Chewing on pens is a harmless enough habit that isn’t really a terrible cause for concern. However at the same time there are certainly reasons that you should encourage stopping and try to avoid doing it if possible. For instance chewing on pens is not terribly hygienic – if you think about where that pen has been then it’s probably been rolling around on various tables and even the floor and you probably found it or bought it from someone in the first place – who knows where it’s been since then? In some cases the pens will have been chewed by someone else before us… and yet we still put them in our mouth.
At the same time it doesn’t seem terribly professional and if you’re in a work environment it’s not a great way to impress clients or your boss. It also won’t make you look like the biggest catch in the classroom when you’re sitting nervously chewing on the end of your pen, and don’t be surprised if people turn you down with a sympathetic smile if you ask them to borrow a pen…
Luckily there are some ways to give up this annoying habit, and we’ll look at what those are here:
Choose Your Pens Wisely
Some pens are definitely more chewable than others, and some which are chewy or include a big rubber just don’t go down as smoothly. Pick pens then that you won’t be able to eat as easily and this will help you to avoid chewing them slightly. After using these pens for long enough you will find it’s not longer a habit (normally ’30 days’ is quoted as the length of time it takes to break or set a habit). Getting a good metal pen will usually do the trick as it’s too hard to chew.
Coat Your Pens
If you’ve ever tried to stop biting your finger nails (and you’re probably the sort of person who has) then you may have used something called ‘Stop and Grow’ which is a nail varnish essentially that was perfectly clear but tastes disgusting. This way when you go to chew you will get the bad taste in your mouth and immediately stop. Putting stop and grow on the end of your pen can have just as useful an effect. You can also just wrap some tape around the top of the pen and that will often have a similar effect too. Pen covers exist also that cover the top of the pen with something unchewable.
Chew Something Else
If you have gum in your mouth then you’ll already be chewing when you come to stick the pen in. Chewing gum isn’t an amazing habit either, but it’s certainly more normal and less destructive than chewing pens and you can worry about kicking that one later. If you just pop some gum in before you start writing this should help.
Put it Down
When you’re not writing, make a habit to put your pen down next to your work. This will stop you from chewing it and it’s a fairly easy habit to remember.
Ask for Help
Tell people you’re trying to spot and get them to call you on it whenever you start chewing. People tend to chew pens because they’re thinking and that means they’re unconscious of it – if someone prods you every time you start that will wake you up to what you’re doing and help you to stop.