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What is the best way to cope in a very stressful situation without reverting to self-harm?

19 Answers
Last Updated: 07/17/2018 at 6:07pm
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
Moderated by

Trishna Monplaisir, LMSW

Clinical Social Work/Therapist

We are here to advocate, empower and provide compassion to individuals who need help.

Top Rated Answers
January 21st, 2015 10:51pm
I've learned that listening to music is a great calming solution. Soft, gentle melodies. I've also seen a few cases where instead of self-harming, the person would be told to draw (sometimes, specifically a butterfly, but can be anything) where they want to hurt themselves, and I've heard it works pretty well. A few other techniques I've seen are snapping rubber bands on your wrist, or cutting paper.
February 16th, 2015 9:38pm
If you are struggling with self-harm and want to try to prevent this, there is a brilliant guide on the website which offers a lot of different methods, dependent on how you self-harm. For example, if you punch walls, try punch a pillow - it will still enable you to relieve the stress, without causing damage to your body. Also when things are becoming stressful, there are many mindfulness techniques you can try. Take yourself away for half an hour, listen to some relaxation videos, do some breathing exercises and completely remove yourself from the situation for that time. Sometimes taking a break from a stressful situation may help you to clarify things a bit more, so when you have to face you, you are more able to cope with the situation (if this makes sense). When you are stressed, it is harder for you to process situations and deal with them accurately, so take some time for yourself.
March 20th, 2015 4:16pm
I know it's not easy and that you probably think that nothing would help you more than self harming in these situations but this is absolutely not true! you have the power to choose how to react to a stressful situation. you can choose to hurt yourself or you can choose to call a friend and explain to them why you feel stressed. you can choose to write down your feelings in a letter or you could take a piece of paper and make a list of all the things that stress you, then you them one by one and try to think about a solution. It takes an effort but you can make it. just try :)
April 25th, 2015 11:48pm
There are many ways to cope with stressful situations. Different strategies help different people. Some people like to listen to music or do a simple, short activity to distract themselves. I find that the most effective ways to cope with stress is journaling or exercising.
April 29th, 2015 9:42pm
You can try to talk to someone, to cry, to express yourself, to cook something that you love, to take a bath... something that you like.
May 7th, 2015 6:11pm
I personally think the best way to cope is to take deep breaths and tell yourself you can get through the situation, positive thoughts can help calm you
May 13th, 2015 9:09pm
Writing your feelings down in a journal or diary or sharing it with someone who you know cares for you
June 29th, 2015 1:29am
Stressful situations can often lead to self harm. Dialectical Behavioural Therapy can help you manage your emotions. For example, it teaches you to self soothe in stressful situations by focusing on your five senses mindfully. To do so, I always carry around a bag with me which contains a mint for my sense of taste, some aromatherapy oil for my sense of smell, music on my phone for my sense of hearing, a cardigan for my sense of touch and an uplifting poem to read during the bad times. Once I have my little warrior kit, I try and physically remove myself from the situation- go for a walk, call a friend. Or chat to someone on 7 Cups of Tea which helps and self soothing can help during times you just cannot walk away.
July 6th, 2015 1:27am
Breathe! The power of a simple breath is understated. Breathe and focus on the now. Be mindful. Then reach out to a friend or family member and talk about your stressful situation.
September 15th, 2015 3:29am
Finding alternatives to self harm cam be very affective, distractions, self soothing, distress tolerance skills.
December 15th, 2015 6:33pm
Focusing on the positive and the bright side of situations helps get a better and more beneficial mindset. Also, coming straight to the facts of things.
December 22nd, 2015 6:46am
Honestly, I hold a quarter or something cold in my hand. It keeps me grounded. It forces to be present here and now. I do this for every time when there is a crisis. It keeps me leveled headed and I think more clearly.
March 1st, 2016 2:44am
By doing something you like that is productive and energy consuming. After that you'll be too exhausted to move and feel into a blissful sleep.
May 30th, 2016 11:23pm
In my opinion the best way to cope in a stressful situation would be listening to music and crying by myself, it is okay to cry because we aren't always able to control it, but self harming is a choice and you always have the option of not doing it.
June 14th, 2016 12:18pm
I would recommend writing to see your thoughts on paper. Writing can distract you . I also find exercising is brilliant.
June 18th, 2016 1:08am
Try drawing. I draw on my arm sometimes when I'm trying not to cut and it helps me. So maybe try drawing on paper or even your arm if you want : ).
February 14th, 2017 10:08pm
Distracting yourself with something to take your mind off what is stressing you out. Maybe self soothing and self coping statements like I can do this and it will pass
February 12th, 2018 10:00pm
Sounds like you may be going through a difficult time. Is self-harm an often thing for you? I can’t give specific advice but I can refer you to some help?
July 17th, 2018 6:07pm
Take a couple of deep breaths. Talk to someone about how you feel. Write in a journal about what is going on that is bothering you. Think about how much you will regret self-harm.