The date’s going well, and your eyes have been meeting all through dinner, sending out signals that the two of you are clicking, and you’re feeling hopeful. This could be a spectacular evening. But he (or she) is acting a little standoffish, and you’re just not sure why. You reach out for your date’s hand, and see . . .
Ragged, bleeding skin around where the nails should have been. Slightly disgusted, you put your hand back in your pocket, and walk on toward the car. You try to act like it doesn’t really matter, but the image of raw flesh and bloody cuticles makes your stomach turn. Suddenly, the date doesn’t seem to be going as well.
You’re Not Alone
Lots of people have problems with nail biting, picking at scabs, or pulling at their hair. These are all considered by mental health people to be obsessive-compulsive disorders. Each of these seemingly unbreakable habits are downright humiliating at times, especially when people notice the results and call attention to their hands.
(Can you imagine being at a party, and having a friend suddenly shriek, “You’re bleeding! You need a doctor!” Only to have to respond that your hands always look like this because you can’t stop biting your nails? It’s enough to make you wonder what’s wrong with you!
Bad Habits You Don’t Even Realize You Have
Sometimes, people bite their nails almost automatically, without even thinking about it. They do it as a habit while they are watching television or surfing on the web. Other times, people do this deliberately, and will even stop doing other things so that they can stop and bite their nails.
Why do people bite their nails or pick scabs or pull their hair? Because it is somehow satisfying. The urge to do it is almost uncontrollable, and can be enjoyable or even relaxing somehow.
Nail biting can be soothing and relaxing during times of stress or anxiety. Alternatively, when people are bored, this can somehow stimulate the brain to relieve the boredom. This can explain why people who repeat these behaviors continue to do them over and over. It provides an enjoyable, comforting feeling.
If you suffer from a problem like this, don’t despair. You can overcome this problem. First, understand, you aren’t crazy or helpless, and you can control what you do. You just have a very bad habit that needs to be changed.
Breaking the Nail Biting Habit
Even though you can never really say you’re “cured” from biting your nails, you can experience relief. Just get ready and follow this three-step self-hypnosis process. Best of all, you can purchase CDs or DVDs to help you learn this process right in your own home!
First, you have to learn to relax. This can be very easy to say, but difficult to do. Many different approaches can help you to enter a relaxed state and experience a feeling of relief and well-being.
Next, you have to start becoming aware of your habit. Your unconscious mind is responsible for helping you to do this automatically, but you can learn to become consciously aware of the problem so that you can learn to deal with it better.
Finally, self-hypnosis teaches you to become aware of your nail-biting by instructing the unconscious to alert your conscious mind every time your hands are reaching near your mouth. Once you become consciously aware of this, you can make a conscious decision whether or not you will actually bite your nails.
Another way to overcome a nail biting habit is through Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP). NLP experts teach their clients to set up a trigger that will help them stop biting their nails and experience relief from the habit without even becoming aware that they are about to bite their nails.
Practitioners can also help people eliminate the compulsion they feel to bite. Some techniques actually focus on teaching people not to bite. As strange as this may sound, they are very effective and useful.
If you struggle with biting your nails, you are going to have to be realistic about your recovery. First, you’ve been doing this for a long time, repeating the same behaviors over and over for years. It isn’t going to just stop overnight. But progress can be quite rapid when the hypnosis sessions on the CD are listened to on a regular basis.
Just think how wonderful your new manicure will look! And no one will look down at your hands with disgust any more and look down on you! Won’t that be worth it?