Why Do I Bite My Nails
Before trying to stop your nail-biting habit, it’s important to know the causes behind the behavior or onychophagia, as medical experts call it in clinical settings. According to Rebecca Rialon Berry, Ph.D., a licensed psychologist and director of the Tics, Tourette Disorder, and Trichotillomania Program at the Child Study Center at NYU Langone Health, nail-biting falls along the lines of a type of behavior in the clinical world called body-focused repetitive behaviors, or BFRBs, which refer to any repetitive self-grooming behaviors that damage the skin, hair or nails.
Why is it that we engage in these types of behaviors? Research suggests that more likely than not, there’s a genetic cause behind this tick. But there are also a number of environmental triggers that manifest the onset of nail-biting behavior including stress, anxiety, boredom and other forms of emotional distress. “Sometimes people engage in these behaviors because they’re actually feeling underwhelmed, under-stimulated or bored,” adds Berry. “And then there is a subset of people that could be working more automatically as part of a stress response.”
What Causes You To Bite Your Nails
For some people, biting their nails feels so natural that it’s hard to pinpoint when and why the habit began. According to clinical psychologist Dr. Joshua Klapow, nail-biting typically stems from two things: anxiety or boredom. “Biting down nails can feel like a relief or a signal of accomplishment,” Dr. Klapow explains. “It allows a person to discharge excess or nervous energy in a socially appropriate manner.”
Dr. Carla Manly compares adults nail-biting to babies mindlessly sucking their thumbs or fists. “Given that our fingers are easily accessible, they can become a go-to means for stress reduction,” Dr. Manly explains. “Biting ones nails can provide an instant sense of comfort and relief when stress or anxiety set in.”
Although stress is the most common trigger for nail-biting, Dr. Manly says that some people bite their nails when they feel tired, hungry, or insecure. “Once the habit becomes hardwired, nail-biting can become an unconscious, comfort-driven habiteven during low-stress times.”
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Final Thoughts On How To Stop Biting Nails
We hope that this information will help you on your journey in kicking your nail biting habit out of your life.
As difficult as it may be, there are many ways to overcome this habit permanently. So, experiment with any and every idea that makes sense, track your results, and tweak your approach as necessary.
Identify Nail Biting Situations
Habits are heavily bound up with situations.
Unfortunately, it can be difficult to spot habits because they are performed unconsciously.
However you may spot particular times during the day when nail biting occurs, like while watching TV.
If you can bear it, enlist those around you to help point out when you are biting your nails.
Painting your fingernails with that nasty tasting fluid can help pull you out of autopilot and alert you to situations in which the habit is performed.
But it probably wont work on its own.
Some people even say they get to like, or at least tolerate, the taste!
Also Check: How To Soak Off Dip Nails
Use Rubber Bands Trick
How to stop someone from biting their nails? The most effective tip for nail biters is the rubber band trick. This is a simple method that all of us play in childhood. Wrap a rubber band around your two fingers. Whenever you bite nails, snap your hands with this band. It hurts you and distracts the mood from biting your nails. Also, when you see the rubber band, you will remember not to bite nails. This is the best psychological method to keep yourself from biting your nails.
Avoid Making It Worse
Calling too much attention to your childs bad habits is likely to backfire and their nail-biting may get even worse. Punishing your child or embarrassing them for biting their nails also wont be effective in helping them change his habits.
Help your child manage their nail-biting but dont get too wrapped up in making them stop. Yelling or telling them that they’re gross wont help.
Skip the lengthy lectures about all the reasons why putting their fingers in their mouth is disgustingthat isn’t likely to work either.
Helping your child put an end to biting their nails will be much more effective if they’re on board with the plan. If they’re not particularly motivated to quit, your efforts aren’t likely to be successful. So, be patient with them and if they’re not interested in stopping, you may need to wait until they are.
You might broach the subject from time to time by saying something like, “I notice you bite your nails a lot. Do kids at school ever seem to notice?” Mentioning that other people might see them doing this might make them a bit more aware of others perceive them.
Similarly, you might ask them, “It looks like your fingers get sore sometimes when you bite your nails so much. Do you ever wish you didn’t do that?”
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Foolproof Ways To Stop Biting Your Nails For Good
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Lets face it: Nail biting is a bad habit.
But if this is a habit that you have, you’ve likely noticed that it isn’t easy to stop.
Nail biting is common in children and teenagers. In fact, it is the most common nervous habit worldwide, and its a popular habit among adolescents because the teen years can be especially stressful, and stress can manifest itself through nail biting. But there are also numerous adults who bite their nails in times of stress as their coping mechanism.
Although nail biting is generally considered a minor bad habit, and some might say it is not as gross as picking your nose in public, habitual nail biting can certainly reveal a persons emotional state. It is considered one of the indicators of some mental health disorders, including ADHD.
This habit can make the fingernails grow in a strange way. In the long term, nail biting can cause damage to the teeth by chipping the tooth enamel, which can lead to cracks or even breakage.
Side bar: One simple health habit you can build is to drink this superfood green drink, which gives you a boost of energy and supplies your body with the nutrients it needs to get through the day.
What You Will Learn
Acknowledge That Nail Biting Is A Negative Habit That You Want To Stop
Prepare yourself for the changes you need to make and the challenges you will face in order to overcome this bad habit. Make a commitment to stop nail biting for good.
This is the most difficult part, even though it sounds easy. Tell other people that you are committing to this change so they can help keep you accountable. Write it on a piece of paper and put it over your desk so you will look at it every day. Take this commitment seriouslyyoure either in or youre out.
This may also involve identifying your triggers. If you know what makes you bite your nails, you can look out for those things and be conscious of your resulting actions. Identify your triggers, alter your behavior, and you will find it easier to stop biting your nails.
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Think Of All Those Germs
What did you put where? When you think about it, nail-biting is rather unsanitary. Youre unlikely to wash your hands every time you bite your nails, which means youre bringing germs into your mouth from everything youve touched. As a result of this, you may become ill.
So, the next time youre tempted to bite your nails, consider all of the germs that may be hiding on your fingertips, and instead wash your hands!
Garlic To Prevent Biting Nails Addictio
How can I start biting my nails? Most people have this question. The best solution for this bad nail biting habit in kids is garlic. Generally, we use garlic to add taste to the recipes. But it has excellent use in nail biting reversal training. The strong smell of garlic will keep kids away from addiction to biting nails. Also, garlic is a natural antiseptic. Hence, it keeps all the nail infections damage at bay and strengthens your nails. In addition, it not only helps to break nail biting habits but also for growing nails after biting.
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Make Your Nails Taste Bad
If something tastes bad, youre not going to want to put it in your mouth, right? Try applying this to your fingernails.
Not only can it help you associate the habit with something negative, it can also put a stop to absent-minded nail biting because sometimes you wont even realise youre biting your nails until its too late.
There are many nasty-tasting formulas on the market already that you can paint onto your nails, butheres some natural ways to help make those nails un-bitable:
Heres What Happened When Emily Rekstis Tried To Break Her Nail
Biting your nails is a terrible habit, one that I cant seem to knock. I turned to the internet and talked to experts to find the best hacks that will hopefully help me break my habit. Here’s how my little experiment went:
Ive used anti-biting polish like Maval Stop Polish in the past, so I didnt want to try that this time around. Instead, I went for a DIY solution that served the same purpose. This hack I found while scrolling through the many threads on Reddit about nail biting: First, you dip your nails in water. Then you dip them in salt and dust off some of the excess .
Like the anti-biting polish, the salt is meant to leave a gross taste in your mouth when you bite your nails. This unappealing taste is worth a try if you are looking for a DIY solution, dermatologist Melanie D. Palm, M.D., explains. But some may not find this is enough of a deterrent, and the salt granules may cause a mess. She also points out that if you rub your eye with salt-covered fingers, it can really sting and hurt. Keeping that in mind, I decided to give it a try.
Did it work?
Did it work?
Did it work?
The scissors did keep my hands out of my mouth. But it did not help with my quest for stronger, longer, healthier nails and cuticles. In fact, my cuticles looked even worse after this hack.
Did it work?
Even though I know that nail biting and tonsillitis arent directly associated, I could use my distinct memories of the sore throat and fevers as an easy tool to use to break my habit.
Ways To Stop Nail Biting
When it comes to the best way to stop biting nails, heres the only thing you need to know: do what works for you. As long as you have a strategy that generates the intended result, you can use it as a guide on how to stop biting nails permanently. And thats your primary goal. Keep reading for more detailed advice on how to stop biting your nails.
Identify Triggers for Nail Biting
Before you can follow any tips to stop biting nails, you must first identify the triggers causing this habit.
The most common triggers include:
- Anxiety: For example, if youre nervous about an upcoming test or work presentation, you may bite your nails.
- Boredom: You may notice that you immediately begin to bite your nails when youre bored.
- Genetics: If your parents are nail biters, theres a good chance you will be too.
Cut Your Nails
You cant talk about how to stop biting nails without mentioning this tip. When you cut your nails, theres less surface to bite. And with that, you may soon realize that trying isnt worth the effort.
The key to success is to maintain short nails at all times. The second they become long enough to bite, youll once again be tempted to do so. Protect against this by getting into the habit of cutting your nails every second or third day.
Cover Your Nails
It sounds extreme, but it works. You can use gloves, press on nails, or band-aids to cover your nails. Its simple to see how this will work. If you cant put your nails in your mouth, you cant bite them.
Take Photos Of Attractive Nails
Keeping the new response going can be hard.
One method to make your progress to stop nail biting more obvious to yourself is to take pictures of your nails on your phone every few days .
When you see how far youve come , this should help push you on.
Remember that old habits do not die they lie in the unconscious waiting to be reactivated.
Go easy on yourself if you slip-up and start biting your nails again, but remember that a lot of the battle with bad habits is about self-awareness.
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Strategies To Assist You In Stopping Nail Biting
1. Keep your nails short
A simple method to dissuade yourself from biting your nails is to keep them short. The reason for this strategy is simple. If theres close to nothing or nothing at all to bite, you wont feel the need to bite your non-existent nails.
2. Flavor your nails
While it might seem weird, using a bitter flavored varnish-like ORLY may be useful. You can apply this kind of hindrance over your exposed nails or over manicured nails. Brush it on, let it dry totally, and reapply when you have to.
3. Wear Chewelry
You read that right! An organization called Ark makes a silicone Saber Tooth necklace for anybody who needs to bite. You can choose your own color and sturdiness on a scale from soft to extra-hard. This kind of device may work best if you are aware of biting your nails consciously.
Rather than biting your nails in order to calm yourself or to focus, you can supplant your nails with jewelry.
Note: You might need to consult with your dental specialist before using the device. Biting on anything nails or otherwise may harm your teeth or damage your jaw.
4. Try not to give up
Nail-biting is an addiction that is very hard to break. You cant expect to stop biting your nails overnight. Give yourself time before you proclaim your attempts a failure. If you keep at it, the hard work will pay off.
The Wrong Approaches To Stopping Nail Biting:
Photo Credits: Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels
What Causes Nail Biting
There is no shortage of causes of nail biting, so its important to pinpoint the culprit as soon as possible. Doing so will help you formulate a plan of attack. Some of the most common causes of nail biting include:
- Emotional or psychological problems
The cause of your nail biting helps you decide how to best approach it from a treatment perspective.
Recommended Reading: What Is Green Nail Syndrome
Bring Out The Vinegar
This bitter-tasting ingredient is probably ready and waiting in your kitchen cupboard to help put an end to your nail-biting woes!
Whether its malt, apple cider or wine vinegar, dilute a few drops into water and dip your fingernails into it .
Let it dry naturally on your nails and serve as a pongy reminder to stop biting your nails.
Thoughts Linked To Nail Biting
Just like situations, our thoughts and feelings cue up our behaviour.
If you can spot the types of things you are thinking about or feeling when nail biting, then this can help.
When you notice the thoughts coming you can prepare your alternative response .
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Health & Wellnesscan’t Stop Biting Your Nails An Over
Dylan also kept track of the thoughts she had whenever she felt anxious, which Yip said can help change behavior. The “cognitive component” of habit replacement therapy focuses on positive self-talk, even after setbacks, and emphasizes identifying and recognizing tension and finding healthier ways to handle it instead of thinking about it negatively.
“If you’re thinking negatively, then you’re going to feel negatively, and more importantly you’re going to behave unproductively because what we do depends on what we think and how we feel,” Yip explained. “So in order to change the behaviors and to change the emotions we have to identify those thinking patterns you have that aren’t serving you. … We’re looking at solutions rather than problems.”
Dylan also replaced the picking with a different behavior, fidgeting with a pen or jewelry whenever she had the urge to pick.
Later in the process, Dylan began getting gel manicures, which worked as a preventative measure to keep her from picking at her nails. Yip said that these replacements and diversions can vary from person to person.
Dylan said that as she continued her journey, she became more aware of her behaviors.
“I’ll notice, just mindlessly, if I was about to go do something … but I’m very aware of it, so now I actively stop it,” she explained.
“The awareness piece is the most important piece,” said Yip. “Half the battle is knowing that. When you do it, how you’re doing it, what you’re thinking of when you’re doing it.”