Recently I have struggled with self harm quite a lot – to the point where I was doing it at least once a day. There are so many misconceptions surrounding this difficult topic and I think people need to learn the facts about it. Here is the defintion of Self Harm from the NHS website.
Self-harm is when somebody intentionally damages or injures their body. It is a way of coping with or expressing overwhelming emotional distress.
It is very rarely a cry for help or attention as so many people think.
Some people do it to get a realease and others do it to express some of the dark thoughts in their head. People may also do it because they actively dislike themselves or feel the need to punish themselves for something.
What these people don’t realise is that the thoughts that tell you that harming yourself is the only option are lying. There are so many other ways to express your emotions that don’t involve possible scarring for life. Here are some alternative things you could do instead:
● Make a distraction box.
This is a box full of things to help distract you, help you cope what self harm urges or simply to make you smile. Some ideas of things you could include are:
●Something that smells nice
● A favourite book
● An exfoliating mitt, rubber band and red pen (to help with urges)
● Notebook and pen for you to write things down
● A puzzle book
● A yummy snack
● A sachet of instant hot chocolate for that chocolate fix and release of serotonin
● Some photos of good times or of favourite people/pets
● Colouring book. I recommend the Mindfulness Colouring Book
● Something to do, e.g. an origami kit
Other ideas of things you could do to help distract yourself are:
● Play some music. By this I don’t mean the depressing playlist you made when you were feeling down. I mean your favourite upbeat songs. Or if you really can’t cope with words then you could try classical music. With no words there’s nothing to trigger you or make you feel even worse and it’s also super relaxing – the same goes for meditation music.
● Tear up some paper. I find this really quote satisfying as it helps with destructive urges but you’re not actually doing any damage to anything important. Whenever I’ve done this (usually with my meal plans…) I’m actually happy after it. Especially if I throw it up in the air and pretend that it’s snow…sorry trees 😀
● Read. Escape into another world for a while.
● Go outside. As I said in a previous post there is nothing more calming for the mind than nature.
● Talk to someone. It doesn’t even have to be about how you’re feeling, it could be about anything. Sport, music, funny stories from when you were little – anything.
These ideas aren’t exclusively for self harmers by any means. They are simply for anyone who needs to lift their mood or distract from unwanted, negative thoughts. I hope you find at least one of these ideas helpful 🙂