I'm 21 Years Old and I Still Bite My Nails

I know it’s a childish habit, but it’s a hard one to quit. My dad used to always tell me growing up that it was a nervous habit and I notice that every time I catch myself doing it is during things like watching a really good movie, during a stressful test, or even just doing my homework. It’s such a mindless act, yet it’s embarrassing and looks unprofessional. So, why can’t I seem to quit after all these years of chomping at my nails? I’ve done some research into my nail biting habit and this is what I found according to webmd.com.

1. It could be genetic

“Scientists aren’t sure if nail biting is genetic, but kids whose parents bite their nails are more likely to bite their nails, too” (Webmd.com). Studies even show that this can happen even if the parents stop doing it before their child is born. Who knew Dad?

2. Emotional or mental stress

I can definitely tell that this is true at times of emotional or mental stress, as this is when I’m practically gnawing at my nails. “It tends to show up in people who are nervous, anxious or feeling down. It’s a way to cope with these feelings” (Webmd.com). It becomes a safety blanket for you in a way.

3. Bored, hungry, or feeling insecure

It’s such a mindless act; when you are feeling those ways, it’s automatic. Nail biting can help create the feeling of filling a void or passing time.

Why You Shouldn't Bite Your Nails

Though as tough as it is to quit the nasty habit, my research actually led me to reasons why you shouldn’t be biting mindlessly away at those nails. Let me tell you why:

1. It can make your nails grow in weird

Constantly biting them can make the nail grow abnormally.

2. It can ruin your smile

Despite the damage to the nails, your teeth can take a beating from the constant grinding and chewing which could chip, break, or grind a tooth down.

3. It can make you sick

There are many bacteria lingering under those nails that you wouldn’t even think about. Constantly ingesting that bacteria can lead to illnesses.

Tips for Stopping Nail Biting

Lastly, Webmd.com gave some really useful tips and tricks to help prevent yourself from gobbling up those nails and to help keep them looking nice and professional.

1. Cut them short

If you’re not used to having long nails, keep them short as having them long will only annoy/bother you and make you want to gnaw at them endlessly.

2. Coat them with a bad taste

I’ve personally tried this method before and let me tell you it does work as the horrible taste will linger in your mouth for a while, but I’m so stubborn that I continually have to put it on just to keep my hands out of my mouth.

3. Splurge on manicures

You wouldn’t want to ruin a perfectly good manicure that you paid good money for, right?

4. Wear gloves or band-aids

If applicable, wearing gloves can help keep your fingers out of your mouth. Plus, it might look stylish and you could become a new trendsetter!

5. Find your triggers

Find things that trigger you to bite your nails. Try new things like meditation or breathing exercises to help calm you instead of instinctively biting your nails.

6. Keep your hands or mouth busy

The busier you stay, the less time your brain wants to chomp those nails down. Try things like gum, tapping a pen or pencil (if it’s not a disturbance to others), or even going for a walk/jog.Stopping the habit of biting your nails can be just as challenging as any other bad habit. Habits are hard to quit because they become a part of our routine so to change your routine and stick with it can be very difficult. Maybe that’s why I haven’t stopped after all these years. No matter what your age or how often you bite your nails, know that it’s completely normal and if you want to quit, just know it will be difficult but believe in yourself because you can do anything you set your mind to.