Anyone who bites their nails knows how hard it is to kick the habit .
It ‘s a demeanor that feels about automatic, like brushing a unaffixed strand of hair behind your ear or scratching an antsy mosquito morsel. A bunch of the time, you ‘re not evening aware you ‘re doing it .
And even the times when you are mindful, the negative connotations — like how it looks unsanitary and, honestly, un-adult — however are n’t adequate to get you to stop .
Before we move on : This is a safe distance. I, excessively, am a complete biter. You will find no judgment or admonition from me.

The fact is that chewing at your nails, which the medical community more formally calls onychophagia, holds a kind of power over some people. It surely feels that way at least .
But why ?

Why do people bite their nails?

There ‘s why you start biting your nails, and then there ‘s why keep you doing it .
pinpoint biting about always begins in childhood. It ‘s a behavior frequently associated with stress or anxiety, but it ‘s probably more complicated than that .
For case, one theory is that it helps some people regulate their emotions — or it feels like it does anyways .
think of it this way :

  • When you’re understimulated (aka: bored or dissatisfied), biting your nails feels like it gives you something to do or feel satisfied about.
  • When you’re overstimulated (aka: excited, nervous or impatient), biting your nails can be a distraction or temporary escape from some overwhelming emotion.

It ‘s still merely a theory, but I think many a nail biter, myself included, might find some personal truth there .
indeed why our nails ?
well, for starters, it ‘s not always our nails. Some people pick at their bark, rend at their burst ends, sting at their inner cheek, the tilt goes on. And there may be an evolutionary tie excessively — a glance at your pet is the lone reminder you need of animals ‘ compulsive dressing behaviors .
But then why do we bite our nails despite the huffy fingers and damage caused ?
That ‘s where it helps to understand how we form habits, even the “ bad ” ones.

And, no coincidence, it turns out that nail bite is a classical case of the recipe that governs habit geological formation, which requires the pursue :

  1. A consistent cue (same thing, same time, same place)
  2. A simple behavior (typically one that’s deemed useful)
  3. A reward (inherent or attached to the behavior by you)
  4. Many repetitions of the above

Your nails are always there. Biting them is american samoa slowly as lifting your hand. somewhere along the means, you attached a reward to it — if we believe the hypothesis, as a way to cope with challenging emotions. last, you probably started biting your nails as a pull the leg of and … precisely kept doing it .
Habit acquired. The pillow, as they say, is history .

Is biting your nails actually bad for you, though?

We all know biting our nails is n’t great. But is it bad ?
here are the consequences of biting your nails :

  • It can increase your risk of infection around the nail, especially if you bite at your cuticle or the soft tissue around it.
  • It can harm your teeth.
  • It can spread germs on your hands and fingers to your mouth, increasing your risk of getting sick.

We probably feel the first consequence the most, but it ‘s the last one that ‘s become the most baleful since the COVID-19 pandemic began. An easy-to-spread virus can truly make you realize merely how many things and surfaces you refer every day. ( Related : Where Do Germs Hide ? )
possibly that ‘s enough to make you consider taking steps to finally kick the substance abuse ?

How to stop biting your nails

Whether you ‘re trying to quit for the first time or the millionth, here are tips that can help you stop biting your nails :
1. Identify when you’re most prone to do it. Take a mental note of the times or places you ‘re most probably to bite your nails. evening if a trigger is n’t evitable, knowing it exists can make it easier to fend off .
2. Replace nail biting with another activity. rather of chewing your nails when you ‘re bored or stressed, try using a fidget spinner, squeezing a tension ball, taking a walk or some other bodily process that can help distract or calm you.

3. Take physical steps to prevent nail biting. Since biting your nails can be an automatic rifle behavior, it may help to put a physical barrier to nail sting in place at the start. For example, bitterness nail polish ‘s taste is designed to deter you from biting your nails. Getting your nails done may be a deterrent vitamin a well — fair be careful about the type of manicure you choose. Picking or biting at gel nail down polish can actually do more damage than good .
4. Give yourself time to break the habit. At the end of the day, breaking a habit is hard and it wo n’t happen overnight. One of the keys to stop biting your nails is to understand what it takes to successfully break a habit. After interrupting the demeanor, be purposeful about reminding yourself of the reward for not biting your nails — no more sensitive fingers or risk of getting brainsick, for case. And keep doing sol, over and over and over again. If you slip up here and there, do n’t forget to cut yourself some slack and encourage yourself to try again .
5. Relieve stress and anxiety. If stress is the gun trigger to get you to pick the habit up over and over again, take stress-alleviating steps such as exert, doing emit exercises or yoga, getting outdoors or confiding in a sleep together one, friend or advocate .

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