze ice in your hands
- Bite a hot pepper
- Take a cold shower
- Smell Vicks Vapor Rub
2. Boundary Techniques (you can’t resist)
- Place a beautiful temporary tattoo where you want to cut
- Use sleeves with thumb holes
- Put wide bracelets on your wrists
3. Art Techniques (you want to express)
- Paint henna where you want to cut
- Create visual art (painting, drawing, graffiti, mosaics, etc.)
- Journal your feelings or write a poem, story, or play
- Create music
4. Distraction Techniques (you want to forget)
- Make your bed
- Sweep your house
- Take a shower
- Do anything that keeps you busy and keeps you safe
5. Grounding Techniques (you feel lost in the past or future)
- Orient yourself to your current location if it is safe. If you are not safe, imagine being in a place that is.
- Orient yourself to your current age. If you are safe, remember that nobody can hurt you right now. If you are not safe, get away or call 911.
- Orient yourself to the current time. If you are remembering past pain and suffering or worrying about your future, bring yourself back to the present by paying attention to your breath.
- Orient yourself to your body if you are disassociating. Pat your arms, legs, face, and torso. The sensory techniques in #1 will help as well.
If you use self harm as an escape from your pain, it is best to seek professional help.
No matter what problems you are dealing with, Lifeline wants to help you find a reason to keep living. By calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255) you’ll be connected to a skilled, trained counselor at a crisis center in your area, anytime 24/7.