10 Aug Don’t Bite Your Nails
They say old habits die hard, but if you are the guy who has that disgusting habit of biting your nails, it’s time to kick this problem, and fast. As my mother used to tell me when I had this issue as a child, “Do you realize you are putting your hands—hands that have touched money, that someone else’s hands have touched after they have gone to the bathroom and forgotten to wash their hands—into your mouth?” Not only do you look stupid chomping at your fingernails (especially as an adult), but you’re quite literally eating shit.
Do you ever ask yourself why you’ve acquired this nasty habit? Here are a few reasons and culprits:
- Nail biting is one of the first defense mechanisms that the body reverts to when it’s stressed. It all starts with your mind—biting, picking and pulling different parts from your body stimulates the nervous system.
- People often lapse into biting their nails during times of idleness and boredom. This is your brain talking: “That’s it, I’ve got everything I’ve ever wanted—now I’m bored, so I guess I’ll chop away at my fucking nails.”
- Emotional addictions, like nail biting, are actually very comparable to dependence on a drug, like heroin. In this case, the “drug” is mentally fabricated in your mind to reinforce a particular emotion.
- Your bad habits have an arousing payoff, which goes back to the emotions they generate. So know this: when you stop a bad habit, there will be a withdrawal period, which your body will most likely impose within your brain.
Now, you finally realize you look like a juvenile ass who’s eating dirt and grime when you’re chewing your nails—congrats. How can I get rid of this habit, you ask? Here’s the PRZ 7 step program:
Write yourself a contract or a promissory note spelling out that you respect yourself too much too look like a douche, and that you’re committed to kicking this problem.
In your state of stillness, ask yourself why and when you revert to biting your nails. What’s going through your mind? What are you eating, drinking, etc.? Try to identify if there are other habits or rituals occurring at the same time.
3. If you have nowhere to go, put bandages over your nails, covering the nail bed with the padded area of the bandage. (Apply fresh bandages every time they get dirty or exposed to too much water.) Now, if you’re going to dinner at the White House, you can (and should) remove them, but keep a few on the main nails you bite so you don’t feel inspired to chomp away. Do this for two weeks and see the difference in your addiction as well as the appearance of your hand.
4. Try choosing one nail at a time to protect against your teeth. Cover it go a few days without biting that nail; once you notice how much better it looks, cover up another finger with a bandage, do the same thing, and compare.
5. Find something else to do with your hands to keep them busy. No, I don’t mean that—get a ribbon, a gratitude rock, or a cool stone like a crystal, and play with it and rub it instead of biting your nails. Keep coins in your pockets to reach for when you get the desire to bite. In other words: develop a new, much-less-revolting habit.
6. Keep your teeth busy by chewing gum or candy—trust me, the flavor of Trident and your nails together will taste like shit and should be enough to keep your hands out of your mouth.
Eat nutritious snacks and drink more water regularly; concentrating on both of these better-yourself behaviors and will keep you from giving into your weakness.