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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
August 31st, 2015 7:43am
Drawing on your skin with a sharpie is a great distraction. Calling a friend - especially one that can relate to and commiserate with your situation - is often helpful. Exercising to the point of exhaustion is another option that might distract you, as is loud music.
September 14th, 2015 3:53pm
The biggest step in distracting yourself from self-harm is doing some activity, even if this means forcing yourself to do something you may not really want to do. When our minds are in a place where we want to harm ourselves, we lose interest in activities that we normally find enjoyment in. So, distracting from self-harm means that we force ourselves to take that first step until the urge is diminished or gone.
September 15th, 2015 1:18pm
Every time, I'd tried to harm myself, I'd think of what I'd say to other people when they'd ask me how the scars came. I'd know that pain would do me no good. Just raise lots of questions in other people's minds.
October 27th, 2015 1:05am
For me, I just listen to calming, positive music. I also like to hold ice tightly in my hand and that usually helps me for the most part. Another thing I usually do is force myself to be around positive, uplifting people that I know will make me smile or laugh.
December 7th, 2015 2:48am
I feel as if the best way to distract yourself is to do something you are passionate about to distract you! It could be drawing, reading, exercising, anything!
February 1st, 2016 7:40pm
I worked with a few kids about this and they've done really well. It started with just a rubber band or a hair tie on the wrist and snapping it when you had the urge and then it moved into more creative outlets like crafts or music or dancing, etc.
June 13th, 2016 6:47am
I think the best way is to go for a run or be with your friends, one think I do when I really get that urge is that I get a sharpie or a lipstick and draw lines on my arm.
July 12th, 2016 3:51pm
From my experience the best way is to be distracted- in a good way of course. Schedule activities that you enjoy to keep yourself busy and happy. Take care!
October 4th, 2016 8:51pm
If you are wanting to harm yourself try using a pen or punching a pillow. This helps without physically hurting yourself
November 14th, 2016 9:06pm
There are many methods one might use as a distraction. Some things are just doing activities you enjoy - like going for a walk or listening to music or playing a video game. Other options could be to draw on yourself where you're wanting to hurt yourself instead of hurting yourself. Maybe drawing a butterfly (the Butterfly Project) or writing the name of someone you care about to deter yourself. Others have used snapping rubber bands or even ice on your skin to prevent cutting.
December 6th, 2016 6:23pm
Personally I find colouring in my adult colouring book to be a very good way of distracting myself. It focuses my mind on something else and keeps my hands busy. It might sound silly but I find it helps me when I'm feeling like I want to self-harm.
January 24th, 2017 12:25am
If you feel an even stronger urge to self-harm, try the following harm minimisation tips: Use a red felt tip pen to mark where you might usually cut Hit pillows or cushions, or have a good scream into a pillow or cushion to vent 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 Have a cold bath or shower
March 21st, 2017 1:46pm
Trying to engage yourself in activities and hobbies you love is one way to go. Do things that make you happy the most. Spend time with your loved ones and talk to them. Do everything that makes you happy. Or try doing it.
June 12th, 2017 7:32pm
Read a book, listen to music, sing a song, recite the alphabet, braid your hair, find some funny videos on YouTube.
July 16th, 2018 1:58am
The best way to distract myself from wanting to self harm is drawing on the places where I want to self harm. It helps even more if you use a pen so it will cause a little pain but won't hurt you.
April 1st, 2019 11:35pm
Exercising has always been a massive help for me. Cardio, especially running, has helped. There's also drawing, in which I could direct my pain into what I was drawing rather than my own skin. I also found that things such as cooking and arts and crafts were good, because they both involved things I could use to self-harm. I was so focused on what I was doing and how I wanted it to be awesome, which overwhelmed the temptation to self harm. Some of these might work, but everyone has to find their own method of distraction - these things can be based off the individual's passions and interests rather than things that other people do.