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How to stop biting nails: A comprehensive guide

Updated: Mar 6, 2023

Nail biting is a common habit that many people struggle with. Whether you're stressed, bored, or anxious, nail biting can quickly become a reflexive behavior that's hard to break. Not only can it be unhygienic, but it can also damage your nails and cuticles, making them look unsightly. But don't worry, with a little bit of effort and some tips and tricks, you can break the habit and keep your nails looking healthy and beautiful. The first step is to identify the reason you bite your nails, the second is to break the habit, and the last and third step is maintaining this habit. Here are a few tips on how to successfully achieve these steps.

6 Simple Steps to Stop Biting Nails

1. Identify Your Triggers

The first step in stopping nail biting is to identify what triggers the behavior. For some people, it's stress, while for others, it may be boredom or anxiety. Once you understand what triggers your nail biting, you can take steps to avoid or manage those situations.

Identify your nail biting triggers

Some other triggers:

  • Stress

  • Anxiety

  • Impatience

  • Perfectionism

  • Frustration

  • Boredom

  • Habit

  • ADHD

  • Oral fixation

2. Keep Your Hands Busy

One of the best ways to prevent nail biting is to keep your hands busy. Try carrying a stress ball or fidget toy with you to play with when you feel the urge to bite your nails. You could also try knitting, crocheting, or doing a puzzle to keep your hands occupied. Whenever you find yourself biting your nails out of boredom, find something to keep your hands busy to stop you from focusing on your nails.

Here are some ideas:

  • Play with a stress ball or fidget toy

  • Knit or crochet

  • Draw or color

  • Play an instrument

  • Write or journal

  • Do a puzzle

  • Squeeze a stress ball

  • Clean or organize

3. Keep Your Nails Trimmed

Long nails are more tempting to bite, so keeping them trimmed can help prevent the habit. Use nail clippers to keep your nails short and even, and file any rough edges to prevent them from catching on clothing. Try carrying a nail file with you wherever you go in order to fix any rough edges when you are more tempted to bite your nails.

4. Use Bitter-Tasting Nail Polish

Bitter-tasting nail polish is designed to discourage nail biting by creating a bitter taste in your mouth when you bite your nails. This can be an effective deterrent for some people, but it may not work for everyone.

5. Try Manicures or Acrylic Nails

If you're struggling to break the habit on your own, consider getting a manicure. This will keep your nails looking clean and fresh, and you might be less likely to ruin a manicure. If you want an even stronger option, try out acrylic nails. Acrylic nails are strong and durable, and they can help protect your natural nails from damage. Plus, since they're thicker than natural nails, they can be more difficult to bite.

6. Practice Good Hygiene and Be Mindful

Nail biting can be unhygienic, so practicing good hygiene can help prevent the habit. Wash your hands regularly, and use hand sanitizer when you can't wash your hands. Keep your nails clean and dry, and avoid biting or picking at your cuticles. Also, take a mindful approach to breaking the habit of nail biting. Pay attention to what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. This will allow you to focus on your nail biting behavior and take the necessary steps to reverse it into a positive behavior.

Remember, breaking the habit of nail biting takes time and effort, but it's worth it in the end. It's important to note that nail biting can have negative consequences, such as damaging the nails and cuticles, spreading germs, and increasing the risk of infections. By following these tips and tricks, you can keep your nails healthy and beautiful and say goodbye to the habit for good. In order to keep track of breaking your negative habits and adapting to new and positive habits, use our app Insumo, which will help you with your journey. Also, if you're struggling to break the habit of nail biting, consider seeking help from a healthcare provider or mental health professional.

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