5 Psychological Reasons Behind Nail Biting

Psychological Reasons Behind Nail Biting

It was found that the candidates who were nail-biters felt a strong urge to bite their nails, whenever they were faced with difficult, stressful, and frustrating scenarios. They also felt bored which ended up with them biting their nails, whenever they were left alone for a few minutes with nothing to do. Researchers believe that people who identify as perfectionists find it hard to relax more and find it challenging to do their work at a normal speed, compared to people who are not perfectionists.

As a result of which, they are more likely to get more dissatisfied and frustrated about everything around them, whenever they feel like they are not living up to their true potential and are not reaching their goals. In order to deal with all these troubling thoughts and the mounting stress in their minds, they resort to nail-biting.

Related: How to Stop Perfectionism From Controlling Your Life

4. Compulsive behavior that helps to deal with stress.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) can also be a major reason behind nail-biting tendencies. Come to think of it, it actually makes a lot of sense, doesn’t it? Nail-biting is kind of a compulsive habit and a way of “relieving stress”, right? Do you feel this really strong compulsion to bite your nails, even though it is causing damage?

Biting your nails is simply a routine thing to do when you want to let go of all the stress that is plaguing you, and trying to feel better about whatever it is that is bothering you. Doing this routine, and indulging in this compulsive habit may make you feel like you are dealing with the situation in a much better way, and this is the only way you can feel relaxed.

Just like every other compulsive behavior originates from a place of fear, stress, and anxiety, nail-biting is also the same. Even though it doesn’t help in making any stressful situation better, you might temporarily feel that it is.

Want to know more about nail-biting and how you can stop doing it? Check this video out below!

5. Oral dependency might be the secret behind nail biting.

Sigmund Freud had famously said that the habit of nail-biting can be associated with over-stimulation during a child’s breastfeeding phase. He believed that mothers who overly nursed their babies unknowingly created oral-dependent or oral-fixated adults. Even though there is no solid theory to back up this claim, if you come to think of it, babies are notorious for putting everything they come across in their mouths.

So maybe, this habit has not entirely changed even after someone steps into adulthood. This oral fixation stays the same, only the way of going about it is different.

Related: Top 10 Bad Habits You Need To Stay Away From

5 Things You Can Do To Stop Nail Biting

1. Know what your triggers are.

The very first thing you need to do to stop your nail biting is identifying and acknowledging the triggers behind it. Be cautious and notice when you are actually biting your nails, and which situations are causing you to repeatedly indulge in this. Are you bored, or anxious and is that causing you to bite your nails? Or are you emotionally stressed out in any way and in order to cope with such a situation, you are biting your nails?

It’s very important to know the triggers that are pushing you towards nail-biting, and the moment you do that, the rest of the process gets easier. You can modify your surroundings to make it harder and more challenging for you to keep on biting your nails.

For example, if you find yourself biting your nails when you are with certain people, then maybe you shouldn’t hang out with them as much, because being with them is making you emotionally distressed. Or, if you are uncomfortable doing something and that’s causing you to bite your nails, then maybe it’s a better option to not do that.

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