Teens who engage in acts of self-harm often find it difficult to quit outright. That’s why it’s so important for teens to find healthy outputs and alternatives to self-harm that can help them manage their negative impulses. Safe alternatives to self-injury can help teens stop self-harming, while also providing benefits to their mind, body and mood.
Safe Alternatives Can Keep the Mind Distracted
When the urge to self-harm arises, sometimes keeping the mind distracted with other tasks is enough to reduce the urge to hurt yourself. Video games are a great distraction from self-harm (especially if you have a friend or sibling join in), as is coloring in a coloring book, completing a crossword puzzle or grooming and brushing your pet.
Safe Alternatives Can Help You Be Productive
Being productive can be a helpful way to avoid self-harming. Most teens have a list of things they’ve been meaning to do, whether it’s cleaning their room, finishing up a project for school, practicing guitar or reconnecting with an old friend. Checking a task off the to-do list is not only a healthy alternative to self-injury, but it will probably make your teen feel better about themselves.
Safe Alternatives Can Improve Your Physical Health
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Physical activity has been scientifically proven to help teens that are struggling with self-harm by lessening the urge to self-injure and boosting the production of feel-good endorphins, but choosing to exercise instead of self-harm can also help improve one’s physical health. Whether it’s yoga, jogging, biking, karate, shooting hoops or anything else that gets the body moving, encourage your teen to explore various types of physical activity until they find one that they enjoy.
Safe Alternatives Can Boost Your Creativity
If you’ve got a teenager that enjoys creative pursuits such as drawing, painting, playing music or woodworking, you may want to encourage them to pursue their creativity when they’re feeling down. Many teens who struggle with self-injury put their creativity on the back burner while they’re struggling, but by picking up a pencil and creating images of things that inspire them, places they’d like to see or things they’d like to feel, they can simultaneously avoid self-harming while engaging with their creativity.
Safe Alternatives Can Improve Your Mood
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Whether it’s spending time with the family pet, watching a funny movie with their parents, having a warm, soothing bath or baking a favorite treat, teens who engage in a safe alternative to self-injury that they enjoy will probably find that their mood has been improved.
Safe Alternatives Can Help You Feel Less Isolated
Many teens who self-harm feel isolated and alone from their peers, which is why it’s so important for teens to spend time with their friends engaging in healthy activities. Whether it’s a movie night at home, a hike on a favorite trail or having a heart-to-heart over coffee, spending time with friends instead of self-harming will help your teen feel less isolated.
Safe alternatives to self-harm can help prevent your teen from hurting themselves, while also providing benefits such as a better mood or higher productivity. However, you may also find that talking to a professional can help your teen beat their self-injury habit and improve their quality of living.
Feature Image: Ravi Roshan