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From the moment our eyes open in the morning, till they close, in the night, we rely on our hands to get us through the day. They give us the capability to see by turning on lights, walk by opening doors, eat by holding food or utensils, express and communicate to others by creating symbols, and so much more; the use of our hands is essential to the survival of the human race. Despite the usefulness of our hands, they are mistreated nearly every day by people such as myself. Nail picking and biting is a harmful habit that violates the hand's outer layer of protection: skin and nails. 

While it may help cope with feelings of stress or boredom, at the moment, it ultimately causes hands to develop scars, bruises and bleeding in the long term. All these factors add an element of pain for the hands to endure in their everyday tasks. Beyond just the emotional connection of nail picking and biting, there lies an obsession with perfecting nails, using tools such as tweezers, needles, or in desperate times teeth. This act attempts to improve the appearance of hands; in reality, it disrupts and further damages the hands. A tool responsible for bringing so much joy into life should not have to experience such a level of mistreatment. 

As I mentioned, I am guilty of subjecting my hands to this debilitating habit. Despite the constant yelling from my dad as a kid to stop, the ugly realities of dismembered hands, and the increased possibility of sickness, I continue to feed into this activity. I desire to treat my hands with the love and respect they deserve, but I have no self-control. This “bad habit” has developed into a much more powerful: a disorder. In hopes of recovering and controlling this disorder, I have found some suggestions to help myself and anyone else struggling with this body-focused repetitive behavior. 

1. Keep hands busy

2. Tell others about your problem

3. Identify the situation in which the habit occurs or is triggered

4. Replace the destructive habit with a positive habit

5. Resist the urge for longer times

6. Talk therapy if you feel this is a problem you can’t handle on your own

Laura Troutman

Cincinnati '25

I am a first year at the university of Cincinnati trying to find my place in the world by using my voice. I enjoy clothing, sustainability, design, and peanut butter.
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