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Self-harm is when an individual deliberately harms him or herself in order to deal with overwhelming or difficult situations. It is most common among adolescents and in the early stages of adulthood, usually appearing in individuals from 12 to 24. 2013 saw over 3.3 million reports of self-harm among teenagers worldwide. Studies have found that there is increased risk of suicide among teenagers who fall victim to self-harm, with the condition being found in 40-60% of suicide cases in the last decade.
Cutting one’s self is one form of self-harm. Although cutting may make the involved individual feel better or in control, it can make the victim feel worse in the long run and put them in a dangerous position. There isn’t any magic solution to help teenagers stop cutting, but there are steps to follow that can be of great help when it comes to how to stop cutting yourself.
Look for a Distraction
One way to overcome the urge to cut yourself is to be distracted by something. This allows the moment to pass and gets your mind off the idea. You might try:
- Calling a friend: Speak to him or her about what ever is comfortable for you. Just keep talking.
- Take a shower: It will invigorate your body thereby distracting you physically.
- Do some exercises: You can take a walk, run, go biking, climb, swim, or do yoga. During exercise, your mind is likely to think of something other than cutting.
- Seek healthy entertainment: Try watching non-violent movies on television.
- Listen to uplifting music: It will help you relax and make your mood better.
- Keep yourself busy: It’s important to stay active, as some people cut themselves out of boredom.
Do Things That Calm you
According to data collected from people who suffer from self-harm, teens sometimes cut themselves because they are agitated or angry. If that is the case for you, it will help if you do something calming whenever you feel the need to cut yourself.
Go to a Place Where you Can’t Cut yourself
If you feel the urge to cut, go to a place where it is difficult to do so. This can be a public place like the living room with your family, a coffee shop or out among your roommates. This makes it difficult for you to succumb to the urge. It might also make you feel better to be with people who support and love you.
Try Breathing Exercises
Breathing is a response that we can naturally take control of. Researchers have found that controlling your breath leaves positive effects on stress response, in this case the same response that is triggered when the urge for self-harm is felt. Learning fresh techniques may help you regain control of your triggers. Even Breathing is a technique that involves counting to five while inhaling, and then holding for five counts, before taking another five counts to exhale.
Use Relaxation Techniques
There are many relaxation techniques that can be used. One popular and useful one is an imagery exercise. Create an imaginary place that feels safe, somewhere you do not want to self-harm. Make an image in your mind that is peaceful or that reminds you of a memory you love or happy memory.