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How To: Stop Biting Your Fingers in 9 Simple Steps

I don’t remember when I started biting my nails, but I remember when it first became a problem and I became completely shy to expose my fingers in public. I bit my nails and don’t stop till it becomes painful or starts bleeding. Yes! it’s that bad.

There are a million reasons why people bite their nails. For me, it was a way to deal with the tremendous anxiety that I didn’t know how to deal with, and the boredom that eats my brain alive if I’m running at anything less than full-throttle. It became automatic and compulsive: the second my mind was elsewhere, I would begin to bite. I hated it and loved it, but mostly I felt like I couldn’t stop.

Below are 9 easy steps to completely stop biting your nails.

Step 1: Commit

This is the hardest part, even though it sounds so deceptively easy: You have to commit to STOP BITING.

And I mean you have to really commit to it. Do this however you have to. Say it out loud to your partner, parents or friends. Write it down and stick it over your desk so you can see it every day. Put it on Twitter. Hold it silently in the still part of your soul. Whatever.

Your word is your bond, and this is a promise you’re making to yourself. Take it as seriously as if you were making a solemn vow to your very best friend. No half-measures here–you’re in or you’re out.

Step 2: STOP

I know how annoying it is to have someone say “The only way to stop biting your nails is to stop.” Boy, do I know. But even more annoyingly, it’s true.

You have to stop putting your fingers in your mouth, or idly picking at loose skin, or scratching the surfaces, or messing with your cuticles, or whatever your particular habit is. Seriously. JUST STOP.

I’m going to get into ways about how you can do this in a second, but right now we have to talk about something else equally important.

Step 3: Identify Triggers

You may already know what these are; you might bite out of boredom or when you’re not paying attention, when you’re especially stressed, when you’re unhappy, to vent your anxiety, etc. If you don’t have these identified, that’s OK! Pay attention and see if you can find a relationship between events or emotional states and how much you want to bite.

In most cases, this will become clear really quickly. Once you know what gets you started wanting to bite, you can more easily head it off at the pass.

Step 4: Cultivate Mindfulness

A lot of bad habits happen when we are zoned out–nail polish gets pulled off, dry skin on lips gets picked, and yes, nails get bitten. You need to fight against this. Be present and aware of what you’re doing all the time, or as much of the time as you can, so that you aren’t unconsciously engaging in nail-biting.

Step 5: Behavioural Conditioning

I think that out of everything, this is the part of the plan that will vary the most from person to person.

You can get a very tight elastic hairband and put it around your wrist. The second you notice your fingers going to your mouth, you would snap it. Not incredibly hard–you don’t want to wound yourself–but enough to catch your attention. As soon as you’d snap it, you would tell yourself “I really do not need to bite my hands right now.” And do anything that didn’t involve anxiously or idly gnawing.

Step 6: Start to Fix Underlying Causes

Remember those triggers? Yeah, you gotta deal with that, otherwise another bad habit is just gonna replace the one you’re trying to get rid of. Whether this is therapy, medication, yoga, meditation, competitive paper airplane folding, whatever–get into it and rout it out.

Step 7: Manicures

The best thing you can do for yourself if you’re a nail-biter is to get really meticulous about at-home manicures. It sounds weird, but you have tried them!

Start by shaping and filing your nails so that they’re all the same length and shape. I’d recommend a short oval shape to begin with, because it’s easy to maintain. It also gives more strength to damaged nails–no corners to catch on as with a square shape. Take your time with this. Enjoy it. Be nice to your nails and yourself.

Also, no matter how strong the temptation, don’t file the flat face of your nail. Your nails might be really ridged and uneven, and that will heal with time. Buff if you absolutely have to, but do not file. You’ll just weaken them more, and you don’t want that.

Step 8: One Day at a Time

Make sure you adhere strictly to the set rules daily and resist all form of temptation. You won’t die, trust me

Step 9: Patience

Your nails will take a long time to get nice. Skin heals slowly, damage done to the nail bed take a long time to repair, quicks are NOT quick to get better. But that’s OK because you’re playing the long game here. You want your nails and hands to look and feel good for your entire life, so keep caring for them, and don’t get discouraged.

It’s going to be hard, but it’s also going to be OK. If you only take away one thing from this, have it be this. It’s going to be OK.

Let’s talk: Do you bite your nails? Did you? How did you stop? What helped you get through it?  How do your nails look today?

Source: https://www.xojane.com/beauty/nails/quit-nail-biting-in-10-steps

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