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4 Tricks I Use to Deal With Urges to Self-Harm

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Article updated August 19, 2o19.

I used to self-harm regularly when I was younger: Over the years, I have developed ways of dealing with the thoughts and urges to self-harm. Although, I still have slip ups sometimes when I am in crisis, I have managed to stop acting on those thoughts, the majority of the time.

There are a number of ways I do this:

1. I acknowledge the feeling.

I recognize I am feeling unsafe and I want to self-harm. By acknowledging it to myself and saying it, it takes some of the power away from the thought for me. It allows me to be fully aware and decide how to deal with it.

2. I talk to someone.

I speak to my husband, or call my mom or a friend. I let them know I am unsafe so I am not alone in the thought. This helps me feel less isolated, and lets someone else know the situation.

3. I change my environment.

I do this by either going outside to get some fresh air, or if I don’t feel capable to do that, I change rooms in the house. By moving out of my initial environment, I find it helps to jolt me out of the mind frame just a little bit.

4. I start to distract myself.

I do anything to keep myself busy. For me, it can be grooming one of my pets, taking the dog for a walk, writing on my blog, doing some craft work or watching a very gripping program I am extremely interested in. (These I save to watch for moments like this.)

Usually, these things change my mind-set enough not to make the thought go away completely, but to help me deal with it until it passes. Of course, I am not always successful, but if it can help me even sometimes, then I feel proud of myself.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page. 
If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255
Originally published: July 7, 2016
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