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Self harm alternatives and distractions?

19 Answers
Last Updated: 07/24/2018 at 4:37am
1 Tip to Feel Better
United Kingdom
Moderated by

Tanyia Hughes, Adv Dip Psy


I have been through a lot in life too, which helps me to be able to empathize with situations, thoughts and feelings that we have. Sometimes, it's not easy just being human.

Top Rated Answers
January 9th, 2015 4:05am
Instead of harming yourself, try placing your emotions into a hobby. For instance, you can paint, draw, sing, dance, write, play games, walk, dance, etc. Basically, you need something that will allow you to externalize your feelings, and pain is a beautiful motivator. Use paint to express your pain, not your body.
April 2nd, 2015 7:35am
There are a list of many positive alternatives,such as snapping a rubber band on your arms or wrists,the butterfly project or you could put ice cubes on the place you self harm.Distractions could include taking a walk,drawing,writing,listening to a favorite song or watching a favorite t.v. show,doing an activity like coloring :)
April 8th, 2015 11:34am is a very good source for alternatives/distractions for SI. They give you many different alternatives for the mood you're in.
April 24th, 2015 4:32am
Yes! Recovery is possible for you too! Here are some ideas! -Draw -Dance -Sing -Box -Walk -Go for a run -Pet a dog -Call a friend -Make a list of anything (I like to do like "this is a game of concentration" and go like colors and not repeat make as possible with as many combos as I can. -Take a nap -Shower -Tea :) -Call a hotline -Connect to a listener! -Go on a non-triggering website for you - Netflix Check these out too! You got this! :)
May 23rd, 2015 12:12am
Depends of course on why you self harm... for me it is do regain control over my feelings when I feel panicked. So what helps me is taking a hot or cold shower, lighting a candle with a very strong scent, jogging in place, basically things that really distract my senses. I hear that obtaining a red marker/pen and marking yourself where you would normally harm can help, then washing the scars away. Different alternatives work for different people, try lots of things if these don't work! Only certain things help me and you will find a better way.
May 29th, 2015 5:59pm
You can draw on your skin where you want to self-harm, draw on paper, write down your feelings, cry, sleep, dance, sing, hang out with friends/family (if they treat you right), watch your favorite movie or show, or look up super cute animals and really funny pictures!!!!!!
May 31st, 2015 11:50am
There are many alternatives to self harm. Developing hobbies, exercising, spending time with a trusted loved one or pet, journaling, crisis counselling... the list is infinite.
June 17th, 2015 10:24am
You can tell them some tips, Helpful things to do when they have the urge to cut : " Use a red " to give you the same feeling of blood " felt tip pen to mark where you might usually cut and mark hard so you can feel the pain a little, Hit pillows or cushions, or have a good scream into a pillow or cushion to vent your anger and frustration, Rub ice across your skin where you might usually cut, or hold an ice-cube in the crook of your arm or leg, Put elastic bands on wrists, arms or legs and flick them instead of cutting or hitting so you can feel the pain as well, have a very cold shower if you can when you feel cutting " the water has to be cold " Write: diary, poems, a book, Write negative feelings on paper, then rip them up, Go for a walk or a run while listening to your favorite music, Do some hobbies like painting or drawing or coloring, Practice deep breathing, Do something relaxing, such as taking a hot bath, Submerge your face, arm, or leg in a bucket of ice water.. "
June 30th, 2015 2:53pm
Definitely try the 5 minute alternative! In the 5 minute alternate you basically delay acts of self-harm for at least 5 minutes. During this time it's a good idea to distract yourself with things you enjoy (e.g If you like video games spend time playing them) another good distraction is to try relaxation techniques. Focus on your breathing and what makes you happy. Try breathing from deep in your stomach in a steady slow rhythm rather than taking lots of fast shallow (chest) breaths. Visualization and imagery is also good so try to picture yourself in a beautiful place that makes you calm and happy. Some might even light to lay down and while breathing as mentioned before you can imagine a pulsating ball of golden light travelling through your body and filling you with happiness.
July 20th, 2015 11:06pm
I would draw all over where i wanted to hurt myself even when i wasn't good at drawing i'd take a marker and color all over me i'd see that art and i wouldn't want to cut anymore.
October 27th, 2015 3:51am
Gripping ice to feel "real" again helps me. Also, drawing on yourself where you would want to self harm helps too.
October 28th, 2015 7:41am
Some people would say hang out with friends, watch a movie etc but for me I still wanted to self harm but I didn't want to do that anymore so I used elastic bands. I put them on my wrist, pulled and released them against my wrist when I felt like crap. I felt pain (which is usually the desired result) and I worked my way up to those soft hair ties and eventually I stopped doing this and no longer self harmed.
April 11th, 2016 10:55am
Personally, when i feel the need to self harm now, i distract myself by listening to music that soothes me or puts me into an energetic mood. Or i sleep, for no one can harm me, not even myself in my sleep. Previously when the need to self harm was uncontrollable, i would snap a rubber band on me to shake myself out of the thought. Or i would hold ice cubes tightly. Or i would draw on myself and see how much better that looks. That really helped distract me from the thought of self harm, personally.
April 22nd, 2016 5:18pm
Alot of the time when i'm feeling the urge to self harm, i will go somewhere that people are, weahter its my family friends, or even go for a walk in opublic, away from anything you can use to harm yourself. I find that drawing on myself helps to. Instead of taking a blade or a knife to your skin, take a marker to your skin and draw. Express yourself and your feelings with color and imagination.
May 23rd, 2016 4:46pm
Rubber bands and fiddle toys can help people to stay busy. These keep your hands distracted so you wont be tempted to do sometime else.
June 13th, 2016 4:13pm
I heard the rubber band works for some people. They'll snap it on their wrist (not too hard). I draw on myself when I feel like cutting. You can draw, listen to music, surround yourself with people who know and will keep an eye on you without judging.
June 14th, 2016 1:14am
My favorite alternative to self harm is running. I find that running and getting fresh air is calming and provides a great distraction.
February 22nd, 2018 3:05pm
Snapping a rubber band on your wrist, drawing on yourself with red marker, holding ice and exercise
July 24th, 2018 4:37am
- reading. -sketching out your feelings. -writing. -a sport like pickleball. -play instruments - a video game. All stuff I've used