Nail biting is a fairly common action, which can be a sign that you are bored, anxious, afraid or simply lost in thought. This habit is frequently started when you are a child. It is interesting that most time, people are not aware that they are biting their nails. In most cases, this is a mild habit, but in some cases biting your nails can grow into a more severe issue. Therefore it is important that you learn ways of how to stop biting nails.
Why Do We Bite Nails?
Most people start biting their nails because they are bored, anxious or stressed. Some studies indicate that genetics may make people more prone to nail biting. However, some people bite their nails as a symptom of psychological conditions like obsessive-compulsive disorder. Children who have conditions like Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) can also bite their nails as a symptom.
How to Stop Biting Nails with 9 Steps
Regular nail biting can cause damage to the skin and nail. Not only does this behavior make your skin sore and red, but if you bite your nails too often you increase your risk of bleeding. Furthermore, open cuts on the nails can easily become infected as you pass bacteria or viruses from your mouth to this damaged skin. On the other hand, your nails are hard, so you can damage the teeth if you bite them constantly. Therefore, it is time to learn how to stop biting nails, just follow the steps listed below.
1. Find Out the Root Cause
If you want to stop nail biting, you need to figure out why you are doing it in the first place. Try to think back to when the habit started and determine how you were feeling at the time. Keeping a nail biting journal to help determine what drives you to this behavior can also help you narrow down what is causing the problem. Then you can work on removing this stress so you can kick your habit more effectively.
2. Seek Supporters
In terms of how to stop biting nails, you can always find some help from your families and friends. If you are participating in a subconscious habit like nail biting, you probably don’t notice when you start doing it. Finding someone that can help support you when you are trying to gain control of this impulse can make it easier to quit. If you have a friend who also bites nails, you can provide emotional support that can help you both kick the habit.
3. Visualize Success
You don’t want your nails to constantly look damaged and chewed on. People who have this habit tend to hide their hands because they are embarrassed about how their fingers look. If you are worried about this, make a point of picturing your hands in a healthy state. This can provide you with incentive to kick the habit. Looking at pictures of nicely groomed hands can also help provide the necessary motivation to kick the habit.
4. Distract Yourself
Performing another action with your hands can help keep you busy so you aren’t tempted to bit at your nails. A stress ball is commonly recommended for those who seem to wind up subconsciously nibbling on their digits. If you feel yourself getting stressed, pull out something you can toy with or do something productive like knitting or painting to keep your hands busy and away from your mouth.
5. Turn to a New Habit
Breaking a habit can be difficult. When it comes to how to stop biting nails, picking up a less harmful habit that you can perform in place of biting your nails can help you eliminate the risk of keeping biting your fingers. Avoid using food or other habits that might damage your health. Instead, think of distractions that you can focus your attention on when you catch yourself biting your fingernails.
6. Manicure Regularly
Some people bite at their nails because they are trying to manage hangnails or overgrown nails without the proper tools. Keeping a basic manicure set on hand that include nail scissors, clippers or a cuticle pusher can help you take care of these issues without having to use your teeth. Making a point of giving yourself a manicure at least once a week can also help you keep the nails in good shape so you will not be tempted to bite at them later.
7. Cover Nails
Artificial nails like acrylic gel, press on or wrap products can sit on top of your real nail, creating a layer of protection. Covering your nails or making a point of treating yourself to a beautiful manicure can help you be more conscious about protecting your fingers. Be sure to have your manicure done at a salon with a high reputation for cleanliness to avoid infection. Wearing gloves or wrapping bandages around your fingertips can make it difficult for you to get at your nails, limiting your risk of biting them.
8. Try a Deterrent
There are a lot of products on the market that are designed to help people stop biting their nails. Applying a cream or nail polish to the fingers that tastes bad can help you keep your fingers out of your mouth. Look for products that are long lasting so they will not wash off. Some also find that wearing a mouth guard or bracelet can help you avoid biting your nails.
9. Take Professional Help
If you have a serious nail biting problem that is causing permanent damage or frequent bleeding, you may need to see a professional to get help. It may turn out that you have a condition like OCD that is driving you to this type of behavior. A professional can narrow down what is causing your compulsive behavior and prescribe the right treatments or medication to help you manage your symptoms more effectively.