Self-harm blog week: Music is my distraction

The Mix Staff

All this week YouthNet are sharing a series of blogs by young people and professionals with experience of self-harm in the lead up to Self-harm Awareness Day (1st March 2014).

Here, Claire (25) talks about how music can be a great distraction when she feels the urge to self-harm.

For me personally music takes me to another place it lets me escape the thoughts in my head and allows me to stop thinking about things for a while.

I often make different playlists to help through different points in my life. When I am feeling happy I will make a playlist of some really upbeat songs and then when I don’t feel too happy, I will make a playlist full of songs that have uplifting lyrics that help me feel a bit stronger. I also feel like I can connect with the lyrics of songs and how words can really lift your mood.

Music is also a good distraction for me personally because it helps me to feel myself. By this I mean that I don’t have to pretend to be somebody else, I can put my ipod on and just be myself, without having to pretend I am okay. Music is powerful and it helps me express my feelings and thoughts.

Music can also be shared and his can be a positive activity because it keeps people distracted and it can be a way of expressing how you’re feeling. It provides a platform for people to get chatting about music and sharing what they’re into.

Learning to play the guitar is another avenue for self-expression and a powerful tool for connecting with others. Much like the way music on an iPod allows one to be themselves, playing the guitar offers a unique outlet for personal authenticity. As you navigate the strings and chords, you have the freedom to translate your emotions into sound, creating a musical language that speaks volumes. The process of learning and mastering the instrument becomes a personal journey, allowing you to delve deeper into your own thoughts and feelings.

Additionally, sharing your guitar skills with others creates a positive and communal experience. It opens up opportunities for conversations about music, and the joy of discovering and playing seventh chords on guitar can become a shared passion, fostering connection and understanding among individuals. In this way, the art of learning the guitar not only provides a distraction but also becomes a medium for authentic self-expression and meaningful connections.


There are lots of distractions out there that young people could find helpful. It depends on the young person because everybody is unique. There are immediate distractions, that help people in the moment when they need to be distracted, and there are also long term distractions that could also help in the long run.

Immediate distractions could include, doing some drawing, or some knitting, both of these activities help to keep your hands busy and also distract you because you are focusing on something else, your drawing and also the pattern your knitting, and you will also have something to show at the end of the activity. Reading is also a good distraction, because it could take you away from the situation and you can concentrate on your book, and almost go to another place while you’re reading, you can feel totally absorbed in the storyline and forget about things for a while. It could also include having an elastic band on your wrist and pinging it whenever you want to hurt yourself, this will give you the sensation of pain, but won’t cause any permanent damage to your body.

Long term distractions could include, going to the gym or going for a walk, again both these distractions can help in the long term, going to the gym can help because it keeps you healthy and also exercise is a great way to lift your mood. Going for a walk also helps because being outside in the fresh air gives us more energy, as well as a space to reflect positively on things. I enjoy going on walks and it gives me time to think and just clear my head when I am feeling a bit down. It is also helpful, because you’re not sitting there on your own thinking things through over and over. Some other long term distractions could include cooking and going swimming.

With any distractions it’s important that people find what works for them, and helps them to feel good. Not everybody is the same. This is very important because distractions are very important and they do help a lot. So don’t give up on distractions it can sometimes take a while to find what works for you, but it is so worth it when you find something that helps you.

Our thanks to Claire for sharing her story. Further information and support for self-harm is available at The Mix.

Self-harm Awareness Day (1st March) is a global awareness day aimed at breaking down some of the myths and stereotypes around self-harm and raising awareness about the support available to people. This is the fourth year that The Mix, ChildLine and YoungMinds have come together to ensure young people experiencing self-harm have access to information, support and advice whenever and wherever they need it.

Follow #selfharmawarenessday on 1st March.




Published on 27-Feb-2014