Cutting is what people do when they do not know how to express their pain that they take it out on themselves. If you feel like you can no longer ignore the increasing marks your friends are inflicting on themselves, speak to them about it. The more you show empathy to your friend who is self-harming and showing them healthy ways to outlet their feelings, you are saving your friend’s life.
The first piece of advice that you can offer is to find ways to distract themselves. People normally cut on impulse when they are in emotional pain. Let them know that they can call you whenever they are feeling sad. Your friend can also watch their favorite show or movie to occupy their mind with something that will make them feel good. Your friend can also get some work done in the house or make themselves a cup of tea or a snack. Walking can also be a great stress releaser to get your heart pumping and to clear your mind. Tell your friend to keep doing these distracting activities until the urge to cut goes away.
You should also tell your friend to provide more self-care so that they will feel soothed and relaxed. Examples can be taking a long bath or shower, listening to relaxing music, cooking, smelling your favorite flavor in scented candles, reading a page-turning book in bed, or massaging yourself in almond or coconut oil. By pampering yourself, you will feel beautiful and not want to harm the beauty that you brought to it. Your friend can also learn about relaxation techniques whenever they feel the need to self-harm such as watching yoga videos, taking deep breaths and feeling their stomach expand with each breath, and a mindfulness walk where they keep in mind everything around them using their five senses.
When people are self-harming, it means that they do not know how to express their feelings in a healthy way. Show your friend ways to take out their anger or sadness such as dancing to loud rock music, going for a run, ripping up paper, popping balloons or bubble wrap, etc. The point is to offer suggestions to your friend and make them feel beautiful without judging them. The best thing you can do for your friend is be there for them and show them healthy outlets that do not involve hurting themselves.
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