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How To Stop Biting Your Nails

How To Stop Biting Your Nails

By Lela S.

I am desperately in need of this one

What is nail biting?

Onychophagia. The habit of nail biting. The worst bad habit anyone can ever have. Especially during a pandemic. 20-30 percent of the population suffers from it. Including 45 percent of teenagers. Including me. :( This article will tell you how to get to know how to stop biting your nails forever.

For the past fourteen months, we’ve been forced to pay extra attention to our hands this year: we’ve bought bucketfuls of sanitizer, we’ve been reminded to wash our hands with soap and water for twenty seconds (by our very own Apple Watches), and we’ve been told to keep them away from our faces because they are extremely susceptible to touching surfaces that can be contaminated by all sorts of bacteria. For a nail-biter, this is an obvious dilemma. So how do we stop this bad habit? (LELA STOP BITING YOUR NAILS WHILE TYPING)

Nail biting is the most common bad habit. When you’re bored or have nothing to do, some people fidget or play with an object, while others turn to nibbling on their nails. It’s most common in adolescence because of puberty. For some, this habit can extend into adulthood, so it’s important to nip it in the bud.

Why do nail-biters even bite?

An important question to be able to stop the habit is, why do nail-biters even bite their nails? There must have been a reason it started before it became a hard habit to break.

  • Concentration

When people are focused on something, such as writing on CookyLela News or doing homework, they may engage in other behaviours absentmindedly. Studies have shown that this may even improve concentration! However, don’t get me wrong, nail-biting is NOT good for you. Other alternatives that improve concentration are the fidget spinner, which rose to popularity in 2017, and putty which you can play with. I’ve seen people use these in my class. But I’ve also seen at least three people in my class bite their nails while completing classwork (one of those people is ME).

  • Anxiety

It’s perfectly normal to be nervous before an important event or competition. Some people resort to fidgeting, as I said above, but some others bite their nails. Personally, I used to bite my nails because of this, but now, this isn’t the main reason, since when I have nothing to do before a big competition, I solve the Rubik’s Cube ;).

  • Boredom

Some people feel uneasy when they are bored. When I’m waiting for something to happen, or I simply just have nothing to do, then, for me, it’s an automatic response to nibble on my nails. I try to solve a Rubik’s Cube, but when the teacher confiscates it (which happens a lot), or when I forget to bring it to school (which never happens), you know what I’m going to do next.

  • Perfectionism

Once you start biting your nails, you can’t stop. A reason why someone might bite their nails is that sometimes, your nails get uneven. To get even nails, there are two solutions: one, use a nail clipper, two, use your teeth. But what if your nails are already short - from biting your nails? A nail clipper would hurt. So the most obvious solution is to use your mouth. This creates a vicious cycle.


These habits are the ones that are starting to make a difference for me.

  • Replace your bad habit with a good one

Instead of resorting to nail-biting wheneve you get the urge, why not try something else? For me, I try to use a Rubik’s Cube whenever I can, instead of biting my nails. It’s also (this is what I tell my teachers) educational. A very educational object that stops you from biting your nails. If the cube just isn’t for you, try a Pop It, a fidget spinner, a stress ball, or some slime!

  • Use nail polish

Nail polish looks good on your nails, but it also tastes bad. Well, actually, not all of them taste bad, but you wouldn’t want to drink a nail polish smoothie, would you? Would eating dried nail polish appeal to you? I’m guessing not. Ew. Eating nail polish is definitely enough motivation to stop biting. If it’s not (sheesh), you could opt for special nail polish that tastes bad. Is a flurry of colours on your nails not for you? Clear polish, guys. Clear nail polish is the way to go.

  • Gradually stop

Some doctors recommend taking a gradual approach to break the habit. Try to stop biting one set of nails, such as your thumb nails, first. When that’s successful, eliminate your pinky nails, pointer nails, or even an entire hand. The goal is to get to the point where you no longer bite any of your nails.

Thanks for reading!

(Wow. I just realized that I was biting my nails while writing this. I think I should read my own article.)

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