Understanding exactly what situations or feelings give you an urge or need to self-harm can be helpful. 

Keep a diary

Keeping a diary over a period of time (about a month) can help you to look at:

  • What sensations you’re experiencing when you feel an urge (a strong need) to self-harm. Identifying sensations can help you to realise in future when an urge to self is coming on. You may, for example, experience sickness, a racing heart, heavy breathing, feeling numb or detached or strong emotions like anger, fear or guilt.
  • What situations or experiences might be leading you to self-harm (known as triggers). Triggers can be things like:
    • being in a certain place or with a particular person
    • conflict with someone or having an argument
    • doing certain things or activities
    • particular feelings, memories or negative thoughts – such as ‘I’m useless,’ ‘I can’t do this’ or ‘I’m failing’.

Self-harm diary

The Self-harm diary with example sheet can help you to complete your own diary.

It can be difficult and emotional to look at your life like this. Each time you complete an entry in the diary make sure you do something relaxing and or enjoyable afterwards, or talk to someone you trust.

Keeping a diary in this way can help you understand what situations or negative thoughts are leading you to self-harm. It can also help you to recognise when an urge is coming so that you can find ways of managing or reducing the desire to self-harm.