Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Bad Habits Die Hard

Several weeks ago, I decided that enough was enough: it was time to stop biting and picking my fingernails. I knew it was unlikely that I'd be able to do it cold turkey, so I did a bit of research online to see what others were saying about stopping the bad fingernail biting habit.

Most of what I found seemed to suggest putting foul tasting stuff on the fingernails, but I didn't want to have awful tasting food. The one really good tip, however, was to put moisturizer on the areas around the nails. Since that was the area that I bit the most frequently, it helps not having dry, itchy, pick-able skin.

The other thing I am trying, which I didn't really see suggested anywhere, is to find something else to do with your hands. When I find that I am putting my fingers near my mouth, I grab a squishy-ball and play with that absentmindedly instead of absentmindedly biting at my fingernails.

Also, being aware of when I am most likely to bite at my nails helped me devise good strategies to prevent it. For me, TV/movie watching tends to be a key time, so I try to keep things in my hands instead. Also, when I am nervous or thoughtful about something. Just being aware of it helps as well. Since I already carry a Swiss Army USB drive (with a file, scissors and knife included), I let my hands play with cleaning and filing the nails.

As I mentioned, it has been several weeks since I've started and I am doing very well. Now, my nails might be getting long enough to actually warrant trimming. At the very least, they are long enough to tap annoyingly on my desk. However, now that they are this long, resisting the temptation to put them in my mouth has become much harder. My fingertips feel a little funny and I definitely notice the nails. So, instead of biting them, I am keeping them busy typing this.

Seems like the urge has passed, so mission accomplished.

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