At least half of teens and kids find themselves biting their nails a lot. A good number of them never manage to grow out of that bad habit. Thus, suppose you bite your nails as an adult, you might have started the habit as a child but never managed to stop.
What’s interesting, studies show that parents who used to bite their nails are highly likely to give birth to children that bite their nails as well. Studies also indicate that the problem can occur even if the parents break the bad habit ahead of giving birth to their children. It’s also important to mention that nail-biting can be a sure indication of stress and anxiety.
That’s the reason most individuals who struggle with nervousness, mental and emotional stress tend to bite their nails a lot. You might as well find yourself biting your nails whenever you’re bored, feeling insecure, or hungry.
Many nail biters bite their nails automatically; they don’t have to think about it. In this piece, we’re going to help you find the best nail-biting solution. Note that regardless of how hard you try, you might not experience instant results.
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Why you should stop biting your nails
It’s true that you won’t cause any sort of permanent damage to your nails by just biting them. But it has many downsides that you need to keep in mind at all times. For example, if you bite your nails too much, after some time, they’ll begin to grow weirdly.
That can happen since by biting, you’ll be damaging the tissues surrounding the nails. In that case, the nails will stop growing the way they should.
Also, the chances are that you’ll damage your teeth when you bite your nails. If you let the problem continue for some time, you might encounter mild to serious jaw problems.
It’s also possible to get a nasty germ from biting your nails. Did you know that hands provide the best environment for germs? Therefore, you can get sick by putting your fingers in your mouth several times a day.
You’re likely to cause skin damage as you bite your nails. When that happens, germs will find an easy way into your body, thereby making you ill.
How to stop biting nails
It’s impossible to break the habit in a single day. You need to take your time and remain consistent until the habit goes away gradually. In this section, we will share some helpful tips that you can use to stop biting your nails.
1. Know your triggers
Before you can stop biting your nails, you should find out the time of the day when you find yourself doing it. For example, you might realize that you put your fingers in your mouth when reading or browsing the internet.
Some individuals also nibble when watching TV or doing some specific type of work. You might also bite your nails when around certain people. Ask yourself what you feel when biting your nails and what emotions are involved.
It’s possible to bite your nails because you’re bored or something is disturbing your mind. It’s easier to deal with the problem when you know the underlying course, so take your time and know all your triggers.
After you’ve gotten to know the causes, you can handle the issue by changing your environment or the people you engage with. For instance, when you realize that you bite your nails when reading emails in the bedroom, you can change that by sitting in the living room. Also, you can stay close to other people so that you only get to behave in a certain way.
2. List down your urges
If you’re serious about breaking the habit of biting your nails, you should create a list of your urges. To do that, you can keep a comprehensive list of the number of times you wished to bite your nails and at what time.
This list can fit in your notepad. Note that you should do this in real-time. This might seem like a lot of work, but it can help stop you from biting your nails by default. Many people have tried this technique before, and it worked.
Is it possible to write down the list and bite your nails at the same time? You can’t do that, so it’s true that monitoring yourself in real-time is another great method you should consider employing.
As you write down the notes, you’ll take your time and think about the behaviour and how it’s impacting your life. Listing down your urges is one of the best ways to stop yourself from biting your nails. It’ll seem hard at first, but things will get easier as you make it a routine.
You don’t have to write down the urges on a notepad. You can also keep them digitally on your phone and keep an eye on the progress.
3. Work on the inner emotions
Maybe the problem making you bite your fingers is not physical but emotional. If you notice that the first two techniques don’t work, it might be time to address the hidden emotions. These might be the feelings and thoughts that trigger you to put your fingers in your mouth.
Carefully reflect on the feelings and thoughts that you encountered right before you started nibbling. The chances are that you had some sort of internal monologue and that it happens severally throughout the day.
In some cases, we adopt the wrong coping strategies that only land us in more trouble. One of them is eating your nails to handle a difficult situation because you can’t face it head-on.
It’s imperative that you work on improving how you handle such thoughts or feelings. It’s true that you might be biting your fingers as a coping mechanism, which is not a good thing. Your main aim is to come up with a different trick that would work better.
For example, whenever you find yourself in a certain situation, you should keep your fingers busy with other things. After some time, you’ll notice that you no longer bite your nails.
4. Keep your nails short
Maybe you bite your nails more when they’re long and unkempt. That’s the reason you should consider keeping your nails short as a way of avoiding the bad habit. You won’t get the feeling of satisfaction when you try to bite short nails.
Also, compared to long nails, short nails are more hygienic as they’re easy to maintain. Consider cutting your nails at least once every week, and you won’t try to grab them with your teeth.
5. Go for a manicure
No one would want to bite their nails anymore after splurging on an attractive and pleasurable manicure. Look for a nice nail salon near you and book an appointment.
After spending money on your nails, you won’t condone the thought of grabbing them with your teeth. Therefore, take your time and make your nails look nice. Be sure to make it a habit, and you won’t have any reason to keep biting your nails.
6. Cover up your nails
If you learn that manicure still can’t stop you from biting, then you should find an excellent way to cover up your nails. You need to come up with some blocks and methods to keep you from ruining your nails.
There’s no need to think too hard about it. You can use things like band-aids, gloves, or press-on nail sets. Just use anything that can hinder you from biting your nails.
7. Bad taste on nails
One of the most successful ways to stop biting your nails is by applying a foul-tasting coat on them. You won’t put the nails in your mouth if you don’t like the taste. This is also the same reason most nail polishes have bitter tastes.
Note that you should take your time and find a kid-friendly version if you want to help your child stop biting their nails. The bad taste will always make them think twice before putting their fingers in their mouth.
Remember, once you can avoid biting your nails for two or three months, then it will get easier. You can start by finding the root of the problem and working your way to the top. If you apply all the tips on how to stop nail-biting and the problem persists, consider talking to a specialist. They’ll help you with the best nail-biting treatment.