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How to stop biting your nails once and for all

Biting your nails is a habit that really sneaks up on you. Learn how to stop this habit with ManiMe.

By: ManiMe
Jul 29 2021

Biting your nails is a habit that really sneaks up on you. Whether you’re a frequent biter (hey, no judgment) or you resort to nibbling at your nails whenever you’re feeling super stressed out, before you know it, your nails are suddenly little nubs that need some serious TLC. If biting your nails is a habit that you’re looking to kick to the curb, you’ve come to the right place!

As we all know, habits don’t form overnight, and onychophagia (aka the fancy medical term for biting your nails) is no different. Some people develop the habit during childhood and adolescence, only for it to continue on well into adulthood. More often than not, nail-biting is something that’s been hardwired in our brains and bodies for literal years—so cut yourself some slack if you haven’t been able to keep this behavior in check.

Below, we’ve rounded up a few of our go-to tips and tricks that you can implement into your everyday life to try and decrease your nail-biting tendencies. Remember: Some progress is better than no progress at all!

Identify your stressors

Good news: The first step on the path toward a life without nail-biting starts with… nail-biting. Or, at least, letting yourself bite your nails so that you can pay attention to what’s causing you to bite them in the first place. For a week, keep a journal where you can write down every time you bite your nails and why you started in that particular moment. Maybe it was a stress-inducing email or an unexpected call from your boss. Figuring out what triggers your nail-biting habit will help you successfully tackle the issue head-on.

Keep ‘em covered

OK, so now you know why you bite your nails, which means it’s time to actually do something about it. One of the most obvious ways to try and cut back on nail biting is to cover them up. Consider a pair of gloves your new best friend! You can go cozy with cute winter mittens or clinical with disposable rubber gloves. It may seem awkward at first, but with enough determination, covering your nails can help you stop biting once and for all.

Seek out alternatives

Since nail biting is often the result of stress, anxiety, boredom, or all of the above—and you’re likely to experience at least one of these emotions at any given time—it’s important to be prepared with alternatives that can keep your hands busy when you’re tempted to bite away. A stress ball that you squeeze, a rubber band that you stretch, or a knick-knack that you fidget with are just a few of the items you can try using in place of biting your nails. Keep your item of choice close by your desk or workspace so you can avoid any nail-biting temptation. The switch might not happen overnight, and that’s totally fine! Aim to incorporate your alternative a couple of days a week and go from there.