How to Stop Biting Your Nails


We all have a few nasty habits that we wish we could get rid of. Sure, some of them, like smoking or drinking, are more dangerous than others. However, if you have some bad habit that you want to get rid of you should not feel the need to compare yourself to other people. Even something like biting your nails can cause split and fractured nails, bleeding, infections and overall pain. Not only that, but your fingernails will look very ugly which can cause someone psychological side effects.

There are quite a few reasons why people pick up this habit. Most of them have to do with stress. Whenever we are in a stressful situation we can bite our nails to relieve the stress and calm our nerves. Although it may seem weird that such an activity can be relaxing, it actually has to do with the fact that it subconsciously reminds you of when you were a baby and you were always sucking on a milk bottle or a pacifier. Other people use this technique when they are bored or they are tired. Whatever the reason is, you have to realize that it is a bad habit and you should do all that you can to stop it.

The First Steps: Realizing You Have a Problem

If you know that you regularly bite your nails and want to stop then you might need some persuasion to be willing to go all the way. This type of realization can come when you hit rock bottom, and you become embarrassed to show your hands in public, even for something as trivial as giving someone money. Although it might hurt for a while, seeing yourself like this can become the first step in getting rid of this bad habit.

Make sure to tell everyone your plans. Even though it might sound a little self-centered, try and make it all about you. Let your friends know what you are about to do so you know you will receive positive feedback while your nails are getting better. Not only that, but this way you know that if you give up your friends will notice this as well and either this can act as a deterrent for you subconsciously or your friends can get you on the right track again.

You should take frequent pictures of your nails. Be sure to take some at the beginning to show just how ugly they were to work as a reminder not to revert back to that situation ever again. Use these pictures every time you need a motivator for why you are going through all this trouble in the first place. Spending a little extra cash in the beginning on manicures might be worth it so than you can better visualize just how pretty your nails will look when this is all said and done.

Keeping a journal can also prove to be a great help. Before you start your treatment, try and notice exactly at what times during the day you start to bite your nails. Notice the place where you are, how you are feeling, what is the weather like etc. If you write all of this down somewhere you can later launch “preemptive strikes” and make sure that you avoid biting your nails.

The Process: Tips and Tricks to Stop Your Nail Biting Habit

This might sound cruel and unusual, but at first you might want to choose one of the fingers as a sacrifice. You probably will not be able to stop biting your nails immediately, so at least try and minimize the damage. Choose one nail and when you feel like snacking during the day always go for that one. This way you will at least heave nine pretty fingernails.

There are certain foods that can help your nails grow fast and strong. Basically anything that is rich in calcium and magnesium will repair your nails and have them looking as pretty as ever. In fact, some studies show that a lack of calcium or magnesium in the body could be the reason why some people start biting their nails in the first place.

Try to divert the energy you would spend on biting your nails on something else. Replace your old bad habit with a new one. Just as long as it is not as bad or even worse that your previous one. Some people when they are nervous tap their fingers together or on a hard surface. Even chewing on a pen is a better option. It might be a little disgusting, but pens are cheaper than new nails.

If you still see yourself shoving your hand in your mouth, then try and distract the mouth. Just the sensation of chewing can relieve stress in some people and, since they do not carry a snack with them everywhere, they wind up biting their nails. If you have something else to chew you will likely get rid of the need to do that. Carry a bag of carrot sticks with you. That is helpful and healthy at the same time. Or, if you want to be more traditional, go with bubble gum. However, there could be certain situations where chewing bubble gum can be considered rude and a social faux-pas. Be careful not to replace one bad habit with another one.

For those people that find themselves chewing their nails when they are bored, they should find a hobby using their hands. This way, if you keep them busy, you will not have the time to snack on them as well. Learning to play a musical instrument is a great idea. It keeps your hands busy and you are developing new skills at the same time. If that is not your thing, then try model building. It takes a lot of time, it requires concentration and patience and no one will want to bite a finger covered in glue. For those that do not have the time or are stuck at work when they bite their nails they can use a stress ball. It can do wonders for relieving stress without any damages to your fingers.

You can use certain things that will give your nails a nasty taste. There are certain chemicals that you can get at a pharmacy that are specifically designed to taste bad. Put some of them on your nails and you are sure to decrease the frequency that you put your fingers in your mouth with. Even regular nail polish has a nasty taste so make sure that you apply polish to your nails every day to discourage the snacking.

Give your nails a lot of attention. Treat them nice every day, use a lot of moisturizing creams, go and get a manicure and a massage. Even though your subconscious might still want to bite them from time to time, your pragmatic side will be more likely to stop you from doing that if you spend a lot of time and money on your nails.

Giving up this habit is not likely to be very easy. However, if you follow the tips mentioned above you will start biting your nails less and less and eventually stop. The key is to keep yourself motivated by thinking of the pretty nails that you will have at the end of the process.

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Elizabeth Danish


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  • I am on day 5 of no nail biting, going quite well caught myself twice before I did more than a small rip. 18 years on nonstop biting has never deformed my teeth or given me infections but I really hate the pain of tearing too close to the skin.

    I am quitting for the 3rd time in a decade just because I get to inherit a ring from my grandma and I can't wear it with my chewed nails.

    Wish me luck!

Elizabeth Danish