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Little actions to release tension

It’s natural to look for distractions or ways to cope with difficult feelings. Sometimes our coping activities can be physically or emotionally harmful to us, known as self-harm. Practicing making little actions instead, that relieve tension or ease intense emotions, can help prevent or distract us from engaging in more harmful activities – or generally release the pressure valve on overwhelming thoughts.

Examples of these activities include ripping paper or pinging an elastic band. Some people find that a fidget spinner or Rubix cube helps them too.


There isn’t much academic research in the area of self-care for young people who are living with mental health issues. We are trying to find out more about what works for different people so we can better advise other young people what to try.

If you’ve tried this activity when you were struggling in relation to your mental health, please let us know if it helped you and how by clicking on the ‘Did this activity help you’ button.

Did this activity help your mental wellbeing?

If yes, why do you think it helped?

What would you say to other young people who are thinking of trying this?