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Nailbiting

Lindsay LohanLindsay Lohan Registered User regular
edited August 2010 in Help / Advice Forum
So - I've been a nail biter since middle school. I'm now 33 and would like to make a serious run at stopping. Unfortunately, I know part of my issue is I'm not great at handling work stress and I end up grawing at them at my desk and on the commute home quite frequently.

As anyone who has done this in the past probably knows, I don't even consciously do it - I just kind of look down and I'm chewing them without even thinking about it. This makes it insanely hard to quit, but I have a kid now and I don't want to pass this down to him.

I've been googling to find strategies but it seems like every result that comes up is a product they are trying to sell - from stuff to put on them or (more often) self hypnosis tapes. Does anyone have some solid strategies that have worked for them? My temptation is to just put daily pix up on my facebook to guilt me into quitting but I don't know if I want my coworkers knowing I'm doing this. My wife has bet that if I do it I get a manicure/pedicure reward which sounds tempting but how do you quit what you don't know you're doing?

Lindsay Lohan on

Posts

  • ImprovoloneImprovolone Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Constantly remind yourself that you do it and punish yourself when you do it. I like the picture idea, personally. The foul tasting stuff on your nails should help remind you when you're doing it. Also, I know some people have had good luck with snapping their wrists with a rubber band when they want to do that. Good negative reinforcement.
    Also, try to fill the oral void by chewing gum or sucking on lollipops.

    Improvolone on
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  • CountBlackulaCountBlackula MarylandRegistered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Why don't you set small goals?

    Hm, I guess that won't work because you don't know you're doing it. When I have a bad habit I wanna break, I try and think about it as much as possible to be aware of when I'm doing it.

    CountBlackula on
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  • FerrusFerrus Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Nailbiting more often than not is a symptom of something else. Maybe you should try to adress the stress issues and anything else that bothers you.

    Filing you nails regularily (And never back and forth, only in one direction!) might also help. It depends on how much you bite them - Just a bit so it still looks normal or until your fingers bleed?

    The stuff you can put on them that tastes bitter isn't there to keep you from biting, it's more like a reminder so you become aware of what you are doing.

    Ferrus on
    I would like to pause for a moment, to talk about my penis.
    My penis is like a toddler. A toddler—who is a perfectly normal size for his age—on a long road trip to what he thinks is Disney World. My penis is excited because he hasn’t been to Disney World in a long, long time, but remembers a time when he used to go every day. So now the penis toddler is constantly fidgeting, whining “Are we there yet? Are we there yet? How about now? Now? How about... now?”
    And Disney World is nowhere in sight.
  • Lindsay LohanLindsay Lohan Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Ferrus wrote: »
    Nailbiting more often than not is a symptom of something else. Maybe you should try to adress the stress issues and anything else that bothers you.

    Filing you nails regularily might also help. It depends on how much you bite them - Just a bit so it still looks normal or until your fingers bleed?

    The stuff you can put on them that tastes bitter isn't there to keep you from biting, it's more like a reminder so you become aware of what you are doing.

    I may have to try that bitter stuff. I'm assuming that's something I can find at a pharmacy. I generally don't make them bleed but they definitely don't look normal. They are just to the point that any more chewing would cause them to hurt - I suppose that's when I notice I'm doing it so I stop.

    Right now I'm at a point with too much on me at work, lots of change happening and I'm not really in a great position to fix it/reduce the stress. I have found switching my evening/night habits to more relaxing DS games, comics or books instead of my normal routine of 360, internet and tv has helped lighten my overall stress significantly which is what made me take a look at other stressors and my nail-biting .

    Lindsay Lohan on
  • CognisseurCognisseur Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Hey OP, I have good news for you. I was in your exact same position last year. Biting my nails all my life, and more importantly, not consciously recognizing I'm doing it initially (and once you're already halfway through a nail, stopping is kind of dumb).

    I had a very simple system I started for myself last year and I'm still not biting my nails. I set a calendar event on my cell-phone every 3 days (and it's gotten longer between since then) to remind me to clip my nails. Then, whatever I'm doing, at 8:00PM when the calendar alerts me I clip my nails.

    The result is having quite short nails that don't elicit that not-fully-conscious desire to bite your nails. After all, even when you bite out of nervousness, you kind of feel around for a nail that's long enough to bite; you don't just bite the same nail every time.

    For a while, my hands would stray to my mouth and I guess I was looking for a nail to bite but ultimately realized there were no long nails to bite. Over time, I stopped even 'checking' because it was just too much consistent failure to find bitable nails.

    Give it a shot.

    Cognisseur on
  • TavataarTavataar Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    I was a nail biter for probably...15 years or so, and have almost completely stopped as of last fall.

    One thing that helps is having something else to chew on: toothpicks, coffee stirrers, mints, gum...just something else to replace the nails.

    As was mentioned above, you also need to make a conscious effort to always notice when you start to do it, and to immediately stop.

    Tavataar on
    -Tavataar
  • SiskaSiska Shorty Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    I completely quit biting my nails when i was 22, after having been a nail biter all my life. I did it without using any foul flavored assistance. How it started was a few years earlier I made the choice of declaring my thumbs and index fingers off limits. And it worked quite well. Still biting the heck out of the other 6, but I managed leave those 4 alone. Then I just put my mind to quitting, completely. Again, it worked. I think for me, the gradual thing helped. Allowed my mind get used to you can't bite those, while still getting my chew fix.

    Siska on
  • joshofalltradesjoshofalltrades Class Traitor Smoke-filled roomRegistered User regular
    edited August 2010
    This is really gross, but I chew the inside of my mouth. I get stressed or nervous and just start chewing. Not until I bleed or anything, but I need to cut that shit out. I just can't help it.

    I guess I'll try the rubber band trick or something. I really hate this habit.

    joshofalltrades on
  • ArikadoArikado Southern CaliforniaRegistered User regular
    edited August 2010
    I forced myself in high school by coating the top side of my nails with a bit of crazy glue so that nail biting tasted really bad.

    My little sister had a similar problem and she would put a bit of vinegar in her nail polish.

    Arikado on
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  • Bionic MonkeyBionic Monkey Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited August 2010
    So - I've been a nail biter since middle school. I'm now 33 and would like to make a serious run at stopping. Unfortunately, I know part of my issue is I'm not great at handling work stress and I end up grawing at them at my desk and on the commute home quite frequently.

    As anyone who has done this in the past probably knows, I don't even consciously do it - I just kind of look down and I'm chewing them without even thinking about it. This makes it insanely hard to quit, but I have a kid now and I don't want to pass this down to him.

    I've been googling to find strategies but it seems like every result that comes up is a product they are trying to sell - from stuff to put on them or (more often) self hypnosis tapes. Does anyone have some solid strategies that have worked for them? My temptation is to just put daily pix up on my facebook to guilt me into quitting but I don't know if I want my coworkers knowing I'm doing this. My wife has bet that if I do it I get a manicure/pedicure reward which sounds tempting but how do you quit what you don't know you're doing?

    I did this back in high school. You just need to quit. When you catch yourself doing it anyway, force yourself to stop again, and eventually you'll catch yourself doing it less and less. I also found it helped carrying a pair of clippers with me everywhere, which I continue to do to this day. When I do catch myself chewing, which I still do even to this day, just once every few months instead of a couple times a day, the clippers let me get rid of the rest of the nail, which reduces my urge to chew.

    Bionic Monkey on
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  • BoomShakeBoomShake The Engineer Columbia, MDRegistered User regular
    edited August 2010
    I'm almost 23 and have been biting since I was 4. I've tried the bitter stuff without success. The rubberband thing doesn't work when you're not totally conscious and aware of your biting. Setting up rewards only serves to disappoint. Setting aside a few fingers as off-limits, for me, led to using these new long nails as tools for picking at the others.

    I have, however, gotten better thanks to one small change. I keep a nail-clipper and cuticle trimmer right next to me at my desk. In addition to regularly clipping things short, as Cognisseur suggested, having clippers there help when you catch yourself doing it. Not only does it remove the need to finish biting the nail (who wants it hanging?), but it lets you immediately remove any remaining jaggies or bits you could bite. They're also common and inconspicuous enough that nobody will ever think twice if they see you have them.

    It's not a miracle cure, not by a long shot. You will slip up and hate yourself a countless times. But I've made it from bleeding almost every day to practically never. I hope this year, with this method, I'll kick the habit for good.

    Hope that helps.

    EDIT: I guess I should have read every post. Bionic Monkey had the same idea. Great minds, etc.

    BoomShake on
  • Lindsay LohanLindsay Lohan Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Thanks again for all the advice. I guess I'll grab a pair of nail clippers to keep at my desk - that would help as I do have many "Well, it's already half gone - might as well finish it off" moments. I'll put something on my calendar too - I like the idea of setting a reminder so even if I do fall off the wagon one day I'll remember to try again another day.

    I know rewards rarely work for me - if they did work I'd be in shape by now - but I am hoping that the added incentive will help.

    Lindsay Lohan on
  • nukanuka What are circles? Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    If you are a girl paint your nails.

    If you are a boy paint your nails, they have this clear stuff you can put on them. They'll look a little shinier than usual but you don't want that stuff in your mouth. It's not tasty. We put them on our nails after we put color on them so that the polish is stronger and it lasts longer before it chips.

    Since you mentioned stress and since this is probably the cause you should look into getting like one of those squeeze toys or something.

    nuka on
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  • Lindsay LohanLindsay Lohan Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Hahaha - I'm a guy - sorry - sometimes I forget that my screenname (the result of a tails coin flip in a name change thread) doesn't reflect that! I was thinking some silly putty or stress ball might help - and replenishing my altoid tin.

    Lindsay Lohan on
  • FerrusFerrus Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    This is not really a solution but...

    Instead of biting the nail OFF, I just started to kind of snap them against my teeth. It's hard to explain. Makes quite some noise and is terribly unnerving to other people but it stops me from mutilating my fingernails.

    But again, the entire thing is just a symptom. I guess everyone in this thread is a little crazy.

    Ferrus on
    I would like to pause for a moment, to talk about my penis.
    My penis is like a toddler. A toddler—who is a perfectly normal size for his age—on a long road trip to what he thinks is Disney World. My penis is excited because he hasn’t been to Disney World in a long, long time, but remembers a time when he used to go every day. So now the penis toddler is constantly fidgeting, whining “Are we there yet? Are we there yet? How about now? Now? How about... now?”
    And Disney World is nowhere in sight.
  • HerkimerHerkimer Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    I'm gonna ditto what a few wrote above: keep your nails very short.

    Herkimer on
  • Bionic MonkeyBionic Monkey Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited August 2010
    Ferrus wrote: »
    This is not really a solution but...

    Instead of biting the nail OFF, I just started to kind of snap them against my teeth. It's hard to explain. Makes quite some noise and is terribly unnerving to other people but it stops me from mutilating my fingernails.

    But again, the entire thing is just a symptom. I guess everyone in this thread is a little crazy.

    Yeah, I do this too. I suppose this means I didn't manage to kick the habit so much as just redirect it onto something slightly less disgusting. Keeping them short also seems to help with this.

    Bionic Monkey on
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  • UberFlopUberFlop Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    A bit different than most of the suggestions here, but I stopped biting my nails by eating dry pasta. It's quite odd, but every time I thought about chewing my nails, I would eat a couple of strands of dry spaghetti or angel hair pasta, and either the urge would pass or my teeth would start to hurt so much from cracking into that much dry pasta that the thought of biting my nails didn't seem that appealing. Again, it's a different approach, but it worked for me.

    UberFlop on
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  • Conroy BumpasConroy Bumpas Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    yeah the fuuny tasting nail stuff is a waste of time. it would probubly only work on a animal


    i still bight my nails. but not down to the bone (obouse hyperbly)

    i kinda lerned to manacure (sort of), once a day. scrape the crap out. push back the cutals and give them a tiny trim.

    this makes them look better, cos bitten nails look night of the living dead. and makes them too short to bight without bleeding or giving myself a whitlow (or whatever that septic things called)


    chewing helps but i cant do that in my job,

    Conroy Bumpas on
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  • AlyceInWonderlandAlyceInWonderland Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Oh boy. I've been biting my nails since before I can remember (to the point where they're so low, that they don't even bleed anymore.) It's not even a nervous habit, because I picked it up from my parents who both bite their nails. I've stopped about....3 times in my life out of sheer willpower (and gum), but every SINGLE time, i'd see a hang nail, bite it off, and oooh shit, no more nails again.

    What worked for me originally was chewing gum. A LOT. Come to think of it, I should start chewing gum again, and actually start carrying around clippers with me.

    AlyceInWonderland on
  • TenaciousGGTenaciousGG Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    I think you should get a manicure. They do manicures for guys, and they can make your nails look so nice that you won't even want to bite them. It'll cost you maybe $10, but your nails will look so clean and nice that you'll consciously try to keep them nice for as long as possible, which, if you can keep them looking nice on your own afterward, will probably help you kick the habit for good. I know I was an avid nail biter until I got my first manicure, then I was able to stop periodically for a few months at a time, and now I haven't bitten my nails in over 2 years (unless it's an emergency situation where a nail breaks and I don't have a clipper on-hand).

    I actually set goals of getting all my nails a decent length at the same time, after which I'll reward myself with a french manicure. Of course, you'll probably want to keep your nails short as a guy, but this helped motivate me and enabled me to grow my nails out long for the first time in my life.

    TenaciousGG on
  • Lindsay LohanLindsay Lohan Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    I'm on day 3 of not biting (it may be day 5 as I don't think I bit them over the past weekend, but I don't remember). They are starting to look slightly better actually. Should I be doing anything to them to clean them up? I keep seeing that I should do something to the cuticles to make them look cleaner, but what?

    On the manicure idea - I'm actually using that as my reward so I'd kind of hate to do it early. If I get my nails to the point of being able to scratch a back the wife has promised I get a manicure and pedicure - girly prize I know but still looking forward to it.

    Lindsay Lohan on
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