Click here for a wise story (pdf) about how to make choices in helping yourself feel better. (The Story of Two Wolves)
Click here for a story (pdf) to encourage you to trust each moment and build stronger feelings of optimism and acceptance.
Click here for a story (pdf) to encourage you to do what you can despite feeling overwhelmed.
Just like you need food for your body, you also need food for your mind and soul. Other people's words can be very uplifting and encouraging. They remind us that we are not on our own with what we are going through. Who inspires you? Can you find a favourite quote to have on your mirror or window?
Sometimes self-harm can feel like self-nurture.Can you think of any ways that your self harm helps you to nurture yourself? (For example: caring for your wounds, getting caring attention from others, spending time with yourself).
"The pure and simple truth is rarely pure and never simple. Oscar Wilde
Eat some of your favourite food.Watch a movie that you know you love, and treat yourself with your favourite snacks - or cook yourself your favourite meal.
"Food, like a loving touch or a glimpse of divine power, has that ability to comfort." Norman Kolpas
Spend some time in nature, by yourself or with a friend. Watch the clouds, lean against a tree, spend some time in the garden.If it's rainy, let it rain on you! If it's windy, let it blow!Wrap up warm, enjoy it and be a part of it - it will help you to remember where you are from, and what you are an important part of.
"I will love the sun for it warms my bones; yet I will love the rain for it cleanses my spirit. I will love the light for it shows me the way; yet I will love the darkness for it shows me the stars. I will welcome happiness as it enlarges my heart; yet I will endure sadness for it opens my soul. I will acknowledge rewards for they are my due; yet I will welcome obstacles for they are my challenge." Og Mandino
Try this 'Emotional Freedom Technique' - say out loud five times: "Even though I find it hard to look after myself, today I am going to..." (buy myself a treat / be kind to myself/ have a relaxing bath etc...) Try it again and vary the sentence.
"People are like stained glass windows - the true beauty can be seen only when there is light from within. The darker the night, the brighter the windows." Elizabeth Kubler-Ross
Do something enjoyable and relaxing. Have a nice warm bath. Wrap yourself up in your duvet and watch a favourite movie or TV series. Make yourself a hot water bottle and cuddle up to it.Take good care of yourself!
"The flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of all." The Emperor, Mulan
Pamper yourself - moisturise your face, brush your hair, paint your nails, or give yourself a makeover!
"There's no better way to energize your body, mind, and spirit than by taking care of yourself." Stephanie Tourles
Write down one thing that you like about yourself. Over time add another thing, then another, then another.Keep the list somewhere special, and add to it whenever you have a good thought about yourself.Read it over to yourself if you ever feel low.
"We set up harsh and unkind rules against ourselves. No one is born without faults." Horace
Complete this sentence: "If I was going to be kind to myself I would..." (read a book, play with my dog, have a long bath, buy myself a treat...)
You yourself as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection." Buddha.
Write a list of things that make you feel good!Stick it on your mirror or by your bed and choose something to do each and every day to treat yourself - a warm bath, a walk in nature, a chat with a friend, time with an animal.
"Trust yourself. You know more than you think you do. Benjamin Spock
Write one thing you appreciate about yourself every day for a week, then increase to three and then five.Eg: I appreciate my sense of humour, my imagination, my courage to survive.Don't worry about repeating yourself - what's important is that you're writing it down and repeating kind, nurturing thoughts about yourself to yourself.
"In the midst of winter, I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer." Albert Camus
Check out our list of distractions matched to feelings (pdf).
Make a card listing the main feelings that make you want to hurt yourself. Write two distractions that you know help or can imagine helping for each feeling.Carry this card with you to look at it when you feel the urge to self-injure.
"People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing - that's why we recommend it daily. Zig Ziglar
If you don't know the feeling try the 'Five minute rule' where you agree with yourself not to self-harm for at least five minutes.If you still want to after the time has passed then you can give yourself permission to do so.If you don't then you can gradually increase the time to ten, twenty, thirty minutes each time the urge comes.
"It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop. Confucius
Distracting from an urge to hurt yourself is an important step in reducing or stopping your self-harm.For the distraction to work well for you it is important for you to know which feeling is making you want to hurt yourself.
"Like the sky opens after a rainy day we must open to ourselves.Learn to love yourself for who you are and open so the world can see you shine." James Poland
Make a self-nurture box for when you want to resist hurting yourself. Put photos of places or people that you love, a poem that inspires you, some crystals or beads or shells that you like, something nice to use on your body.... anything that helps you to feel happier and more relaxed.
"Everything will be alright in the end. If its not, then it's not the end" Anonymous
Phone, email or text someone that you care about for a random chat.
"We are all angels with only one wing - we can fly only by embracing each other." Anonymous
Sing! You'll feel better for it.Sing along to some of your favourite music, or watch a musical and sing with your favourite characters.
"A bird does not sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song." Chinese Proverb
Use a red felt-tip or biro to mark where you might usually feel like cutting. Draw on yourself instead of cutting yourself.
"Hope is like a bird that senses the dawn and carefully starts to sing while it is still dark." Anonymous
Distract yourself by doing some tidying up. Wash up, do some hoovering or tidy up your desk area.You'll find at the end that both your room and your mind feel tidier.
"Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, when one only remembers to turn on the light. Albus Dumbledore
Make a CD or playlist of your favourite relaxing or uplifting music. Listen to it whenever you are feeling down.
"When I hear music, I fear no danger. I am invulnerable. I see no foe. Henry David Thoreau
Dance around your room! It's hard to remain sad when you're dancing, and you'll feel great after burning up some energy to your favourite music.
"Don't cry because it's over; smile because it happened!" Dr. Seuss
"Do the one thing you think you cannot do. Fail at it. Try again. Do better the second time.The only people who never tumble are those who never mount the high wire. This is your moment. Own it."Oprah Winfrey
Every time you make any change at all give yourself recognition and encouragement.Let yourself feel supported by the knowledge that lots of other people in the world are also facing the challenge of making changes too.
"Courage does not always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, 'I will try again tomorrow. Mary Anne Radmacher
Write the 'One Year From Now' story. Imagine yourself, one year from now and write about what has changed for you and how those changes took place.Remember to include what the difficulties were and how you got through them.Is there someone who could read your story and support you to take the next step?
"Nurture your minds with great thoughts. To believe in the heroic makes heroes." Benjamin Disraeli
Sometimes our fears can get in the way of us making the changes that we want. These are sometimes called our 'dream-blockers'.What are your dream-blockers?Can you give them some names and start to become friends with them?
"Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars. Brian Littrell
Write a list of things that you would like to change. Choose the most important one for now and see if you can think of three things that you could do to make this change more possible.
"It is never too late to be what you might have been." George Eliott
Sometimes we know we want to change but we don't know how to - this is called putting the 'what before the how'. Imagine you and your life in the way you would like them to be and trust that the 'how' will become clearer over time.
"Relax. It's all happening perfectly. Susan Jeffers
Change is a process- it doesn't always go in a straight line!We can go back and forward many times and each time we do this we learn more about ourselves.
Write an affirmation to help you to find the courage to reach out eg: 'Even though part of me is scared to ask for help, I choose to reach out when I feel scared / lonely / anxious / overwhelmed'.Stick this on your mirror or window.
"If you can dream it, you can do it" Walt Disney
Sometimes we need to get a bit more support in order to try and change something in our lives. TESS is somewhere that you know you can text or email and be replied to without judgement. If you feel you would like to get some extra help have a look at our info sheet on Getting Support (pdf)
"The world is round, and the place which may seem like the end may also be only the beginning." Ivy Baker Priest
It is up to you how much information you share about what is going on for you. Sometimes you might want to be with other people but not want to talk about anything personal.If this is the case it may help you and the other person if you can say something like: â€˜I want to spend time with you but don't want to talk about how I'm feeling. Can we just hang out?'This is still getting support!
"A friend is like a rainbow. They brighten your life when you've been through a storm." J Palmer
Draw yourself in the middle of a piece of paper.Draw arrows going out and write or draw all the different ways that you can get support, eg: talk to Lianne, text TESS, phone Samaritans, ring Dad, speak with school nurse, have counselling, go walking with Amber.
"Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass... It's about learning how to dance in the rain. Vivian Greene
All of us need support in life but sometimes it can feel hard to ask for.Ask yourself how you feel about reaching out for help and see if you can find anything that gets in the way of you doing this.
"Human beings are not designed to go through life alone. No one has to bear the burden of the tough times all by themselves." Jack Canfield & Kimberly Kirberger
Write a letter from the part of you that wants to self-harm. Then write a separate letter from the part of you that doesn't want to self-harm.Now imagine a part of you that is wise and able to handle your mixed feelings and write a reply to each of them from this part.
"You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you'll discover will be wonderful. What you'll discover is yourself." Alan Alda
Ask a friend if they would be happy to swap compliments with you. Take it in turns to tell each other what you appreciate about each other.
"Kindness, like a boomerang, always returns. Anonymous
Draw a big circle with three smaller circles inside it. In the smallest circle write down the person who you trust the most in your life.In the next biggest write the people who you also trust but would share less of yourself with, then the people who you might share a bit with and then the people who you know that you don't share personal things with.This is your circle of trust and can remind you of who to contact, depending on what you need to talk about.
Humans take steps forward and then steps back in the process of change. Be realistic and let yourself take the time you need to make the changes you want to. Avoid giving yourself a hard time if you find yourself behaving in ways that you thought you had given up. It just means there is a bit more to learn. Focus on the steps you have taken even if your mind wants to tell you you are going backwards!
"The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am then I can change". Carl Rogers.
Compassion is when we accept ourselves and others no matter what we or they are feeling or thinking.
"If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion." Dalai Lama
When you feel relaxed, happy or content breathe the feeling in deeply and release anything you would like to on your out breath.
"Relax your body and mind and let your spirit soar high. Remez Sasson
Feel yourself smile. Research shows that just the simple act of smiling can boost your mood by sending a message to your brain that you're feeling happy!
"Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy." Thich Nhat Hanh
Spread the feeling of kindness - send a text or a letter to someone who you care about.
"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. Plato
Write out an inspiring saying or quote that you relate to and put it somewhere where you will see it regularly.
"Within your heart, keep one still, secret spot where dreams may go." Louise Driscoll
Make a list of all the things you feel grateful for in your life - past and present.Keep it somewhere safe, and read it whenever you're feeling low or hopeless.
"During the darkest indigo midnight, yet will countless stars blossom." Dr. SunWolf
Try writing a sentence about accepting a feeling that you find difficult to allow.E. It's understandable to feel anxious when someone I care about has to go away.'Or â€˜it makes sense that I feel angry when someone says something unkind about me.'Make it into a card that you carry with you.
"Our minds are like hotels, and emotions are the guests. They all need to be treated well, even the unpleasant ones Anonymous
If you have a habit of giving yourself or others a hard time, finding ways of practising being kind to yourself may help.You could make a decision to say something soothing to yourself if you feel anxious or scared.Or, you could praise yourself each night for all the things you've done in the day that have taken courage... See if you can think of another way of being kind.
"Count the garden by the flowers, never by the leaves that fall. Count your life with smiles and not the tears that roll."Anonymous
Modern science is recognising that we need to develop the bits of our brains that are responsible for compassion.This is big work and takes time. Be compassionate to yourself in the process!
"The best way to knock the chip off your neighbor's shoulder is to pat him on the back." Anonymous
Remind yourself that you can be the artist of your own life. Read 'The Artists Way' by Julia Cameron or visit her website.
"The soul would have no rainbow if the eyes had no tears." John Vance Cheney
Get a huge bit of paper and choose colours to paint different feelings - mix them up or keep them separate.
"At the end of your brush is the the tip of your soul." Andrew Hamilton
Choose a way to express your experience of self-harm - a collage, poem, story or sculpture...Trust your feelings to guide you in what you want to communicate.
"All the adversity I've had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me.You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you." Walt Disney
Start each morning with free writing to clear your mind - simply write for 20 minutes without censoring it, re-reading it or needing to understand it.Do this each day for a week, a month, a year...
"Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart." William Wordsworth
Make a commitment to do something creative every day... even if it's just for just ten minutes!
"You can't use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have. Maya Angelou
Create a space in your home where you have all the things that you use to express yourself, your art materials, fabric and threads, wools, glue, camera, pens.Give this part of your life the space it deserves and keep it dust free.
"Invent your world. Surround yourself with people, color, sounds, and work that nourish you." Sark
Creativity can be a way to express what you are feeling, explore ideas and emotions, make sense of something, make something that is beautiful or put off hurting yourself.It can be whatever you want it to be...
"To draw, you must close your eyes and sing. Pablo Picasso
Think about the food that you eat. Who grows it, transports it, sells it, and prepares it?Think of the chain of people and conditions involved in getting it from its original form to what it is now on your plate. You are part of that chain.
"Invisible threads are the strongest ties" Friedrich Nietzsche
Make a list of all the ways in your life that you have been helped - large and small.Find a way to express your appreciation for them.
"Appreciation can make a day, even change a life. Your willingness to put it into words is all that is necessary." Margaret Cousins
Think seriously about what the impact would be if you were no longer alive, there would be a you-shaped hole in life that no-one else could step into.However you feel, whatever your life has been, you are absolutely unique and irreplaceable - you matter.
"By being yourself, you put something wonderful in the world that was not there before." Edwin Elliot
Send a positive thought to someone that you care about.
"We cannot hold a torch to light another's path without brightening our own." Ben Sweetland
Think about someone that you admire. What is the quality that you like? Now think about yourself, can you find some part of that quality in yourself?Remember we are often mirrors for each other. Now do this for someone that you find challenging... are they a mirror for something in you that is hard to face? Maybe it's time to bring some love and acceptance to that part of you and them....
"You are much deeper, much broader, much brighter than any idea you could have of yourself." Harry Palmer
When you have a feeling that is difficult, remind yourself that there will be lots of other people around the world feeling very similar to you at exactly the same time.Breathe in the connection and breathe out a wish that you and everyone else finds self-acceptance and peace.
"Look at the sky. We are not alone. The whole universe is friendly to us and conspires only to give the best to those who dream and work. Abdul Kalam
Write a list of things you have done to make a different to someone elses day, no matter how small it seems!eg: cooked a meal, smiled at a stranger, washed up, helped someone at school.
"To touch the soul of another human being is to walk on holy ground." Stephen Covey
"The wind causes waves to arise at the sea. Restless thoughts are the winds that bring waves and storms into the mind." Anonymous
Lie on your bed and focus on your breathing. Every time your mind starts telling you a story or worrying, gently bring your attention back to your breathing.
"Don't hurry. Don't worry. Do your best and let it rest. Anonymous
Make a decision to spend part of everyday relaxing - for five minutes or two hours.Just make sure that every day you give yourself a little break.
"Believe that there's light at the end of the tunnel. Believe that you may be that light for someone else." Kobi Yamada
List your top ten ways of relaxing - ten that you know about or ten that you imagine would relax you.
"Sometimes the paths we take are long and hard, but remember: those are the ones that leadto the most beautiful views." Anonymous
It can be easy to work too hard and fast, physically, mentally and emotionally.Taking time out and really relaxing is an essential part of good mental health.
"Smile, breathe, and go slowly" Thich Nhat Hanh
Listen to some of your favourite music. Line up a whole playlist of your favourite feel-good songs - then kick back and listen to the whole lot.
"Create a collection of music to help you relax and feel good. Make a tape of those songs that make you smile to help you unwind."Matt Clarkson
Our minds and bodies are connected so the way that we think will affect the way our bodies feel. See if you can give yourself some conscious time out from worrying or giving yourself or others a hard time:'Just for now I'm going to lie down and breathe' or 'Just for now I'm going to walk and focus on the sky'.
"Give your stress wings and let it fly away." Terri Guillemets
Eat a meal without doing or thinking about anything else. Just concentrate on the smell, sight and taste of the food.
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