Coping With Suicidal Thoughts
Suicidal thoughts are some of the most difficult thoughts to cope with, and we’re glad you’re here to learn more about how to cope with them.
- Talk with others about their lives
- Exercise/go for a walk
- Watch movie or television show that evokes an emotion that is different from what you are feeling
- Color in a coloring book
- Hold ice in your hand for 10 seconds
Get out of your thoughts and ground yourself to your physical reality by naming:
- five things you can see
- four things you can hear
- three things you can feel
- two things you can taste
- one thing you can smell
Imagine your five senses: sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch.
Choose one or more of these senses and soothe that sense. For example:
- Sight: look at a beautiful nature scene
- Hearing: listen to calming music
- Smell: wear your favorite lotion
- Touch: change into comfortable clothes
- Taste: eat your favorite dessert
Create a perfect place in your mind where you can go to relax
- Try to make meaning out of what you’re going through.
- Give your pain to any higher power you may believe in.
- Engage in progressive muscle relaxation.
- Mindfully focus your entire attention on a single task (e.g., washing your hands, walking to class, planning your next meal).
- Take a mini vacation from your troubles (e.g., taking a nap, a bath, or a walk).
Make a list of things worth living for, such as:
- Friends, family members, loved ones, and pets
- Exciting events yet to take place
- Memories yet to be made
- Favorite items, foods, experiences
Repeat/meditate on positive affirmations. These may include:
- “I am the architect of my life; I build its foundation and choose its contents.”
- “I am doing my best.”
- “Though these times are difficult, they are only a short phase of life.”
- “I am indestructible.”
Talk to someone. This could be:
- A friend or family member who serves as a good distraction
- A friend or family member you can open up and be honest with
- A professional, like a trusted UIW staff member, therapist, crisis hotline, or primary care doctor
- An office on campus that can help resolve your distress (see ideas here).
Complete a Self-Reflection and Coping Plan. Write it by yourself or with a friend, and keep a copy with you so you can reference it any time you experience suicidal thoughts.