Nail-biting is a nervous habit that usually starts sometime in childhood. A lot of kids leave nail-biting behind during their teen years, but for some people, the impulse persists into adulthood.
Nail-biting can leave your fingernails looking ragged and unattractive, and nail-biting in public does not enhance your professional persona. In addition, biting your nails is hard on your teeth.
Still, only you can decide whether or not you want to stop biting your nails. If you’re unsure, take a few minutes to write down the pros and cons of stopping. When the pros start to outweigh the cons, you’ll know it’s time to put some effort into breaking this habit. These ideas may help.
Before you start trying to end nail-biting, do this simple exercise: carry a notebook around with you for a few days. Whenever you catch yourself biting your nails, make a note of the time, the place, and the events that immediately preceded the nail biting. Knowing when your nail-biting occurs can help you find ways to stop it.
Yes, manicures can be expensive, but your poor, tattered nails probably need a little tender loving care. Ask the person giving you the manicure for tips on choosing the best for your nails and for keeping your nails looking healthy and strong. Once you see how amazing your hands can look, you may not be as tempted to ruin their appearance by biting.
We often engage in unhealthy habits like nail-biting when we’re bored and don’t have anything to do with our hands. Have you ever found yourself, for instance, chewing on a nail as you watched a movie or TV show? Choose a hobby, something that will keep your hands occupied like working a jigsaw puzzle and keep projects in the places where you are most likely to engage in nail-biting.
For all its complexity, the human mind does not deal well with negatives. If you set a goal not to bite your nails, your mind only hears, “bite nails” and torments you with the thought day in and day out.
Instead of setting a goal not to bite your fingernails, find a positive way to phrase what you’re looking for. You might, for instance, set a goal to, “Grow strong, healthy fingernails” or to “Take care of my nails by cleaning them, and shaping them.”
For products that smell so good, lotions and perfumes often have a sharp, bitter taste. If you want to avoid unconscious nail-biting, simply keep the skin of your hands moist with a bad-tasting lotion. That way, even if your fingers do stray to your lips, they won’t stay there long.
Giving up any longstanding habit isn’t fun, and nail-biting can be a tough habit to break, so cut yourself a lot of slack. If you relapse, for instance, don’t berate yourself for a lack of will power. Simply take your finger out of your mouth and get back on track. The path you’re on may not be a smooth one, but you are on the right path.