How to stop nail biting can be tricky, especially if it is a habit you began as a child. These 11 tips will help you kick that nail biting addiction!
Nail Biting is incredibly common, and according to The Verge, 20-30 % of American population are nail biters! This bad habit tends to start in early childhood and teenage years which follows into adulthood.
why do people bite their nails?
Well, there is actually a lot of psychological reasons for nail biting. In fact, there is a whole spectrum of nail biting. Some of the reasons behind this behaviour our:
- Low self-esteem
- Anxiety & stress
- Emotion or psychological issues (ADHD, depression, obsessive compulsion disorder etc.)
Related – 18 Tips For Body Positivity
How to stop nail biting
There are many risks and side effects that come from nail biting. Discomfort and disfigured nails, fungal infections, potential illness from bacteria and even dental damage.
Let’s take a look at 11 tips that will help to stop nail biting.
1. Keep Your Nails Short
Having less to chew on is an efficient way to help stop nail biting. When they’re long there is more temptation and can also lead to painful rips and tears to the cuticle.
If there isn’t enough to grab onto, it may become less satisfying. Not to mention, short nails are much more hygienic and easier to maintain.
2. Regular Manicures
Not only is this an excellent self-care practice, it is will help you to quit nail biting. You spent good money on that fresh manicure, don’t ruin it by tearing at your nails.
Even if acrylic or gel nails aren’t your thing, they might help you to stop the biting for the time being. If colour isn’t your thing either go for a clear coat and a buff. When you spend money on something it might curb the temptation to chew.
3. Coat or Paint Your Nails With a Bitter Tasting Polish
This is a common suggestion for nail biters seeking to quit. It’s like aversion therapy. If something unpleasant is experienced over and over again it will eventually lead to the habit disappearing.
There are many different varieties of nail polish that have bitter or bad tastes. ONYX on Amazon offers polish that deters nail biting and promotes growth! Or check out Ella + Mila No More Nail Biting, also on Amazon!
4. Cover Your Nails
It may look a little funny out on public, but hey if it works, it works! You can start off at home covering your nails with bandaids, wearing gloves or even try press on nails.
If you’re spending all your money on manicures and still cant stop nail biting, this might save you some cash!
5. Replace Nail Biting With A Good Habit
When you feel like sticking those fingers in your mouth, try doing something else like a fidget spinner or stress ball. There are even fidget rings that might help you curb the nail biting!
Check out these stainless steel fidget rings on Amazon! They will help keep your hands busy and out of your mouth!
6. Keep Busy
As stated about, keeping your hands busy is important. Fidget rings are great, but maybe you don’t wear jewelry. Get your hands moving and occupied so you don’t feel the need to bite.
Another thing to keep busy is your mouth! Chew gum or get some lollipops (sugar free to keep your teeth healthy) is an effective way to curb not only bad habits but also addiction.
7. Identify Your Triggers
If you’ve been trying to quit nail biting and nothing works, it might be time to do some soul searching. What makes your fingers gravitate towards your mouth? Is it looking at emails, writing exams, scrolling through social media or even when you’re just watching TV?
Once you get to the bottom of what instigates the chewing, you can start to create mental reminders. Make changes to your environment or daily routine so that you start biting. If you chew while watching TV in the living room, maybe stop watching TV there, or opt for a book instead.
8. Personal & Emotional Work
Take a look inside yourself and try to find out what is the real reason behind the habit. Sometimes there are triggers but sometimes it is more than that. It could be completely psychological and related to mental health.
Can you notice what your inner dialogue is at the time of nail biting? Are there specific thought patterns that are the actual trigger? What feeling led you to chewing? Take time to process and understand these emotions. Keeping a journal is an excellent and free way to do personal work.
9. Make A List Of Urges In Real Time
Monitoring your urges and triggers in real time can be efficient to curbing the nail biting. Keep a note pad or notes page in your phone and whenever you get the urge, write it down.
It can be tough to get into this, but you might be at that point where you need to quit and there is no other option. Take a moment and jot down everything you felt and thought right before you started chewing.
10. Use Habit-Breaking Apps
There are heaps of habit-breaking apps that can help with this. Check out Quit-That and Nomo. These apps use technology from smart watches and other wearable devices to remind yourself to stop biting.
There is even a HabitAware Bracelet which vibrates every time you raise your hand or nails to your mouth!
11. Try To Gradually Stop Nail Biting
Take a slow approach to quitting. Try to stop one nail at a time, literally. Keep your thumb covered or painted then gradually move to the next finger and so on.
The goal is to stop biting all of your nails. Don’t be hard on yourself and start off slow. Eventually it will get easier if you keep actively trying to quit!