Nail biting is a bad habit that leaves biters with unattractive hands. Most nail biters develop the habit as children. While unsanitary and messy, nail biting is not typically dangerous to the biter. However, if nails are bitten too close to the cuticle, infections can occur. Bacteria can also be passed from hand-to-mouth through nail biting. This can make the biter susceptible to illness. Fortunately, there are free ways to help you stop your nail biting habit.
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Give yourself a manicure. Most nail biters have very short nails; however, do not let this deter you from manicuring your nails. Keep the nails filed so the edges do not become ragged, catch on things and tear. Paint your nails with a clear nail polish and rub oil into the cuticles to keep them from becoming dry. Rub lotion onto your hands frequently so the scent deters you from putting your hands into your mouth.
Avoid putting your fingers in your mouth by keeping your hands occupied. Hold small objects in your hands when you feel the urge to bite your nails. This will help to alleviate any anxiety that has built up causing you to chew your nails.
Wear an elastic around your wrist as a reminder to stop biting your nails. Use a stretchy band, a simple rubber band or even a hair band to remind yourself not to chomp. You may even want to snap the band each time your hands end up close to your mouth to further reinforce your decision to stop biting.
Substitute biting your nails with something that actually tastes good. Replace biting your nails with chewing gum, lollipops, or baby carrots. Try to use a low-fat, sugar-free substitute so you don't end up accumulating pounds along with your new, unbitten nails.
Hypnotise yourself by listening to free audio hypnosis tapes available on the Internet. Download the audio files, relax your body and listen to the tapes for positive reinforcement. Free audio downloads are available through CNET and Free Hypnosis Downloads.
Manage stress to reduce anxiety. Nail biting may be indicative of anxiety or compulsive behaviour. Use visualisation techniques such as relaxing and seeing yourself with long, healthy nails. Use relaxation podcasts that are available at the iTunes Store for no charge. Even if you don't have an iPod, you can listen to the podcasts for free from your computer desktop after you download the iTunes application.
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