Nail biting is not an uncommon habit. It is estimated that about half of all adolescents has this habit of biting their nails. Although nail biting is common, it still does not change the fact that it is an unhealthy habit. Most nail biters started biting their nails during their childhood years. The habit is hard to kick but not impossible to stop.
Nail biting is a nervous habit. This is an unconscious behavior that is repeated when one is anxious, under a lot of stress as well as when bored. The medical term for nail biting is onychophagia.
Not only do you end up with unsightly and ragged nails when you’re a nail biter, you also put yourself at higher risk of getting ill. Your hands touch a lot of things each day and somewhere along the way, your hands and your nails can pick up harmful viruses, bacteria and fungi. Some nail biters bite their nails too much that a bleeding occurs. This open wound makes the nail biter prone to getting an infection.
So how do you kick this bad habit? When quitting any habit, one has to take little steps. Here are a few tips.
Write down the date of when you want to completely stop biting your nails. This helps you get your mind conditioned into quitting.
Have a challenge and reward system. For example, challenge yourself to not bite your nails for one whole day. If you win, then give yourself a reward for this accomplishment. Perhaps you can get yourself a sweet treat for such a sweet feat. If you were successful going about the entire day without biting your nails, extend the challenge into two days, adding more days as you go along.
You can also set up a punishment system. For example, you failed in the challenge of no biting your nails for a day, you can give yourself a punishment. It doesn’t have to be a physical punishment. Perhaps, no dessert for an entire week. As the number of days without biting your nails increases, the rewards can get bigger too or if you have adopted a punishment system as well, the punishment becomes heavier.
Protect a nail every week. Pick a nail to protect or not bite for an entire week. Once you have completed an entire week without biting the protected nail, add another nail that has immunity from getting bitten for a week. Add another nail as you go along. When you have all of your nails protected, give all of your nails one day immunity from getting bitten then the next day, 2 day-immunity, and adding more days to it as you go along.
It will take a lot of dedication and will power to overcome nail biting. If you fail or went on a relapse, don’t be too hard on yourself but rather start all over again.
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