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What can i do instead of hurting myself?

30 Answers
Last Updated: 12/15/2020 at 11:36pm
1 Tip to Feel Better
United Kingdom
Moderated by

Temi Coker, MSC, MA, Dip.Cons

Licensed Professional Counselor

With over ten years experience, I offer a safe and confidential environment  for you to collect your thoughts, worries & life problems with no judgement or assumptions.    

Top Rated Answers
January 12th, 2015 9:22pm
The best distraction I can find is to do something that takes your entire mental focus. This could be videogames, writing, working out, or anything that takes a lot of concentration. Note, this depends on your reason for self-harming. If your motivation is to calm your thoughts, this should work. If your motivation is to "feel something", this may be less effective, but it's still worth a try.
May 28th, 2015 9:55pm
So many things! You could talk to someone about how you feel, and admit what's going on in your life. You could visit some distraction websites, like thisissand ( You could listen to a deep breathing or relaxation podcast, like this one ( You could buy some henna and make your arms and legs into a masterpiece You could watch a TV show or film that you loved as a kid, my advice would be a classic Disney film You could do some baking, and then you'll have cake to eat as well! You could get lost watching cat videos on Youtube You could take a while just to breathe And most importantly, you can remember that you deserve to be happy, that you deserve to smile, and that you are so so loved, even if you can't see it yet for yourself.
September 21st, 2015 4:33pm
You could try and understand why you feel you want to hurt yourself so you can work towards dealing with your feelings in a positive way.
April 25th, 2015 10:45pm
There are so many alternatives for self-harm! Anything you enjoy, really! Take a bath, go for a walk, read a book, cook your favorite food, reach out to a trusted person, etc. Here are some resources that may help:
May 9th, 2015 3:49am
Do anything that keeps your kind off things. Do anything that your interested in. Watch TV, find a new show to get into, make a tumblr, talk to friends, blow bubbles, cook something, think of the positive in your life, listen to music, read a book, create something, do any form of art (google ideas or use pinterest), make new friends, sing, go swimming, pet a dog, paint your nails, try on a bunch of clothes, work on some school work, remember why you've held on so long, think of how awesome it is that life is possible, talk to someone about your feelings, write down your feelings and destroy the paper so no one will see it, make your own alternatives list, smile at strangers, make a stranger happy, hugs, do volunteer work, meditate, dance, do something that you've been putting off, clean something, rearrange your room, stay away from negative people, draw on yourself wherever you want cut (with a marker, so you wont get hurt), remember that I care about you, talk to someone on 7Cups, origami, find a new hobby, feed the animals, play a board game, play a game with friends online, name all of your stuffed animals, try to make as many words possible out of your name, write in a journal to keep track of your memories and see if anything tends to trigger you, play with toys (age does not matter when one is playing with a ninja turtle toy), pet animals, go to the animal shelter, animals, play a sport (even if you are not good at it, just have fun), google stuff (but nothing triggering), squeeze a stress ball, figure out why you feel the way you do, make a bucket list, get rid of anything that makes you want to hurt yourself, make sure you have eaten today, take a shower, call a hotline (google numbers and find one that looks right for you), blog, think of how you don't want to have scars the rest of your life, think of everyone that you are hurting, pet animals, play with play dough, google other things to do. Please know that you wont recover from self-harm immediately. It's difficult to overcome, but you can do it. I believe in you. Also, not all of these alternatives will work for you. You have to find one that works best for you. I tried many things to overcome self-harm. It takes time. What helped me the most was thinking of how silly it is to hurt myself on the outside because I'm hurting on the inside. I would walk away and spend some time on the internet. Plus petting animals and blowing bubbles was very helpful. I hope you are able to overcome this quickly. Best of luck and stay strong, darling.
November 20th, 2017 8:08pm
You can do things that you enjoy doing that can be distracting. I would suggest listening to music, drawing, coloring, playing an instrument, watching funny videos, watching your favorite tv show, or watching a movie. It all depends on what you prefer to do and like to do! :)
April 7th, 2015 1:02am
The best answer to this is: anything that will distract you. The technical term for this is called a "flow activity," which essentially is any activity you can lose yourself in, since this will cause you to shift your attention elsewhere. A flow activity should have the right amount of challenge and simplicity (a balance between the two); too much challenge will overwhelm your senses, and too much simplicity will bore you.
May 6th, 2015 3:41am
Here is a site where you can fing more than 100 things to do instead of self harm:
May 15th, 2015 3:07am
As you know, we are not allowed to give advice; although I would recommend that you were to attempt in distracting yourself whenever the urge seems to overwhelm you. Some great techniques are imagery, deep belly breathing, muscle relaxation, and also try to do distract yourself through things you enjoy. For example: it might be music, art, writing etc. (you are the expert on you). You could even research some ideas if it interests you, the internet is full of great methods and techniques.
June 3rd, 2015 10:09am
First of all it is brilliant that you are wanting to find another coping method instead of self harm. There are many ways in which you can do this: try doing things more symbolically if you ever get the urge to self harm. For example, if you harm yourself by punching a wall, opt for a pillow instead, something soft. If you cut, do it symbolically with a pen, just mark your skin. There are many coping methods available on this website to help prevent you from self harming. After that, find time for yourself during the day in which you can relieve yourself, listening to videos and practicing breathing exercises can often really help. Maybe going for some exercise, writing your feelings down in a diary, or talking to friends about your feelings. Even coming onto this website to speak to a listener on a regular basis may help you. I wish you the best of luck with everything :)
July 20th, 2015 7:25pm
Instead of hurting yourself try doing something physical, such as doing a sport or involves moving around.
November 9th, 2015 12:40pm
Find stuff to do. Discover your hobbies. Draw, sing, make new friends, enroll in activities. Read books or learn new language.
November 15th, 2015 8:40pm
Find things that will distract you from those urges to harm yourself. Do things that you enjoy. Write something, create some art, talk to someone, go for a walk, play with a pet if you have one, cry, it can help release those feelings and it's OK to cry. Watch funny videos, do anything. Do anything that will distract you and take your mind off the negative things.
December 7th, 2015 6:12pm
lots of things! go for a run, call a friend, come here - to this site, read a book, listen to music, write a poem, make your favorite snack, eat some chocolate, get ice cream, watch a Disney movie... the possibilities are limitless
December 21st, 2015 1:15pm
Sing a song, listen to upbeat music, exercise, go on 7cupsoftea, cry, play with your pet, talk to a parent or someone you trust,
December 29th, 2015 9:51pm
You could try getting a stress ball or focus on what your friends would think if they knew you were hurting yourself
January 5th, 2016 4:49am
Instead of hurting yourself, you could draw, read a book, listen to music. watch T.V, hang out with friends, go for a walk etc. I know from experience that anything is better than hurting yourself. Try doing something that you enjoy.
January 12th, 2016 2:17am
Go on Youtube (you will find a video about anything, but the real winner here are cat videos ;) ) draw, write, cook, cry, read, hold ice in your hand, draw with red pen on your body, do a challenging math problem, learn something new, play with a pet, go for a walk, exercise, drink some tea, build something (small or big), help someone, do a mindfulness activity, meditate, look up at the stars, admire the sunset, gaze at the sunrise, inhale the scent of the rain, feel the wind in your hair, realize that you are worth so much more than you feel.
January 19th, 2016 12:44am
Sometimes I write a poem. I guess a lot of people do that but just the feeling of writing even a simple thing can give you a good sense of accomplishment. Or I get up and bake a chocolate cake. It's a very simple cake, flour, baking powder, sugar, cocoa, mixed up right in the baking pan. Then you just pour in some water and oil, vinegar and a little vanilla extract, mix it all up. And bake. It's pretty fast so you can do it quickly and it's delicious.
February 23rd, 2016 4:49am
Find a hobby or outlet. If you are athletic, go for a run, bike ride, or any other physical activity. If you are creative, draw or write your feelings down. Using a marker, drawing lines or doodles on your body often helps as an alternative to cutting. Going for a walk, if possible, listening to music, ripping up paper, or running your hands under cold/hot water can also help.
February 25th, 2016 9:35pm
Instead of hurting yourself, you can think of alternate ways. For example, what I did was that instead of literally hurting myself, I put the razor away, and snapped rubber bands on my wrists, that way they stung for a little while, and left a mark for a little while, but they weren't always going to be there and I didn't regret it later, because the pain was only temporary and stayed for the time I wanted it to. Instead of hurting yourself, go for a walk, draw your feelings, or anything that will keep you away from hurting yourself.
June 21st, 2016 6:44am
You can listen to music, read a book, watch youtube or use ice on the place/s you'd like to harm. This will bring pain without actually scarring yourself or bringing real pain. Drawing on yourself will help too.
August 1st, 2016 8:14am
instead of hurting yourself you can get a red pen and draw lines where you want to hurt or you can draw butterflies of your love ones and if you cut them then they die.
August 30th, 2016 3:30pm
Instead of harming yourself, try drawing on your body. Draw flowers, swirls or patterns. It helps.
September 27th, 2016 10:30pm
I usually like to start doing something that keeps my mind and hands busy. Playing the piano, playing volleyball, knitting, etc.
October 10th, 2016 12:59am
Find another outlet like screaming in to a pillow, ripping paper or something calmer like writing songs/stories, drawing art, playing an instrument or even writing a letter to someone (you may not give it to them) and express yourself.
September 4th, 2017 7:30pm
One thing I've been told to do instead of hurting myself is to slowly take baby steps toward helping yourself. When I was in the hospital they gave me a rubber band to wear and said that whenever I feel like self harming to pull back the band as far as I could and snap my wrist. The point of it is yes, you are still hurting yourself, but it's not going to leave a scar there forever. Then they said to slowly work away from hurting yourself. Use a smaller rubber band, then don't pull it back as far, then just flick your wrist with your fingers and so on until you are actually doing something to help yourself rather than hurt yourself. It takes time and patience to get used to it but eventually it really helps.
August 13th, 2018 8:20pm
You can talk to someone, exercise, write, sing, dance, anything you enjoy really. Being physically active is helpful to some people, being mentally active is more helpful for others, explore different things and find what works best for you. There is a free app you can download called "calmharm" it helps you relax and fight the urge to self harm.
November 13th, 2018 10:56am
There are a few things. First of all, you can use one of the self-harm replacement techniques, when the urge to self-harm is really strong and you are unable to otherwise distract yourself: (1) holding an ice-cube on your skin or in your fist, for as long as is needed; (2) snapping a rubber wrist band on your skin; (3) drawing on your skin with a red marker. The first two will give you some sensation of pain, but will not seriously physically harm you, whereas the latter option will somewhat distract you and give the illusion of self-harm without actually hurting you. Another thing to do, if possible, is to distract yourself by doing other therapeutic things that you may find calming: (1) try journaling - let all of your feelings out on paper; (2) draw/paint - similarly to journaling, try to channel your feelings at the time on a piece of paper or a canvas; (3) go for a walk or a brief run - this will help to clear your mind and get those endorphins flowing; (4) talk to someone / be in somebody's company - not only will this make self-harming impossible for the moment (as you will not be alone), it can truly calm you down and shift your mood for the better.
December 15th, 2020 11:36pm
There are many things you can do instead of self harm. You can write in a journal, about how you feel or whatever you want. You can listen to music to help calm and soothe you. You can paint how you feel, even if that means you just scribble on a piece of paper. Draw on yourself, some people find it soothing to draw on themselves. Take a relaxing bath, cuddle with a pet. You can call a friend (you don't have to talk about self harm). Take a cold shower, rub ice on your skin. Exercise it may seem weird but it can help. Last but not least reach out and ask for help. It's okay to ask for help.