It seems like such an easy habit to quit, until you try to. Some people have reported having an easier time quitting smoking compared to going cold turkey on their nail-biting habit.
Men who bite their nails usually do it because of anxiety, high stress levels, nervousness or boredom.
What makes it so hard to quit is that the habit has been formed into muscle memory. In other words, your hand, all on its own accord, will lift up towards your mouth before you know what’s happening.
So even when you try to quit cold turkey, your muscle memory betrays you constantly.
Tips To Stop Biting Your Nails For Men
That said, there are solutions that work to help you quit biting your nails. Here are the best ones – how to quit biting your nails for men.
1. Develop An Alternative Coping Mechanism
Watch carefully whenever you automatically start biting your nails. What do you feel in those moments? Are you nervous, anxious or bored?
Nail biting is a coping mechanism for most people. One obvious way to reduce the habit is by introducing another, ideally one that involves your hands to keep them busy.
You can try flicking a pen, repeatedly pressing a stress ball or playing with a fidget spinner. The trick is to re-teach your muscle memory to do something else instead of lifting your fingers to your mouth.
Also, try to develop other general coping mechanisms that address the underlying stress and anxiety. For example, breathing exercises or meditation can help you feel less anxious, thus you’ll bite your nails less often.
2. Regular Manicure
“That nail looks rough, I should smoothen it.” And since your mouth is a readily-available, if terrible, nail clipper, you go ahead and nomnomnom. But that just makes your nails rougher, and encourages you to bite them more. It’s one vicious cycle that ends with horrible looking nails.
One tricks that has worked for many men is going in for regular manicure. With your nails smooth and even, there’s one less temptation to bite them. If anything, you’ll be motivated to keep them neat and clean.
For in-between manicures, carry a nail file with you. Whenever you feel like biting your nails, take out the file and smooth them. Just make sure filing your nails doesn’t turn into another compulsive habit that leaves your nail bed exposed.
Another common technique to stop nail biting is deterrence. The simplest deterrence is wrapping Elastoplast around your fingers.
That way, you cannot even access your nails when the urge hits you. After some time, the muscle memory will fade and you may find you are biting your nails less.
The unpleasant tasting polish will help you break the nail-biting habit.
But this method doesn’t work for everyone. Some men are so deep that they get used to the awful taste of the polish. It may work for a few days, but soon you are back to your nail biting.
4. Chew Gum
Some men bite their nails because they have compulsive oral habits. They like keeping their mouth busy biting their nails.
If you have this same problem, one thing you can try is chewing gum. It’ll keep your mouth busy and save your nails from constant chewing.
- Ask your partner, co-workers or friends and family for support. They’ll snap you out of it whenever you start to bite your nails unconsciously.
- Apply clear polish or gel to your nails. Not wanting to damage your beautiful nails will, hopefully, encourage you to stop biting them.
- One trick recommended by other nail-biters is delayed gratification. It doesn’t stop you from biting nails, but it prevents damage to them. Here’s how it works: you don’t bite your nails until they grow long. Then, you can take pleasure shortening them with your teeth. Use a file afterwards to get a smooth edge.