A Journey from Self Destruction to Self Care- 10 Solid Tips that Might Help you

Emotional eating, unlimited caffeine consumption, self-pityness, not looking for any better, All I can say is I know how it feels because I have stood there in your shoes!

I’m sure most of you can also relate to this. No matter what age or what walk of life you belong to, at some stage, we all have been indulging in these behaviours or activities. Naming these, we can call them SELF DESTRUCTIVE behaviours.

Knowingly or unknowingly, we do things that can be harmful to our physical or mental wellbeing in both the short and long term. You know that smoking or vaping is bad for you, but you still can’t help yourself through it. And that’s where you choose this ‘destruction for yourself’. 

This damage can be more than apparent and can limit your own growth and make you self-toxic. On the other end, we are aware of how difficult it is to induce any behavioural change. 

Before we dive deeper into self-destructive behaviours, let’s know what these are.

Self-destructive or self-defeating behaviours are any deliberate actions whose outcomes negatively affect your physical and mental health and compromise your well being.

What Does a Self Destructive Behaviour Look Like?

Self-destructive behaviours are tell-tale signs that there is something wrong that needs to be addressed immediately. Long before we head to the solution of self destructive behaviours let’s see what these looks like. 

Some physical self-destructive behaviours can look like;

  • Eating disorders such as binge eating, emotional eating
  • Substance abuse (drug and alcohol abuse)
  • Excessive or complete lack of physical activity
  • Lack of adequate sleep 
  • Starvation

Similarly, some mental self-destructive behaviours can look like;

  • Pessimism 
  • Compulsive activity
  • No growth mindset
  • People-pleasing behaviour
  • Negative self-talk
  • Behaviours that push people away from you
  • Low motivational drive
  • Self-sabotage
  • Maladaptive behaviours such as procrastinating and avoidance etc. 

Just like physical and mental signs of destructive behaviours, knowing about its emotional aspect is equally important. 

  • Over-thinking
  • Poor emotional control 
  • Aggressive behaviour
  • Self-pitiness
  • Self-derogatory attitude

Prolonged self-harming behaviours can be troubling. The occurrence and severity of these behaviours are variable from person to person. However, mild behaviours can also be problematic. 

Conditioning of Human Behaviours

Before that let’s dive into the science of how behaviours are conditioned to be changed. 

Behaviour changes occur by the coordination of two important parts of the brain. The first part, the prefrontal lobe, is the part of the brain that plays a major role in defining human social behaviours alongside possessing cognitive abilities. The second part is the reward system of our brain that works by generating a feeling of pleasure after doing anything good or we can say that it accounts for our will to change ourselves. Thus, change in human behaviour occurs as a result of the combination of ‘will’ and ‘way’ takes place when both of these parts work in coordination.

How to Deter Self Destructive Behaviours?

Self-destructive behaviours can take a toll on your physical and mental health. Thus, it is important to move from self-destruction to self-care. Be mindful, that as soon as you will tackle these behaviour patterns, the less damage it will be causing. 

Sharing my own experience, change was a sequential step-by-step process rather than a sudden and discrete change. For many others, change can be a sudden and spontaneous event. No matter which way you slice it, it’s your own struggle and you can make it the way you want.

Following are some tips and tricks that helped me in my journey of self- care. 

1- Start with Baby Steps

We are great at making targets and aiming for betterment; just think about your New Year’s resolution, how much of it you have achieved after 6 months?

Self-destructive behaviours are no exception to this! 

Whenever you are heading towards a change, make sure that you don’t set huge targets or we can call them unrealistic ones. 


Start with baby steps,  then move slowly and remain consistent.

2- Breaking the Cycle

Your behaviours run in a cyclic manner, including negative behaviours as well. Doing these activities for temporary relief tends to give wrong signals to your brain and your brain ultimately integrates these habits in its reward system releasing pleasure hormones. Thus, it is important to break this cycle before making directed efforts no matter how inconvenient it seems to you.

3- Identify your Triggers

Self-destructive behaviours hold a cause and effect relationship with the triggers. Your childhood abandonment, traumas, being raised in an unhealthy environment, social interactions and past experiences, everything plays a role in defining your negative behaviour patterns. So, because identification might help you to progress well in the right direction.

4- Stop Distracting Yourself

Mostly, we end up trapped in this behaviour pattern because we choose to distract ourselves rather than finding out the treatment. That’s not only you but every one of us. Distraction is a natural coping mechanism of the human body. Thus, distracting your distractions can be helpful when you are trying to deter your self-harming behaviours. Train your brain, stop the mind

5- Identifying your Inner Narrative

Negative is one that most of us struggle with! 

Negative self-talk coming with self-destructive behaviour is something we need to be aware of. This self-talk or your inner narrative has an effect on your behaviour patterns. Identifying your inner narrative is among the earliest steps that lead to self-care.

Identification of your narrative is the stepping stone that can lead you to change your negative narrative. Free yourself from ‘need’ and ‘should’ based narrative and rephrase it with positive words. I practice this and every time I find myself doing negative self-talk I immediately turn it into a positive dialogue that changes things positively for me.

6- Find a Replacement Behaviour

Change your behaviour patterns! Let’s face the fact that it’s easier said than done. It’s neither easy nor quick to be done immediately. A practical approach is replacing your negative behaviour patterns with something positive. Turn your pain into power and find the replacements that are more productive and beneficial. For instance, I had an urge to binge eat; I indulged myself in food preparation before choosing to eat. Gradually

7- Practicing Self-Empathy

Empathy is one of the initially taught emotions, something new all grew up hearing about. We are always told to be empathetic towards others, but what we often forget is SELF EMPATHY. 

Self-empathy, being understanding towards oneself is equally as important as empathy towards others. There are times when we are being harsh on ourselves and for this very reason we indulge in self-harming activities. This begins with the

  • Understanding your importance
  • Forgiving yourself
  • Stopping self-judgment
  • Don’t compare yourself with others

8- Be Ready for Slip-ups

No matter how badly you want it but be mindful that good things take time, sometimes too much time. Despite all those intended efforts, you might see things getting out of hand. Disappointment in such cases is a natural response but keeping your hopes up while putting in all those efforts is the best thing you can do to yourself.  

9- Believe in Yourself

Your battles are yours and you have to fight those on your own, do exactly what it says on the tin. When you are doing all these things, make sure that you have a firm belief in yourself. Self-belief works like “magic” and you will be amazed seeing the magic it does.  

Self-belief is the weapon that builds your self-confidence, it becomes your inspiration and it defines your way to success. This belief reassures you that everything will be fine and it never lets you lose the battle. 

10- Rewire your Brain

Self-destructive behaviour often comes with manipulated positive and negative feedback mechanisms. You eat junk food; it activates your positive feedback mechanism and increases your urge for fast food intake. Thus, rewiring your positive and negative feedback mechanism can surely be of great help in helping you to deter your self-destructive behaviours.

So What’s the Take?

When it comes to your emotional and physical wellbeing, no matter how badly you try, there are things you can’t change. The good thing is that there is a lot you have in your hands or in your mind maybe.

I am sure you have read enough of this and now you must be willing to do things for yourself. Then what are you waiting for? It’s high time to start embracing your mental health challenges and putting in efforts for a better living.

Don’t rely on outside help as change comes from inside. Step out, catch butterflies and have the courage to live your own life without any validation.

And remember that YOU ARE OWN HELP!