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1.  Put on fake tattoos. 
2.  Draw on yourself with washable red marker-then take a shower and wash away your pain.
3.  Scribble on sheets of paper.
4.  Write poetry.
5.  Exercise. 

6.  Cuddle with a stuffed toy.
7.  Be with other people.
8.  Watch a favorite TV show.
9.  Post on web boards or try answering other people's posts.
10. Think about how "I DON'T WANT SCARS FOR SUMMER!!"
11.  Paint your nails a new color.
12.  Go out to see a movie.
13.  Eat something you can't resist.
14.  Do your schoolwork.
15.  Write a letter to someone but never send it.
16.  Go into chat rooms to talk.
17.  Call a friend and ask them to come to hang out.
18.  Play a musical instrument.
19.  Sing.
20.  Look up at the sky, and find the moon. Study it.
21.  Make your own list of things to do instead of self injure.

22.  Buy a punching bag (with gloves) Name it. Then, have a visit with "Bob" when you need to.
23.  Snap a rubber band or hair band on your wrist.
24.  Cover yourself with band-aids where you want to cut.
25.  Go to the zoo and rename the animals.
26.  Let yourself cry, even if it is hard.
27.  Sleep.
28.  Do the exact opposite of what you really want to do.
29.  Play with a pet.
30.  Smile to at least 5 people.
31.  Re-organize and label your linen closet.
32.  Go out and perform one act of kindness.
33.  Have a pillow fight with a wall.
34.  Knit a scarf.
35.  Read a book.
36.  Dress up very glamorous with makeup to match. 
37.  Color your hair.
38.  Listen to music (non-triggering)
39.  Learn to code.
40.  Find someone else you can help. Do volunteer work.
41.  Meditate. Track your breathing.
42.  Call up an old friend and catch up.
43.  Work on a website or start a new one.
44.  Have a vivid fantasy love affair with a celebrity.
45.  Go somewhere very public.
46.  Bake cookies or another favorite food you like.
47.  Go for a swim.
48.  Chew gum.
49.  Buy a henna tattoo kit.
50.  Paint or draw. 
51.  Rip paper into really small pieces.
52.  Give someone a hug.
53.  Write letters or emails.
54.  Talk to yourself, and put it on tape. 
55.  Hug a pillow.
56.  Hyper-focus on something like a rock.
57.  Finger paint.
58.  Scream as loud as you want.
59.  Dance.
60.  Make hot chocolate.
61.  Pop bubble wrap.
62.  Play with play dough.
63.  Count to 100.
64.  Build a pillow fort.
65.  Blow up a balloon and pop it.
66.  Hug yourself.
67.  Write yourself an "I love myself because" letter and keep it. Read it when you feel down.
68.  Read things in a different language.
69.  Go for a nice long drive, walk, or jog.
70.  Complete something you have been putting off.
71.  Drink a cup of herbal tea.
72.  Fold paper and invent a new origami shape.
73.  Write your memoirs.
74.  Build something.
75.  Take up archery.  
76.  Go rock climbing.
77.  Take up a new hobby you always dreamed of.
78.  Organize bills, receipts, etc.
79.  Cook a meal.
80.  Go out for ice cream.
81.  Buy a stuffed animal.
82.  Look at pretty things like flowers or artwork.
83.  Create something with clay.
84.  Pray or read the Bible.
85.  Throw socks against the wall.
86.  Make a list of blessings in your life.
87.  Go to a friend's house and open up.
88.  Give your dog a spa!
89.  Watch an old comedy movie.
90.  Call your therapist.
91.  Talk to someone close to you that you trust.
92.  Throw a temper tantrum.
93.  Ride a bicycle.
94.  Polish silver or jewelry.
95.  Start a garden or water your house plants.
96.  Re-arrange a room.
97.  Feed the ducks, birds, or squirrels.
98.  Draw on the walls or paint with watercolors if you don't want permanence.
99.  Play with face paint.
100.  Play jacks or pick up sticks.
101.  Color with crayons.
102.  Memorize a song and sing it. Then, reflect on its message.
103.  Put on boots and stomp.
104.  Stretch.
105.  Find a butterfly and take a picture.
106.  Watch fish.
107.  Come up with baby names even if you aren't expecting.
108.  Go to a public place and people watch.
109.  Make a video.
110.  Name all of your stuffed animals.
111.  Go shopping.
112.  Get into your PJ's and just veg.
113.  Buy cheap teddy bears and take your anger out on them.
114.  Make slime.
115.  Go to a loud concert (make sure it doesn't trigger you)
116.  Think about your ideal life. What do you have to do to get there?
117.  Plan your someday wedding day or upcoming prom.
118.  Hunt for stuff on Ebay or Amazon
119.  Alphabetize your books and magazines.
120.  Hunt for your perfect home in the paper or online.
121.  Take up Tai Chi.
122.  Try to make as many words as possible out of your full name. 
123.  Count ceiling tiles or lights.
124.  Go to the grocery store and buy yourself some flowers.
125.  Search for ridiculous things on the web.
126.  Google yourself.
127.  Color co-ordinate your wardrobe.
128.  Do a home tan on yourself.
129.  Take a hot bath and "be" in the moment.
130.  Sort all your photographs.
131.  Give yourself a pedicure.
132.  Color or scribble over pretty women in magazines.
133.  Plan a dinner party with menus and a guest list, then carry it out.
134.  Go through all your old stuff and donate to Good Will.
135.  Take a walk in the woods and breathe the fresh air.
136.  Start a mood journal and write in it every day. Do patterns surface? Track your triggers.
137.  Buy yourself some toys and play like you are 5 years old again!
138.  Start to collect some thing.
139.  Take up kick-boxing.
140.  Read a magazine or newspaper.
141.  Sew something.
142.  Buy a stuffed animal other than a teddy bear.

143.  Take your own dog or a friend's dog for a walk.
Most Important:
144. Call 1-800-DONT CUT
145. Call 1-800-THERAPIST
146. Read through this list again.

146 things to do besides self-harm



YOU CAN GET BETTER.  Because other teenagers like yourself self-injure, it’s likely that there are people around who can understand and can help. This is a difficult time in your life.  However, with help, you can get to the point where you don’t hurt yourself anymore.

TALK TO SOMEONE.  Talk to a trusted adult -– a relative, adult friend, teacher, coach, parent – someone who will be your advocate. Going to your school’s counseling center is a good place to start. If you’re not comfortable with that, think about contacting your local mental health association. You can also call or text (988) at any time day or night.

HELP IS AVAILABLE.  Now is the best time to get help with this problem. If you wait, the problem will only get bigger and soon everyone will know about it.  But if you find a way to meet it head-on today, you’ll be free of it and free to get on with your life.


you are

not alone

PDF file of "146 Things" to download

the butterfly project

Sally, a 15 yr old female teen, had been making tremendous progress in her recovery journey. She reported feeling happier and felt so proud that she couldn't remember the last time she had cut herself. She explained how the "Butterfly Project" and the "Recovery Bracelet" had helped her the most. Every week she didn't cut, she earned and then placed a butterfly charm onto her recovery bracelet. She was so proud of that bracelet!!

When faced with urges to cut, she would instead touch her bracelet, which was proof that she was recovering. One day Sally was walking in the woods when she came upon a blue butterfly with a broken wing, so she picked it up.

"A butterfly rescued me when I felt broken. Now it was "MY" turn to rescue an injured butterfly ."

 ASIF adopted a butterfly as a symbol of inspiration, resiliency, empowerment, and hope for self-injuring teens in their journey towards happiness.

Sally and the injured butterfly

injured butterfly

The idea is simple!

You simply draw a butterfly on the place(s) of self-harm and if the butterfly fades without self-harming, it means that the butterfly lived and has flown away, giving you a sense of achievement. 

Whereas if you do self-harm while the butterfly is still visible, you have to wash it off. If that does happen, you can start again by drawing a new one on.

Another idea is to write the names of your friends and family so that when you feel the need to self-injure, you are reminded that you are important and loved by your friends and family. Writing song lyrics or quotes can also be useful.

part 1 - drawing

part 2 - the recovery bracelet

Go to a craft store and buy supplies to make beads for bracelets and/or necklaces. Then, buy butterfly charms (or any charm form/symbol you like) to eventually use as a charm to be added to the bracelet/necklace. 

This is how it works:  First, make a bracelet or necklace out of the beads. For every week that you have not hurt yourself, you have saved the life of the butterfly. For every butterfly you save, you should add a butterfly charm to the beaded bracelet/necklace. That way, you can tell how many weeks you have stopped hurting yourself by how many butterflies are on your beaded bracelet.  


Each Butterfly = 1 week of not cutting.

You will always be reminded of your successes every time you glance at your wrist and see all the butterflies you have saved!

butterfly drawing
butterfly bracelet

Based on the understanding that happy people do not cut themselves, try this opposite action strategy instead of self-harm. It is very simple to do!
Replace cutting with HUGS
Hug 5 people when you are really, really upset and want to cut
Hug 4 people when you are really upset
Hug 3 people if you are somewhat upset
Hug 2 people if you are less upset
Hug 1 person if you are a bit upset

If you are upset and alone, hug yourself, your pet, your stuffed animal or a picture of someone you care about.

Just remember to Hug

the hug theory

hugging teen friends
adolescents hugging
teen group

the happy box

fancy jewelry box

Another simple and easy strategy to use as a way to not harm yourself when you get an urge to do so:

  • Another simple and easy strategy to use as a way to not harm yourself when you get an urge to do so:

  • Get a box with a lid and decorate it any way you want. 

  • Put anything in the Happy Box that makes you feel happy and puts a smile on your face. Examples would be photos, names of your friends, concert tickets, movie stubs, names of songs, jewelry, a rose, a pressed leaf from a tree. You get the idea.

  • Open your Happy Box and pull out everything in it whenever you feel that you want to harm yourself. Do this mindfully.

  • Take out one thing at a time, look at it, touch it, sit with it as you reflect on its' meaning and remember why you chose to put it in the Happy Box.

  • Let yourself take in the good memories you feel and the closeness you feel to the other people who were involved in making each item special to you!

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