7 Ways to Quit Your Nasty Nail-Biting Habit
Have you tried to quit nail-biting but just can’t seem to kick the habit? We all have bad habits that we want to get rid of. Something that started from a stressful situation and took on a life of its own. For me, I started smoking at a young age to cope with things. It turned into more of a routine than an actual addiction.
I would smoke in my car, right when I woke up before I fell asleep, and more than necessary at my first stressful job. Once I decided to quit, I found it difficult to not have a smoke during these ritualistic times. When I did finally stop, I noticed that I had a few new habits pop up to replace this one.
While biting your nails is not as bad as smoking, it is still not something we want in our lives.
Whether you are a biter or a picker, your nails are there to protect the skin and fingertips. When you start chewing or picking at this, you raise the possibility of getting an infection.
Not to mention, who has ever tried to open a can of soda with no nails? It’s not all that fun. I was so bad that I would rip my nails to the point of bleeding. Definitely not an attractive look. Even worse? Hearing me chewing on them while watching movies. I’m pretty sure my fiance was annoyed with me more than once.
If you are a nail biter, I have a few things to help you quit that nasty nail-biting habit. It took me a while (and I still indulge in high-stress moments), but it is not impossible. These strategies are relatively easy to do and will keep your nails long and beautiful. If only all habits were this easy to crack.
Get a manicure.
This might not work for everyone, but I have found it to be a great way to keep my mouth away from my fingers. This is also great on days you’re not feeling that great in your skin. Whether you are a man or a woman, go get a manicure every now and again. I’ve noticed that when my fingers are done professionally, I stop myself from ruining them.
It might cost a little bit more money than some of the other tips, but it helped me quit my habit for an entire year. It is exceptionally easy to stop if you get fake nails put on, but I do want to stress that this can weaken your nails over time as well.
If you aren’t into colors or acrylic nails, you can always go for a clear coat. No, this does not make you less manly for the gentlemen out there (in fact, a lot of pro football players get manicures). Once you spend money, you’ll be more inclined to quit that nail-biting you do mindlessly throughout the day.
Chew a piece of gum To Quit Nail-biting.
This was actually a trick I used when I was quitting my smoking habit. I realized that it also helped me stop any biting in its tracks. The next time you feel yourself going for that long nail, pop in a piece of gum. It might not be a permanent fix, but it will stop you during that period.
Usually, we start biting because we are anxious and need that hand to mouth fix (this is especially true with smokers). By chewing a piece of gum, you make it more difficult to pick at your nails, and it stimulates the same sensation in your brain.
Find the reason behind the biting.
Like I said before, we usually bite our nails in times of high anxiety. When you find yourself going for the fingertips, ask yourself why you feel the need to chew. If it has to do with a stressful situation, try to find a way to fix the problem instead of ruining your nail beds.
I have personally seen that I start chewing on my nails when I’m working long hours in front of the computer. Since my job needs a computer, it can become stress-inducing when I see all the things I have to do.
If this happens to you, take a break. I don’t have to tell you that stress is bad for your mental and physical health. Try going for a walk, taking a nap, doing meditation, or whatever you need to help calm you down. When you do this, you’ll notice that the urge to bite your nails starts to slow down as well.
Replace your nasty habit with a healthy one.
You can replace a habit with another one. A lot of people do this subconsciously, which usually is how we all became nail-biters in the first place.
Since biting deals with your hands and mouth, you can try getting a stress ball, making a healthy snack, or getting creative.
I’ve noticed that, for me, gardening has helped me stop entirely. Not only does it make my nails get dirty (which usually does the trick), but it keeps my hands busy for a while.
Find a hobby or task that you can easily do throughout the day so that you aren’t even thinking of biting. You can also have your inner kid come out to play by getting some silly putty or a coloring book. Anything that keeps your hands busy will keep them away from your mouth and help you quit that nail-biting habit.
Buy bitter-tasting nail polish.
I’m not a fan of this option, but it does the trick. Let me be more specific… I’m not a fan because I have, on several occasions, forgotten I’ve done this only to find a disgusting taste in my mouth. Meaning this does do the trick.
You can find bitter nail polish at almost any store, and, the second you put them in your mouth, you will instantly regret it. The reason I love this is the fact that it immediately stops me and also teaches my brain that when I do bite my nails, it will end in consequences.
You are training your mind not mindlessly to chew at your nails. Obviously, this isn’t one that will work for pickers out there but is excellent for anyone who chews their clippings off.
Trim them short.
I had to do this when I first decided to quit my habit. It is just a known fact that the longer the nail, the bigger the urge to chew. This doesn’t have to be a permanent fix, but will definitely help you out when you first start.
Try to trim them regularly (but make sure not to make them too short). This also helped in the same way getting a manicure does. When you take the time to care for your nails, you are less likely to destroy them seconds later.
Don’t beat yourself up.
Habits don’t end in a day. If you have a session where you chew all your nails off, that is okay. We have all been there. Try to take this gradually for success. If there is anything I have learned in kicking a habit, it is that you can not stop cold turkey. When you cut yourself off altogether, it can cause you to binge and have horrible guilt after. Take it slow, and forgive yourself when you do fail.
Take it day by day. If you mess up, ask yourself why you did and how to change your mindset.
The fact is that you are aware of your actions, and you consciously try to stop. If none of these methods work, you can even try wearing gloves during high chew times.
Let me know in the comments below or over at my contact page if you are a nail biter and what you do to help stop the craze. Do you have any other bad habits you are trying to quit? Leave it in the comments, and I’ll do research for you to help find a few alternatives for you to attempt.
At the end of the day, we are all human and going to have habits that aren’t the best for us. They don’t have to define who we are, though. Take it one day at a time and realize that you are strong for even trying to quit.
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**While I do research and find reliable information to share for each article, I am by no means a professional. Make sure to speak with a healthcare professional before changing anything in your health. Also, I do have affiliate links that, if used, will give me a small commission. While I do make a profit, I will never share a product/service that I do not 100% stand behind.