The Coping Kete

No. 107: Think of the Safer Alternatives

This week, to attain, maintain or regain my sense of wellbeing…

…I will practice harm minimisation as a way of responding to distress. As I move through my week, when I notice small changes in my mood or any self-destructive urges, I will practice thinking of the safest way of responding to the way I feel.

Where I might sometimes have the urge to do something to hurt myself to express the way I feel, this week, I will practice thinking about the less harmful alternatives.

When I notice my thinking or feelings heading in a self-destructive direction, I will ask myself “what would be the safest way of responding to this?”

For example, if I notice myself thinking about cutting myself to relieve my distress, I will think about some less harmful things that might give me the same release. In this way, I will nurture my wellbeing and treat myself with a bit more respect and kindness.

Using intense, but safe sensations is often really helpful. Some people find that holding a piece of ice or running a piece of sharp ice over their skin gives them an intense almost painful sensation that can replace the need to cut. Other people find snapping a rubber band on their wrist does the same thing. Yet other people find that running a red felt-tip pen over their arm gives them an intense visual picture that replaces the need to self-harm. Some people find them all helpful at different times. This week I will practice imagining doing these kinds of things rather than thinking about hurting myself.

This week, I will practice thinking about doing these kinds of things whenever I notice myself thinking about hurting myself. Once I have gotten used to thinking about these safer alternative ways of reacting to my distress, I will add ‘Think of a Safer Alternative’ and the strategies I thought of to my Personal Coping Kete as a way of responding when I feel the urge to hurt myself.

Leave a Reply

Post Navigation