Replacing Self Injury

Home | Committee | Forum | Event | Resources | Search | About | Contact us

Replacing Self Injury (formerly Distractions)

In many cases, people who self injure believe that the only thing involved in leading yourself to a life of recovery, is quitting self injury. Quitting can only be achieved if you find a new, healthy way of coping with your problems and/or emotions. If you try to quit self injury without substituting it with something else, you will be left with a lot of emotions and generally overwhelmed, and in most cases attempts to quit will be unsuccessful.  

Self injury can be replaced with a multitude of healthy activities. You can try some of the suggestions below. If you find that some of them do not fit your lifestyle then try to come up with alternatives using your personal interests. Make sure that whatever you decide to use as a replacement is time consuming, and involves your mind in some way. Also make sure this activity is something that brings you joy, and not frustration or other negative feelings. 

These ideas were submitted by members from Equilibrium and SIA and are an excellent way of coping through rough patches. Thank you to all of your contributions!

Get Creative!

Chill Out!

Get Active!
  • Write a poem/story/song
  • Draw/sketch/doodle
  • Sew
  • Make something
  • Play an instrument
  • Build a website
  • Do some sculpting
  • Organise your music collection with Artist/Song/Album and Genre.
  • Surf internet shopping sites like Amazon and leave reviews for everything you own or have used
  • Start a collection, badges, candles, ornaments, it's up to you!
  • Make some bracelets
  • Listening to music
  • Talk to somebody close
  • Sleep or take a nap
  • Read a good book
  • Watch TV / DVDs
  • Post on message boards
  • Get a massage
  • Hug someone
  • Hang out with friends
  • Sing
  • Take a long bath
  • Go for a drive
  • Play on your PC / Games Console
  • Learn Tarot. Try the Magicka School they have free courses online.
  • Meditate / Pray
  • Do some gardening
  • Cook a proper meal
  • Dance
  • Do some yoga
  • Ride your bike
  • Go to the gym
  • Go for a run
  • Go skating
  • Help someone
  • Go shopping
  • Clean the house
  • Go around taking photos


  • Snap your wrist with a rubber band or a hair band
  • Use washable, non-toxic markers to draw on your skin
  • Let yourself cry
  • Write a letter to the person or problem that is upsetting you, but don't mail it
  • Scream at the top of your lungs
  • Shout
  • Throw things (such as ice cubes or your pillow, NOT something like glass)
  • Rant about what you are upset about
  • Beat up a pillow / punch bag
  • Shred a phonebook or a newspaper into a thousand pieces
  • Instead of harming yourself hold an ice cube against your skin

Please keep in mind that our lives, personalities, and lifestyles are constantly changing. Change is an every day occurrence. A hobby that works for you today, may not work for you next month. Do not let this discourage you. The more you embrace, accept, and encourage change the easier the transition will be. So move on to a new hobby that catches your interest. A hobby may last you years, or just a few weeks, all depending on you. Keep that in mind! Also take into consideration having more than one hobby. Spend a week doing scrap booking, and then the following week journaling. Whatever you feel would work best at that particular time. 

Cutting | Burning | Abuse | Bruising | Eating Disorders | Personality Disorders
Safety First | Treating cuts | Treating burns | Treating bruises | Infections | Before you overdose
Why do people self-injure? | How to tell someone you self harm | Social Anxiety | You and the law
Confidentiality | Myths and Misconceptions | Distractions | Directory | Online Cinema | Linking
Building a Support System
| Replacing Self Injury