If you’re someone who does nail-biting, then this post might just help you.
Did you know that biting your nails betray secret traits of your personality? Psychology suggests underlying mental anxiety to be the cause of nail-biting. In addition to this, a recent study finds it related to being a perfectionist.
The psychology of nail biting
Psychology terms the habit as Onychophagia. This is generally a by-product of anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Nail biting can arise due to genetic makeup too. As unfair as it sounds, genes do affect our lives; right up to nail-biting. Onychophagia is classified as one of the ‘Body focused repetitive behaviors’(BFRB)
Psychologists say that chronic nail biters feel distressed, anxious, and restless prior to biting their nails. Once they do the deed, they calm down and feel relieved. Almost as if a heavy burden was left their chests. Speaking of repercussions, nail biting can lead to a closet full of problems.
Chronic nail biters have deformed nails, digestive problems, tooth dislocation, and a horde of skin issues. *Gore alert* you see, saliva was meant for food items, not the finger or nails. Let’s say nail-biting is pretty close to eating your fingers, little by little, every day. If these factors don’t apply to you, then you might just be a perfectionist.
Perfectionism and Nail biting
A recent study by Professor Kieron O’Connor found that most who resorted to nail-biting exhibited perfectionistic qualities. Simply put, these people took to nail-biting, when they got bored.
We believe that individuals with these repetitive behaviors maybe perfectionistic, meaning that they are unable to relax and to perform tasks at a ‘normal’ pace. They are therefore prone to frustration, impatience, and dissatisfaction when they do not reach their goals. -Principal investigator and Professor Kieron O’Connor from the University of Montreal.
The what and how of dealing with it
Whether you have anxiety or perfectionistic qualities, nail-biting can be cured. You can visit the nearest psychologist today, to get a full cognitive behavioral therapy(CBT). This is known to work wonders in reversing destructive habits like these. Another option is the ‘Acceptance and commitment Technique’(ACT). This helps reverse and decouple destructive habits minus the discomfort.
On another note, dealing with it is as simple as keeping your mind engaged. In fact, if you’re bored easily,you might just have high intelligence. That probably explains the perfectionism. The best way to keep an intelligent brain occupied is by using engaging activities.
Next time you feel that nail-biting itch creep in, just divert yourself. Get that Jenga puzzle, tackle that obstacle course, or slay Chinese checkers. This way you’ll be on the path, to a healthy lifestyle and most importantly, sparing your nails!
Featured image courtesy: drdanastern.com