It is generally accepted that biting your nails is a bad habit. This creates uneven, unsightly nails and can lead to damage and even infection as you expose your nails to injury and germs.
And it’s distracting when done in public.
But if you’re like millions of people around the world, you bite your nails and wish you could find a way to stop biting your nails.
To find a way to stop biting our nails, we first need to study why people bite their nails.
While there is no specific reason anyone can pinpoint, most behavioral experts agree that nail biting is most often a response to stress. This is one of the reasons many people want to stop biting their nails. No one wants to advertise their emotional state like that.
But the fact that nail biting can be stress related doesn’t necessarily mean that the nail biter is weak or unable to cope with the stress. People are different, and they deal with emotions, stress, and external events in different ways. Each of us has our own “stress habits”, just not all of them are as noticeable and visible as nail biting.
So how do you stop biting your nails?
To begin with, you must understand that nail biting is a conditioned behavior that you, as an individual, associate with certain external or internal triggers.
And, like other conditioned behaviors, it can be changed or eliminated.
But for every process there is always an important first step.
Like all people with addictive or compulsive behavior, you must first acknowledge that you have a problem and move to the point where you really want to find a solution. To stop biting your nails, you have to want to stop biting your nails. Without commitment, no treatment will work.
Now that you have decided to stop biting your nails, you must choose the technique that will work best for you. You may not choose the correct method on your first try, so don’t be discouraged if your first choice doesn’t give you the results you expected.
Hypnosis has been used to help people lose weight, quit smoking, overcome their fear of flying, and has been shown to help some people stop biting their nails. It is simple and painless, but should only be done by a medical professional who is also trained in hypnosis.
Unlike what we see on TV, hypnosis does not work miracles. If you really don’t want to quit smoking, hypnosis probably won’t help. And it does not work for all people and is not always a permanent remedy. But in many cases it can change your behavior pattern long enough for you to create new, more positive patterns.
Another method is the training of disgust. By applying bitter-tasting chemicals to your nails every day, you will be less likely to bite your nails and, over time, will be able to wean yourself from this habit. There are many brands on the market, each of which promises a guaranteed result. But for any of them to be effective, you must do it every day. If you are in a situation where you wash your hands frequently, you may need to repeat the treatment throughout the day.
Wearing gloves has been tried. While this is often inappropriate in public, it allows you to work on changing your behavior at home, which can lead you to stop biting your nails on a full-time basis.
One technique that some people use effectively is to carefully polish only some of the nails. When you’re about to bite your nail, you tend to avoid polished nails and opt for one that’s unpolished. Every few days, add another nail to the polished group. In the end, you will be limited to one “biting” nail, and the remaining nine will remind you of why you want to stop biting your nails in the first place.