Are you tired of being self-conscious about your hands and nails? I know exactly what you’re going through because I’ve been there. Did you notice I said, “I’ve been there”. That’s right, I have finally quit biting my nails. I never thought it was possible, but after years of trying to figure it out, I did it.
As I mentioned, it took me years to “nail” down how to quit this habit. I had several failed attempts, too many to count. I found myself always hiding my nails and truly embarrassed about them. I was even envious of people with nice nails because I was so uncomfortable with my own.
Being uncomfortable about my nails forced me to really think about the problem. I tried all the cover-ups and distractions such as bad tasting nail creme and chewing gum. However, nothing seemed to work on a permanent basis. I would kick the habit for a couple weeks to a month, but I would relapse and be back to square one in no time.
There are downsides to nail biting, not just the unattractive appearance of how your nails may look after, but also:
- It can make your nails grow in weird. If you damage the tissue around your nails, they may stop growing the way they should. This gives you abnormal-looking nails.
- It can spoil your smile. You can chip, crack, or even break your teeth when you bite your nails. Over time, nail biting can even cause jaw problems.
- It can make you sick. Hands are full of germs, and our nails are their perfect hideout. When you’re putting your fingers in your mouth multiple times a day, you are putting these germs in your mouth and it increases your chances of getting sick. Also, the skin damage you can cause when you bite your nails creates an easier way for germs to get in.
In order to stop this habit on a permanent basis, you have to get to the root of the problem. All the cover-ups and distractions help alleviate the desire to bite and make quitting the habit somewhat easier, but they are not a permanent solution.
For a permanent solution, you must ask yourself the following question:
In what situations do I sub-consciously start to bite my nails?
All you nail-biters out there know what I mean! You bring your fingers to your mouth without even thinking about it. For me, as it is for most people, it was stress situations causing me to do this. I was also guilty when I was thinking, panicked, nervous and worried. As you can tell, this covers a lot of situations and feelings, so I was biting my nails a lot.
Even with all these feelings causing me to bite my nails, I have quit this habit. I did it by being conscious of these causes and therefore my emotions. In other words, when I was getting nervous, or panicked, I would be mindful of the situation and somewhat control my emotions. I would realize that I was in this emotional state. With the thought in the back of my mind not to bite my nails, I wouldn’t do it. This is the key to quitting this habit. This is the only permanent solution. Try this and you will be pleasantly surprised with the results. A spin-off of this method is being generally more relaxed and in control. I found myself being able to handle pressure situations better because I was more in control, not only of my nail biting, but of my entire emotional state.
There are some other prevention to make it less likely for you to bite them, such as:
- Keep your nails short
- Coat them in a bad taste
- Treat yourself to a manicure (you may feel less likely to bite)
- Keep your hands busy as much as you an