Nail biting can be a stress-relieving nervous habit.
Knowing this, as well as the other reasons that lead to it, is the first step in treating it. Treatment of nail biting in grown-ups and in children is different, though there are many similar measures that can be taken for both groups. Most of these measures are behavior changes, while the rest are just physical obstacles that prevent you from biting your nails. The measures that are applicable only or mainly to children,
It is usually men, rather than women who bite their nails as adults. Well, this does not mean that men are affected by stress more than women - women just have different stress-relievers. Rather the reason lies in the attitude of women to appearance. However not all women use nail polish, almost any lady is concerned with the state of her manicure and that is why women pay more attention not to damage their nails incidentally or by biting. Still, there are cases when even nail-conscious ladies bite their nails, most often even without being aware of it.
And this is the greatest problem with treating nail biting in adults – given that it is done subconsciously, similarly to the way we breathe or scratch ourselves. However, there are a couple of tips that usually help adults to deal with nail biting:
Trim (and polish) your nails.
This is a major way to stop nail biting. Trimming can be done and really should be done by everybody, while nail polishing is applicable mainly for ladies over 12 or even older, though you will find invisible nail polishes that can be applied by men as well. If your nails are trimmed, you will have less stuff for biting and unless you like the cuticles especially, you will simply be unable to bite your nails without biting the soft tissue under it. Since biting the soft tissue under the nail is very painful, chances are that even if you attempt to bite your nails, you will stop it immediately, at the first signs of pain.
Well, this might sound a little bit drastic, but unless you are masochistic enough, pain will remind you that you are doing something wrong. Also the sight of the perfectly-trimmed and cared for manicure reminds you that if you happen to bite it, it is certainly gone.
Stress and anxiety management.
If nail biting is your response to stress and anxiety, some stress management techniques help. One solution is to find another stress-reliever, preferably a healthy and nonirritating one – for instance drawing or writing.
Keep your hands busy.
This also helps a lot, particularly if you are biting your nails during the course of something else – waiting or watching TV, for instance. If you got a small ball to squeeze, or even a pen to draw meaningless lines, this will keep your hands occupied and your nails are not in such danger anymore.
Paint your nails with a bitter-tasting polish.
This is for the hard addicts. There are many special formulas on the market that are just for you – they look good, don't damage your nails but taste awfully. Unless you get used to the taste, or even start liking it, the awful taste will cool down your craving to bite your nails.
Chew gum or mints.
Even if your hands are free, when your mouth is busy chewing something different, in all likelihood you will not chew your nails. This tip is especially useful, if you have quit smoking recently and just need various other activity to replace it with.
Gloves can be physical barrier to biting your nails, so if you can wear gloves, for instance if you do not live in a hot place, or your coworkers will look at you in dismay, gloves can also be used to fight your bad habit.
Rubber bandages or stickers.
Putting bandages or stickers on top of your nails is another physical barrier to biting them. Well, you may look pretty funny in an outfit like this, but if little else helps, you may try it.
The above listed suggestions for nail biting might not help everybody, especially those of you who have had this habit all their life. Giving up nail biting completely is very difficult but if you give up and don't keep trying, you might never have the capacity to have healthy nails.
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