Maximizing Self-Care: Avoiding Ways To Hurt Yourself

By Stephanie Kirby

Updated December 10, 2018

Reviewer Lori Jones, LMHC

When Thoughts Get Dark

We all have periods of our life where the days aren't as colorful as they used to be. While we all develop different ways of dealing with these emotions, some people experience deeper valleys than others. Self-harm is when an individual hurts themselves both intentionally and inadvertently. While what comes to mind for most people is the thought of someone deliberately cutting themselves, this behavior can manifest itself in many forms.

Hurting yourself, or thinking about doing so, is an indicator of underlying emotional distress. Whether it be through drug or alcohol use, risk-taking, physical defamation, or even through the relationships we choose to engage in, the underlying characteristic is that it is harmful to your health or well-being. While there are many ways to hurt yourself, there are also many ways that we can take care of ourselves.


Not Always Obvious

Another common manifestation of self-harm is seen in eating disorders such as bulimia nervosa and anorexia nervosa. People also cause themselves harm inadvertently by overindulging in their substance of choice, be it alcohol, cigarettes, food, shopping, marijuana, you get the picture. In reality, it is a coping mechanism, developed in response to some sort of trauma or stress. Those engaging in these types of behaviors do so in order to tap into and help dissipate the emotional tension that they may be feeling.

Self-harm can be hard to fully understand, even for those who participate in it. There are many outlets for self-care that are easy to implement into your routine that can make a huge difference in your mental and physical health. Additionally, the more that you take the time to invest in holistically caring for yourself, the more room there seems to be for other things in your life.


Getting Insight

Understanding self-harm can be a difficult thing to do when looking from the outside. As with many forms of mental dysfunction, when one hasn't experienced the sensation, they have a hard time appreciating or wrapping their head around what its like.

After hurting oneself, it isn't uncommon to be flooded with feelings of shame or guilt, which can become a toxic cycle of ritualistic engagement in the negative behavior. Many take great care to hide their actions from others, especially people that they think may stop them from engaging in the behavior.

When Thinking of Ways to Hurt Yourself


There are a wide range of options to consider when dealing with self harming behavior. Sometimes identifying the triggers such as situations, circumstances, or moods can be helpful in recognizing when to implement coping skills to decrease the behaviors. Mindfulness also is helpful as a coping skill to deal with the emotions surrounding self harming. Finding someone who can trust to talk to about the feelings and desires to self harm can be helpful to decrease the desire and possible encourage you to make the necessary decisions to make changes.

If you are ever feeling as if you truly want to cause physical harm to yourself or others, it can be hard to reach out for the help that you desperately need. Professionals at BetterHelp are uniquely trained to approach problems and mindsets with tact and nurturance in mind. Many people are resistant to the idea of talking to a therapist whether it be due to stigma, cost, or accessibility.

This resource makes it possible to get care without insurance and allows for flexibility in scheduling and location, as its designed to deliver sessions through an online interface. Even if you don't pursue care right away, beginning to plant the thoughts of self-development can lead to you taking better care of yourself.

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