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Coping With Emotional Pain

The Semicolon Project was created to help encourage people who self-injure to take a second to consider other options. Self-injury can range from impulsive actions to obsessive and intrusive thoughts to ritualistic behaviors. When you take a second to pauseand think, you open the door for other coping strategies.

Aside from seeking a competent therapist to fully assess the situation and help resolve the issues causing self-injurious behaviors, there are things you or your teen can do to achieve a better balance to life.

· Pause (semicolon)

o Take a minute to breathe. Pause and consider other options. You have control over your choices and behaviors. See if you can’t use another coping strategy to manage your pain.

o Check out

· Exercise!

o Exercise releases the same endorphin rush self-injury produces. It has other wonderful benefits to it but it’s the best replacement for self-injury!

· Self-Affirmations

o There are a billion examples online of positive self-statements but the best ones come from you! Write down what you’re good at, what you like about life, what makes life worth living, and what you like about yourself. (Coffee is on my list! Love the stuff!)

o Write these affirmations down! Better yet, write them on your bathroom mirror with a dry erase marker every day. When you’re brushing your teeth, say them to yourself every day. This takes time to take effect. Don’t expect an immediate shift to self-love. But I’ve seen remarkable results when people are diligent about following this coping strategy.

· Get active

o Every day, do something you like or love. Be conscious about it and tell yourself that this is good.

o Hobbies do not just include stamp collecting! In today’s world, hobbies include socializing, reading, watching movies, and engaging in art.

· Express your emotions in another way.

o Don’t let your body be your canvas! Write, draw, play music, or develop a video game.

· Writing doesn’t have to be journaling.

o This isn’t journaling. Just express your emotions in words instead of actions. What are you feeling? What are you thinking? Where in your body do you feel your pain? Breathe…

o Write bullet points or a poem and put your thoughts in a safe place. There are many online resources and apps that offer free, secure, password locked places to write.

· Grounding

o Have you ever noticed how your hands tingle? There are electrical impulses being sent to billions of nerve endings in your hands constantly in order to feel and experience the world. Let those signals tell you that you are alive!

· Mindfulness

o We are so rushed in life that we often forget to really enjoy what we are putting in our mouths. Take a minute to experience food with all five senses. Be in the moment.

· Go to sleep!

o There are only two ways to dump your thoughts and do a hard reset; sleep and exercise. Rest and see how you feel in the morning.

· Reach out!

o Your mind may be telling you that you are alone but that’s not the truth. Depression lies! There are millions of people out there with similar pain and hundreds of people who want to listen to your story. It’s up to you to reach out.

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