Sensory distractions are where you focus on a specific sense to reconnect with your body and try to break the chain of urges to self-harm.

These distractions can focus on one or more of the five senses:

  • sight
  • sound
  • touch/sensation
  • taste
  • smell

Thinking carefully about what might help you in advance and which sense you would like to focus on can be helpful.

It's also important to remember that sights, smells, sounds, tastes and other sensations can also trigger specific memories and associations, so you might want to think about choosing a distraction that has a positive association for you and avoid things that bring up negative associations or memories.

Some suggestions of sensory distractions are things like:

  • immersing your face in very cold water
  • tapping your fingers on your face like gentle rain
  • snapping an elastic band on your wrist (yes,  we know – not everyone, not all the time!)
  • sucking on ice
  • smelling or eating an orange or lemon
  • playing loud music
  • focusing on a bright picture or screen