It seems nail biting is becoming increasingly endemic. A few years ago I didn’t know anybody with that habit. Now, I know quite a few people who do it. It is likely you indulge in it too. So, the question is, why do you indulge in your nail biting habit?
It’s possible if that question was posed to a hundred people who nibble on their beautiful fingernails, either consciously or otherwise, you’d get a hundred different answers.
In order words, attempting to understand your nail biting habit could be a futile exercise. Sometimes, you just do it for no reason at all. But the funny part is, you can’t get yourself to stop the habit
There is even a scientific name for your nail biting habit. So if you thought constantly nibbling those gorgeous nails was not a medical or psychological condition, sorry to disappoint you. It is called Onychophagy or Onychophagia.
So there you have it, your nail biting habit you thought was just an innocent pastime actually has a name effectively making it a condition that calls for concern.
This piece is going to look at some at some of the likely reasons you and so many others constantly feed on your nails like rats nibbling on leather.
You are bored or really stressed out
Scientists and studies in various fields of human behavior are of the opinion that your nail biting habit could be the result of being bored or stressed out.
The gist of all that research is that nail biting could be your own way of dealing with boredom. Or perhaps, you are seriously conflicted with so many strings pulling you in different directions with no idea what to do.
To put it another way, when you are doing something interesting (i.e, not bored) you hardly ever bite your nails. Or if you have a resolution to some teething problem bugging you, biting your nails simply stops until the next crisis.
You are choked with nervousness or anxiety
Many people who have a thing for their fingernails would relate to this. For them, one way to deal with nervousness is to go down on their poor nails. And this happens quite a lot.
In extreme cases, even the mere act of watching a kid playing can set them off on their nails. It is an unconscious act and not very pretty to watch.
Your nail biting habit is because you are hardly satisfied
The way this affect your nail biting habit could be a sort of compliment. Being dissatisfied could mean you want things around you to be better. Not necessarily that you want more of things like money.
Perfectionism is the word that gets floated around. Because things are not perfect the way you want them, you resort to biting your nails until that particular issue meets your very high standards.
The trick to stop biting your nails if this is your issue is to always lower your expectations. Though I have to admit that is easier said than done.
But for the sake of your nails, I guess you have to work hard at it.
You are yet to outgrow your teenage age and childhood
Top psychologist insists that your nail biting habit could be the result of pining for some baby or teenage habits. Studies show that more teenagers bite their nails more than kids.
For kids, the predominant habit is thumb-sucking. Since it is not normal for adults or teenagers to suck their thumbs, nail biting becomes an effective substitute.
The studies reveal that kids who sucked their thumbs too much would likely substitute nail biting for it when they grow up. It is all about a bad childhood psychological problem going unchecked
An aggressive behavior
One of the reasons for your nail biting habit could be your aggressive nature. Nail biters are said to be aggressive personalities who are constantly looking for an outlet for their repressed aggression.
Some of the earliest psychologists to study the problem thought it was a form of self-mutilation. A desire to harm yourself. Most likely, this is because you know it is not proper to take out that aggression on other people. So you pick on your poor nails and chew it to bits as a form of release or you’d go bonkers.
Having said all that about your nail biting habit, it is possibly you didn’t feel any empathy for these reasons. Your disconnection is understandable because most people with psychological problems hardly ever agree to the reasons for their problem.
And nail biting is such a benign problem that it is practically harmless, at least in the short run. Perhaps, the following might comfort you about your nail biting habit:
- The real reason for nail biting is hard to figure out
- Some school of thought thinks your nail biting habit is related to obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
- The habit goes back to ancient times, it is not something that started as a result of modernism
- Some of the cures include psychotherapy and learning to fall in love with your fingernails
So, do you know anyone who regularly eats their nails? And if you do it, what prompts it and how do you deal with it? Please use the comment section below to air your views.