A Study Found a Simple Trick to Help You Stop Biting Your Nails
Up to 30% of people bite their nails, but a new study figured out a simple hack that can help you stop. Try replacing the habit by gently stroking your forearm instead. (???)
It’s a form of “habit replacement,” where you swap in something self-soothing for something that’s self-harming. And the key is it still involves your hands.
Researchers had over 150 nail-biters do it for six weeks, and over half said it helped. By the end, 54% weren’t biting their nails as much.
When you’ve been a nail-biter for years, doing it can give you a hit of dopamine, because you actually enjoy it in a weird way. So one reason the technique works is it gives you a similar dopamine hit.
Here are a few different variations you can try, and how to do them . . .
1. Lightly stroke your forearm with your fingertips. Don’t scratch, just gently run them up and down your forearm, or in circles. If you have hairy arms, you might not even need to touch your skin.
2. Rub the tips of your first two fingers against the tip of your thumb, like you’re wadding up a tiny paper ball. (Or a booger.) Again, do it as lightly as you can.
3. Use the tips of your fingers on one hand to make circles in the palm of your other hand.
4. Lightly wrap the fingers on one hand around the thumb of your other hand, and slowly move your thumb in and out. (That one feels oddly R-rated.)
5. Lightly brush the fingers on one hand across the knuckles on your other hand.
They say it’s best to choose one or two of those, and do them regularly until they become a habit. If you do them all and interchange a lot, it might not work as well.