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What is the best way to distract youself from wanting to self-harm?

46 Answers
Last Updated: 04/01/2019 at 11:35pm
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
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Elena Morales, LMHC

Licensed Professional Counselor

I believe silence creates a cycle. With empathic and collaborative therapy, we break the cycle. I help clients feel validated and supported passed anger, shame, and anxiety.

Top Rated Answers
December 27th, 2014 11:10pm
Although it can be hard to stop self-harming, there are many ways to distract yourself from doing it. You can go and talk to somebody, go for a walk, rub ice on the place you usually self-harm, take a cold bath, hitting a punching bag, do some journalism about your feelings, creating artwork, put elastic bands on armas,wrists, or legs and flick them. But the most important thing is to talk to somebody.
November 25th, 2014 1:30pm
• HIT a cushion / punch bag / throw a cushion against a wall • Smash a water melon • Kick a football against a wall • Squeeze ice really hard • Squeeze a stress ball • Tear up a newspaper/phone directory • Play loud music and dance energetically – be as wild as you like • Draw on the place you want to cut with red marker pen, fake blood or watered down food colouring • Write words on yourself with a red marker pen • Spend some energy - go for a walk/swim/go to the gym/ride a bike/go running
Anonymous - Expert in Self-Harm
December 17th, 2014 5:26pm
Things that keep your mind or hands busy are helpful. Plenty of things can serve as a distraction: Cleaning out under fingernails, playing a video game, going for a walk, writing feelings down, calling a friend, making some tea, and many more!
May 24th, 2015 7:15pm
If you feel like self-harming, try to wait 5 minutes before you do. Once 5 minutes are up, you see if you can go another 5 minutes.
July 20th, 2015 6:47pm
There are several ways to distract yourself from wanting to self harm. But the thing is, usually different things work for different people. For me, the best things that help me are: reading, listening to music, writing and painting. But I think the most helpful thing I do to stop myself is talking to someone. You don't have to talk about your problems; just talking to someone who cares can distract you from anything bad.
August 24th, 2015 11:31pm
I liked making huge playlists on Spotify and listening to every song. It really distracted me and helped to focus my attention on something positive.
August 31st, 2015 5:03pm
try to channel that energy into something else. learn to start a new healthy habit that can replace self-harm, such as drawing on yourself or something else along those lines.
August 31st, 2015 5:59pm
Call a self harm hotline (1-800-366-8288). Also find a new hobby that makes you happy and consumes time.
December 22nd, 2015 4:20pm
Exersising helps me alot. You could also squeeze an ice cube, punch a pillow, draw on your wrist or thigh with a red marker, or try the butterfly method. Pm me if u need more suggestions or someone to talk to :)
March 21st, 2016 5:41am
I like to carry a notebook with me wherever I go. When I feel the urge to do something, I busy open my notebook and write down my feelings and explain why I am feeling this. If you do.t like to write, find something that you are passionate about, maybe that'll help.
May 3rd, 2016 10:21am
In my opinion, I think the best way to not think about wanting to self-harm is to do the things that you like and release endorphins that make you feel relieved, safe and happy. Doing your favourite things can also make you feel better about your situation.
May 9th, 2016 4:37am
Music is a grand way to distract yourself from everything. Especially during self harm urges, you should listen to music you won't get triggered to.
November 24th, 2014 7:37pm
Personally, I listen to music, watch tv, surf the internet. Anything that requires a certain level of concentration
November 24th, 2014 10:17pm
Think of all the good times and think o the people you'll hurt if you hurt yourself. Just think of how much it wil hurt afterward..
November 30th, 2014 3:45am
I would think of the positives, never the negatives. Find a good place to just stop, and think. Finally, realize that people will love you for who you are. You are you. You are beautiful. Never change for someone else. And things aren't always your fault, try not to pin them on you.
December 6th, 2014 6:17pm
Do stuff, or look at stuff that make you happy! For example, read a book, or write a blog, clean! (If that makes you happy! lol) Keep stuff sitting around your that makes you happy when you look at it. Like pictures from a fun memory, or books that you enjoy,or strong quotes. Also, talk to someone. During times like that it maybe hard to stay strong so having someone to talk you through is a big help. :)
December 21st, 2014 5:03pm
In my opinion the best way to distract yourself is to talk to someone and to do stuff.It doesnt have to be something big.Just take your friend and go shopping, eat ice cream, go for a walk.You should do something that makes you feel happy.And it´s always good to bring a friend, because he or she can distract you too :)
December 26th, 2014 10:51am
You could try taking your anger out by ripping some old newspapers and magazines or breaking some sticks.You can even try engaging yourself in some work or tell yourself that you'll do it later like after completing your work or watching a movie, and by the time you finish that, you will be calmer. This technique worked for me!
January 3rd, 2015 4:46pm
Write a journal! in the journal you write down your feelings, why you want to self-harm etc. Then you work through your urges and strive for a better day. Give yourself goals and rewards when completing them :) Good luck!
April 1st, 2015 12:51am
I have learned,that the best ways to help take your mind off of it are,taking walks,listening to music,drawing,writing or even watching t.v.
April 4th, 2015 8:12am
What helps me is watching youtube videos and listening to music. For others you may need to do something with your hands and I know that writing poetry, or anything at all can help. You could also draw out what you feel, even if you think it's bad.
April 4th, 2015 9:54pm
Different methods will work for different people to stop from self-harming. Some suggestions are doing any activity you find relaxing, such as music, exercise, tv, a shower etc., or talking to someone.
May 7th, 2015 9:30pm
Everybody has their own tricks but I find that being with a friend in person, or even on the phone is very effective. If you would like to have tricks to use then squeezing ice cubes, hitting pillows, taking cold showers, and snapping a rubber band at your wrist seem to be moderately effective, but remember, its different for everybody!
May 10th, 2015 11:14pm
Going to see friends, writing a journal, doing something with your hands like painting or cooking or organising your room. Distract yourself from the urge, it will pass after a while :) Stay strong.
May 13th, 2015 2:58am
Identify what triggers you, and avoid those triggers if possible. If that's not very possible, try to surround yourself with people who support you (friends or family or the 7cups community) and do things that you find fun or talk about things that interest you.
May 14th, 2015 7:00pm
I believe when someone has the urge to self-harm, they really need to find some kind of relief through letting out some very strong negative energy. It would be a good idea to engage in activities that help release such tension through perhaps using a punching bag to let out anger or write down your feelings and tear up that paper after. Engaging in physical activities such as sports, exercising, dancing are positive ways of letting out such negative energy.
May 24th, 2015 9:01am
you should try thinking about your family members and about what you mean to your family............
May 30th, 2015 4:20am
I find that the TIP and ACCEPTS DBT skills to be the most effective. T-Change your body temperature(take a hot or cold shower), I- Intense physical exertion(go for a walk), P-Paced breathing.....A-Activities(paint something etc), C- Contribute(do something for someone else) C- Comparisons(list ways of how you are more fortunate than others), E-emotion opposites(if you are, P-Push away(put the sadness on the back burner), T- Thoughts(think about something positive, S-Sensations(eat something sweet or sour or spicy)
June 7th, 2015 3:51pm
Go out with people around you. Keep a smile on your face. When you feel you want to hurt yourself, try to distract yourself with anything.
June 23rd, 2015 12:26am
Listen to sad or happy music; which ever blocks out those dark thoughts the most. Music can either completely drown out your fears, or brings them all in at once. Listen to what suits you.