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Ways of Distraction to Avoid Self-Harm

It might take time, effort and a lot of willpower but it is possible to reduce and even stop hurting yourself by using distraction techniques and resolving underlying issues via therapy.

People who harm themselves with the intent of causing physical pain often tend to feel relieved after inflicting the pain but it is not a healthy way to release emotions. If you have experienced the urge to harm yourself then it is necessary for you to understand that it is not the only way to release your emotions. In fact, it is not the right way at all.

We have outlined some ways through which you can distract yourself when the urge arises.


Applications

There are several apps available that are designed to provide the user with distractions and tips to reduce self-harming behavior.Some popular apps are Calm Harm, Self-Heal and What’s Up. Though every app has different features, the main idea behind every app is to distract the user from the urge to self-harm until the negative emotions subside. For example, Calm Harm offers various DBT-based activities that are divided into different categories. A helpful aspect of the app is the log where the user can keep track of self-harm urges and their intensity. One great feature of the Self-Heal is its library of inspirational quotes that helps the user ground themselves when the urge is trying to take over their senses.


Talking Helps

When you feel that you might lose control and harm yourself, you should have a conversation with someone who would be able to take your mind off of it. The conversation does not necessarily need to focus on self-harm; it can revolve around any topic. You would benefit most if you talk to a mental health professional as they will treat the underlying causes which will ultimately stop the cycle of self-harm.


Keep a Diary

Some people find keeping a diary more effective than using different applications. Have you ever tried letting go of your negative emotions via writing them down? You can write down a log of any of your episodes of self-harm and it will not only distract you, it will also pinpoint your triggers, method and feelings at the time. Is writing down about your episode making you anxious?If you feel that it is a trigger for anxiety, you can do a soothing activity after it. Browse Roohbaru’s website and try out the meditation exercise for anxiety and it will help you calm your nerves.

Here is the link to the journal in which you can pen down your thoughts:

Insert the “click here” tab for diary


Calming Techniques

According to research, the key is to substitute the self-harming behavior with a positive behavior. There is more than one way to do that. Therapists often suggest painting as it busies the mind and body. The release of emotions that can be achieved through painting is not only beneficial for the individual, but it also helps the therapist identify the client’s emotions and mental state. Listening to music is another calming technique. It has proven to be therapeutic as it releases dopamine or happy hormones in the brain.

An episode of self-harming occurs when a person is feeling burdened with emotions. Below are some more calming techniques that may benefit you.

  • Get a massage done by a professional massage therapist. It will reduce your stress and loosen your muscles which will relax your mind and body.
  • Spend time with a loved one and try to share your feelings as it will help with your anxiety.
  • Create a calming environment in your room with scented candles and dim lights or tailor it to your taste.



REFERENCES

Alternatives to Self-Harm and Distraction Techniques [PDF file]. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/PDF/Self-Harm%20Distractions%20and%20Alternatives%20FINAL.pdf

Dawson, R. (n.d.). Apps for teenagers who are self-harming. Retrieved from https://thepsychologist.bps.org.uk/volume-30/july-2017/apps-teenagers-who-are-self-harming

DeAngelis, T. (n.d.). Who self-injures? Retrieved June 20, 2018, from http://www.apa.org/monitor/2015/07-08/who-self-injures.aspx

Humphreys, K. D., Risner, W., Hicks, J. F., & Moyer, M. Non-Suicidal Self-Injury: Cutting Through the Pain [PDF file]. Retrieved from https://www.counseling.org/docs/default-source/vistas/article_4486fd25f16116603abcacff0000bee5e7.pdf?sfvrsn=4

Klonsky, E. D., Victor, S. E., &Saffer, B. Y. (2014). Nonsuicidal Self-Injury: What We Know, and What We Need to Know. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry. Revue Canadienne de Psychiatrie, 59(11), 565–568.

 Self-harm - Self Help. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.rethink.org/diagnosis-treatment/symptoms/self-harm/self-help

The truth about self-harm. (2018, February 06). Retrieved from https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/publications/truth-about-self-harm

Smith, M., Segal, J., Robinson, L. &Shubin, J. (n.d.). Cutting and Self-Harm. Retrieved from https://www.helpguide.org/articles/anxiety/cutting-and-self-harm.htm

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