Have you been staring at your nails which are ragged and torn because you just can’t stop biting them? Do you look longingly at all the nail polish bottles you’ve had to keep in drawers because your nails are too shabby to paint? Nail-biting can be a hard habit to break.
Some people find the habit so difficult to shake that their nails end up bloody and their fingers scab. It can be a painful and taxing habit, but if you use it to keep your hands busy or it’s a way for you to calm yourself down, then you probably don’t know how to stop.
So here are some ideas to help you break your habit once and for all.
Know why you do nail-biting
You probably don’t do it because you love the results. You need to identify why in particular you’re drawn towards nail-biting. Is it because you need a way to distress or when you’re very anxious or frustrated, it can somehow calm you down? Or maybe your fingers just need something to do. Whenever you figure out what exactly is operating behind your habit, you can find an alternative.
If it’s your de-stressor, then locate another thing to help you destress, or try to consult a mental health professional. If you need something to fiddle with, try taking up a task that requires you to use your hands, like sewing or gardening. Try to break the habit by tackling the root cause.
Get manicures or fake nails
If your nails are nice and pretty, you won’t want to bite them. Take yourself to the nearest salon and ask for a nice nail treatment. Select a nice colour and style that you wouldn’t want to see bitten to shreds. You can also get acrylics so you’re less likely to bite your nails. If you can’t afford something like this, buy some glue-on nails online or from a beauty store, and they’ll work in a pinch.
However, it might work best if you go to a salon, because you’re less likely to want to ruin your nails if you’ve spent a little money and they look really nice and well-finished.
When you want to bite, do something else
Whenever you get the uncontrollable urge to bite your nails, do something nourishing instead. Paint them or file them, or add some healthy oils or lotion. Try to reverse your intentions by doing the opposite action which is actually good for your nails. Yes, it might take a while to actually prevent yourself from harming your nails, but you have to stick with it.
Use tracking apps
There are lots of apps that you can use to track your habits, so you can be mindful about how you’re approaching the issue. You can track your nail-biting and days which are good or bad; this is a good way to identify triggers and to be aware of how you’re doing. Once you know how much you have to improve, you can go from there. You can also often track your mood on these apps so you’ll know more about what’s pushing you to bite your nails.
Suck lollipops or chew gum
Try to pick stuff which isn’t too sugary or is sugar-free, but lollipops, chewing gum, and other eatables of that variety can be used to keep your teeth busy so you don’t end up gnawing on your nails. However, don’t overdo it or you’ll have a dental issue too. In fact, nail-chewing does cause your teeth to chip, so be careful if you’re a dental hygiene freak.
Use positive reinforcement
Don’t beat yourself up if you aren’t able to stop right away, or even after a few tries. It’s a habit for a reason. Try to be gentle with yourself even on days that you do end up biting your nails. Maybe reward yourself with a small treat on days that you can refrain from biting your nails. This will give you something to look forward to when you’re actually able to resist doing it.
However, you choose to break your habit, remember not to put too much pressure on yourself. This is a habit that’s become so over a number of years, and it can’t be broken in a few weeks or months. You have to give it time and take it slowly. Your nails will be pristine one day!