Using the R.A.I.N. Method to Cope with Self-Harm Urges

June 15, 2020 Martyna Halas

Mindfulness activities like the R.A.I.N. method is not an instant cure for self-injury, but with practice, it can help you control your self-harm urges. Think of it as a yoga exercise for your mind -- if you show up regularly, you will get stronger, more resilient, and more in control of your feelings.

Does the R.A.I.N. Method Mindfulness Activity Work?

Most of us associate mindfulness with spirituality. However, there is a lot of scientific evidence supporting its many benefits to our mental wellbeing.

Mindfulness helps you keep your emotions in check. It can decrease stress and aid in the treatment of many mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety, bipolar, or eating disorders. How? With some practice, mindfulness allows you to distance yourself from your negative feelings. In my case, it helped me stop some harmful thought patterns from manifesting themselves into physical wounds.

Using the R.A.I.N. Method to Cope with Self-Harm Urges

A great mindfulness technique that you can try straight away is called R.A.I.N. It's a method recognized in cognitive behavioral therapy. It teaches patients how to deal with stressful day-to-day challenges, but you can apply it to any situation you want. Here's how it works:

  • R -- Recognize: Pause and acknowledge your urge to self-harm. 
  • A -- Accept: It's a bad day, and you're not feeling your best. That's okay. These things happen, and recovery is a process.
  • I -- Investigate: Try to identify why you want to hurt yourself. Are you feeling stressed, anxious, or sad? Why do you feel this way?
  • N -- Non-identification: This one is tricky, but try to detach yourself from this feeling. It's happening to you, but it's not a part of you. Understand that it's only temporary, and like your urge to self-harm, it will pass.

Do Self-Harm Urges Go Away When Using the R.A.I.N. Method?

I know it can be hard to fight your urge to self-injure, especially when you're going through tough times. But believe me, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I strongly encourage you to try the R.A.I.N. technique for yourself. With regular practice, you will notice you will be able to tame your negative emotions.

The great thing about this method is that it empowers you to be objective, as if you were watching yourself from a bird's-eye view. You will learn to dissect your self-harm urges into smaller, underlying feelings. Eventually, you could even isolate the root cause and address it in therapy.

Practicing mindfulness can be a challenge, and your mind will wander a lot at first. That's okay -- it's completely normal. Once you acquire the skill to slow down and reflect, you will be amazed by the positive impact it can have on your path to recovery.

Do you use mindfulness practices like the R.A.I.N. method to control your self-harm urges? Let us know in the comments.

APA Reference
Halas, M. (2020, June 15). Using the R.A.I.N. Method to Cope with Self-Harm Urges, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 15 from

Author: Martyna Halas

Find Martyna on Facebook, InstagramMedium and on her blog.

Lizanne Corbit
June, 16 2020 at 3:22 pm

I think having these kinds of processes/tools to reach for is so beneficial. While it takes patience and practice as you said, the more we can get used to pausing and incorporating this way of thinking the more we begin to naturally turn towards it in times of need. I particularly love the investigation piece because it reminds me of questioning our thoughts and that can be so powerful and also help us to create some space from the thought/feeling and ourselves.

Leave a reply