the user-led self-injury organisation.

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New thoughts, new actions, new life

LifeSIGNS Phoenix - New thoughts, new actions, new lifeWe hope you like our new motto for 2014, which is also the wording on this year’s wristbands. These few simple words are the key to making positive changes, and can relate to any area of our life that needs improving, changing, or renewing.

Our daily life is governed by our actions, our behaviours, our habits; and these in turn are a direct result of our thoughts. It stands to reason that by changing our thoughts, we can also change our actions, and thus create changes to our life. This is particularly relevant to self-injury, and to moving away from self-injury.

Every action is preceded by a thought, or a string of thoughts that connect to each other and lead to an action. In order to break the cycle, we must change the thought process and inject a diversion, thereby changing the course of the thinking pattern and ultimately changing the action.

A thought process might go something like this:

  1. I’m feeling upset / distressed / triggered
  2. I don’t like how this feels
  3. I want to feel better
  4. If I self-injure I will feel better
  5. I’m going to self-injure

The action that follows is too often self-injury.

But what if we change just one of these thoughts to something more positive, or explore them further before moving on to the next? There are endless possibilities, and ideally we should all write our own version, but here are some examples:

I’m feeling upset / distressed / triggered

This thing has happened and it has affected how I’m feeling. I don’t deserve to be feeling this way; I need and deserve to take care of myself and to do someting nice for myself that will give me comfort. I need to talk through this thing that happened, and get some support and reassurance. I need some time for myself and I’m going to take a few minutes to breathe before I do anything else.

I don’t like how this feels

Although these feelings are bad and uncomfortable, they are a normal and valid reaction to what has happened. It’s OK for me to feel bad for a while. I won’t always feel like this, so I will keep myself safe until the feelings begin to fade. I will surf the urge to self injure.

I want to feel better

I deserve to feel better and I can take little steps towards that goal. I can distract myself with other things; I can do something I enjoy; I can help myself to feel better in so very many ways. I have lots of choices.

If I self-injure I will feel better

If I self-injure I will feel better for a while, but I won’t have changed anything. I won’t have taken any action to deal with the situation that led to my self-injury, and I might even feel bad about the self-injury itself. Self-injury isn’t my only option. I have other choices; alternatives that I can try first. Self-injury is always an option, but it’s not my only option, and it’s not my best option.

I’m going to self-injure

But I’m going to ‘Read this first‘.

It’s may be easy to say: “Oh but I’m impulsive, I act without thinking.” And while this may feel true, it actually isn’t. Our brains work extremely fast and we rarely notice the myriad of thoughts we have at any one time. But every single, tiny action that we take is born from a thought. The key to new actions is to slow things down; to stop for a second and break down our jumbled mess of feelings into individual thoughts that can be changed and improved upon. New thoughts, new actions, new life.

Why don’t you break down your own thought processes that lead to self-injury, into a list like the one above. Then create a different pattern of thoughts. Re-write your story, and share it with us. We’d love to hear from you, and with your permission we will publish your ‘new thoughts’.

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