It is possible to learn ways to prevent or distract yourself from self-harming in difficult situations. Many people who self-harm are able to stop on their own.
Below are some alternatives to try to minimise the physical health risks of self-harming:
- Hurting an object instead of yourself – ripping into a cushion, tearing up magazines, using a red pen to mark on your skin where you might want to hurt yourself
- Punching a pillow, grabbing it and screaming into it
- Rubbing an ice-cube on your skin or hold it under your arms or legs
- Flicking an elastic band against yourself
- Having a cold shower or bath
- If you feel you have to self harm, keep everything clean and treat any wounds.
- Find medical support if you need it. No matter how you become injured, you are always deserving and entitled to medical treatment.
- Try waiting before you consider self-harm – distract yourself by going out for a walk, listening to music, or doing something else harmless that interests you; the need to self-harm may begin to pass over time
- Try calming breathing exercises or other things you find relaxing to reduce feelings of anxiety
- Write down your feelings – no one else needs to see it
Whilst the above techniques can provide a helpful guide for how to reduce or prevent self-harm, it can also be helpful to talk to someone about how you are feeling. If you would prefer to speak to a member of our team, you can request a call back, or self-refer to the service for an assessment.
To find out more about the support we offer, click here.
Campaing Against Living Miserably (2022). Get help on: Self-harm. Retrieved from https://www.thecalmzone.net/issues/self-harm/
NHS (2020, July 23). Ways to help avoid self-harm. Retrieved from https://www.nhs.uk/mental-health/feelings-symptoms-behaviours/behaviours/self-harm/ways-help-avoid-self-harm/
Royal College of Psychiatrists (2020, July 29). Self harm. Retrieved from https://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/mental-health/problems-disorders/self-harm