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Ways to replace 5 common anxious behaviors

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

As someone who has been diagnosed with anxiety, I know how hard it can be to get rid of some of the anxious thoughts and behaviors in our everyday life. If you can relate to any of my anxious behaviors, then I hope the list below will give you some ideas to help stop these anxious habits. 

  1. Biting nails

One of the worst happens that I have done since I was young is bite my nails. Up until COVID in 2020, I picked and bit my fingernails CONSTANTLY. Since then, I have found a few things that helped me stop biting my nails. For one, I started to use bad-tasting nail polish. This leaves a sour and/or bitter taste in your mouth anything you put your nail in your mouth. Another thing I found to be helpful was putting Vaseline on them before bed. It deterred me from biting and worked to help strengthen them a bit. 

  1. Picking hangnails 

Similar to the first one, I also tend to excessively pick at hangnails. The best thing that has helped me is to carry a pair of nail clippers in my bag with me when I travel places. Whenever my nail breaks or I have a hangnail, I immediately snip it off to prevent myself from pulling more off than necessary. 

  1. Licking your lips 

This problem was huge for me in elementary school. When winter came around my lips would have a red ring from licking the dry skin constantly. There are a few ways I work to combat this now. Most importantly, I carry Vaseline and chapstick with me literally everywhere I go. A second deterrent for me is applying lotion on my face in the morning and at night. This keeps my face better moisturized and also tastes gross if I lick around my lips so it reminds me not to lick them. 

  1. Tapping your fingers on the desk

Sometimes when I get nervous I tend to tap my fingers on the desk or on my leg. Some of the tools I have found useful are hand fidgets and pop-its. Pop-its distract me and give me something to do with my hands. Other good ideas are stress balls or even play-doh. They distract your fingers from tapping and annoying others with the sound. You can find these at Dollar Tree or Walmart for relatively cheap. 

  1. Tapping your feet

I have caught myself tapping my feet in class so many times. Sometimes it feels impossible to make myself stop jittering around. One technique I have found that helps me is to simply tap my toes instead. It is much quieter and not noticeable to others so I can assure myself that I am not being distracting to others. 

Anxiety can be hard to deal with and the behaviors that come with it can feel annoying and distracting.  If you have experience with any of these five anxious habits, I hope that my alternatives can help you the same way they have for me. 



Madison Glatfelter

Millersville '24

Madi is a junior at Millersville majoring in Elementary Education with a minor in General English. Some of her hobbies include playing volleyball, nannying for families, and participating in ECHO and KDP on campus. Madi is passionate about school-work-life balance, relationships, organization, self-care, and life/school hacks.