The habit of biting your nails when you’re tired, nervous, or simply bored often begins in childhood and sometimes lasts through adulthood. The side effects of frequently biting your nails aren’t merely cosmetic. Regular nail-biting leads to the skin around your nails become sore and painful, often leading to the discomfort that can last for days. Chronic nail-biting can also expose you to bacterial and fungal infections as you pass the carriers of disease from your fingernails to your mouth.
It’s important to stop this habit. Thanks to science and advice from dermatologists and doctors from all over the world, it’s possible to stop the habit of biting your nails. This post discusses how you can do it.
1. Keep your nails trimmed and short.
What will you bite when you have nothing to dig your teeth into?
2. Apply layers of bitter nail polish to your nails.
That will serve as a negative trigger and keep you off from biting your nails.
3. Get regular manicures.
Having your nails professionally done will make them look aesthetic and prevent you from frequently biting into them.
4. Replace it with another habit
When you feel like biting your nails, play with a fidget spinner or a stress ball instead. That will help you break this habit and get rid of the urge to keep biting your nails frequently.
5. Identify your triggers
Maybe you tend to bite your nails when you’re nervous. Maybe you do that when there’s something extremely stressful going on? If you know what triggers this habit, it will be easier for you to recognize them and take active steps to stop yourself from biting your nails one more time.
6. Adopt the gradual approach
Maybe start by not biting one fingernail after another. Or maybe you can restrict yourself to biting the nails of one hand, and then when you’re habituated, you can slowly move on to the other hand. While building any new habit or getting rid of a particularly addictive habit, it’s important to take it slow, be patient with yourself, and celebrate small wins.
7. Get a habit tracker
Download a free habit tracker where you mark each day on the calendar when you successfully refrained from biting your nails. Seeing an unbroken streak of not indulging in your bad habit can be an incredible motivator to keep pushing you ahead on this endeavor of not biting your nails.
8. Get an accountability partner
Talk to someone about your goals of not biting your nails. This can be a friend, a roommate, a partner, a sibling, or a parent. Roping someone in on your journey and having them hold you accountable can be a way to make sure you’re not alone on this journey.
You can also hire an accountability coach. These are trained professionals who will help you build a new habit or get rid of old ones. Having a compassionate, professionally-trained expert by your side can be a wonderful way to make sure you don’t fall off the wagon while trying to break the habit of biting your nails every time you’re triggered.