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Why does it feel so relieving to hurt myself?

17 Answers
Last Updated: 01/08/2018 at 5:35pm
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
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Melissa Strauss, LPC

Licensed Professional Counselor

I am client focused and believe everyone has a strength. I feel confident in seeing clients with generalized and social anxiety, depression and relational goals.

Top Rated Answers
December 25th, 2017 1:35am
I think why it helps so much is because it starts to get physical. Depression, anxiety, all of it is in your head, and when it's in your head, you can't tell just how real it is. Once you hurt yourself, you see something, you feel something, and the pain isn't empty anymore. It's actually there and it feels good. Although I still think we shouldn't hurt ourselves to feel better (Talk to a listener! It might help!) the truth is, it does help, and honestly, that's just scary.
January 18th, 2015 7:19am
It's generally not the pain that relieves you - it's the control. People usually self-harm because they feel a pain they can't control, so the act of causing intentional pain relieves the sense of being completely out of control.
April 11th, 2015 8:55am
I'll be linking relevant websites which go more in detail. I think for some people, the pain provides a distraction. It allows us to "feel" something when everything else is numb. What that "feeling" is, is most likely the result of endorphins, neural chemicals that cause a rush/sense of relief when we're physically hurt. This place explains all of that. Something else I found recently is that the areas in our brains which process physical pain also process emotions. A study (a summary can be read here: ) found inhibiting physical pain also decreased emotional pain. If that's the case, then when physical pain subsides, as it eventually will after self harming, the emotional pain would also follow as the neural pathways work similarly. Also, once self harm is used as a coping mechanism, and there's nothing healthier to replace it, we can keep on using it and that adds on a compulsive/addictive element. ( ) There are valid reasons for why it feels relieving, but it can make us feel worse afterwards and really will not be helpful in the long run, causing more problems than it solves.
May 8th, 2015 11:06am
When you hurt yourself, the antioxidants in the piercing of the skin from the blade release, and they make you feel better.
June 27th, 2016 9:35pm
Oftentimes people find that putting a physical pain to their emotional pain is comforting. Sometimes people feel that it's a more "acceptable" form of pain if it's physical; easier to understand. Additionally, when your body gets hurt your brain will send out "feel-good hormones" to make it not hurt as much - like a chemical first aid from your body. These hormones will literally make you feel good because they are designed to lessen pain.
April 4th, 2015 5:46pm
i believe its a way of control. like, you have some control over the pain your feeling. some also say its to feel something. something other then numbness. but any of those does not mean its okay. we the people of 7 cups of tea are here to help
June 23rd, 2015 11:17am
People may try distract themselves, alter the focus of their attention, or regain control over their minds when experiencing pressing, unavoidable and overwhelming feelings or thoughts by hurting them selves
July 20th, 2015 9:51am
Because you like the feeling of being physically hurt and it makes you feel better. You feel better when you do this because you think you deserve it when you don't.
April 19th, 2016 12:34am
The physical pain can detract and distract from the deeper mental pain, which is harder to fix by yourself. Biologically, the rush of hormones to handle the pain can boost your mental mood in a chemical way, but this is not a sustainable solution.
September 6th, 2016 2:05pm
Because you've found away to distract yourself from what is truly hurting you which relieves that pain for a while
October 18th, 2016 7:10pm
Sometimes, when you have so many emotions crammed inside of you, it feels good to "let them out", in a way. When you don't know how to cope with your emotions, you often push them out of the way, letting them pile up. And sometimes it can get to be too much, so by hurting yourself, you "release" those emotions. There are much healthier ways to cope and deal with your emotions, but sometimes we don't know how. But that is why there are people out there wanting to help. :)
October 24th, 2016 1:00am
When hurt, dopamine and endorphins are released in the brain. Those are commonly called "feel good" emotions and they do exactly that - make you feel good. While some people do it for the feeling of control, some for distraction / to make you numb, or to calm you down. Some people also do it to make them feel something besides emotional numbness. But I'm going to guess on what you mean by that is those chemicals released in your brain.
January 13th, 2015 3:08pm
The pain caused by self harm is usually said to numb the pain of depression, grievances, or any other emotional pain or stress. However, there are other coping methods that are safer and healthier than self harm, that can still help you through the tough times. Read more about alternative coping methods in our Self Harm Self Help Guide at
August 15th, 2016 5:45am
You may feel out of control of you body or life so when you hurt yourself it makes you feel like you are in control.
October 25th, 2016 5:25pm
Because you're feeling a different kind of pain. You're trying to feel something different to take your mind off what's going on in your head.
September 4th, 2017 11:45am
Hurting yourself releases endorphins that provide a feeling of leaving the body. It feels good to leave your body when you are hurting, and that is why self-harm can easily turn into an addiction.
January 8th, 2018 5:35pm
Its relieaving to hurt yourself because distracting yourself from your fears and pain is more reliving than actually dealing with it, for a little while anyways and then you have to deal with scars, dealing with your pain in a heathly manner is overall better for you than self harm.