Nail-Biters Rejoice: Study Finds a Simple Trick to Kick the Habit
Are you tired of trying everything under the sun to break free from the relentless habit of nail-biting? Many people have struggled with this seemingly unshakable habit, seeking numerous remedies and techniques to no avail. However, hope shines anew as a recent study has unveiled a surprisingly simple trick that may hold the key to finally overcoming nail-biting.
Recently, a study published in JAMA Dermatology has now shed light on a simple yet effective method that could potentially liberate nail biters from this pesky compulsion. Conducted by their team of researchers, the study enlisted 268 participants between the ages of 18 and 80, all experiencing different forms of body-focused repetitive behaviors (BFRB). The diverse group included people who struggle with not only nail-biting but also lip and cheek biting, skin-picking, and trichotillomania (hair-pulling). Split into two distinct groups, the participants were hoping to find an effective solution for their compulsive behaviors.
Tips and tricks to stop nail-biting
Here are a few variations worth exploring, along with the methods to perform them. To begin, consider gently stroking your forearm with your fingertips, ensuring you avoid any scratching and instead, softly glide them up and down your forearm or trace circles. Interestingly, those with hairy arms may not require direct skin contact for this technique to be effective.
Nail-biters can try another approach by rubbing the tips of their first two fingers against the tip of their thumb, replicating the motion of crumpling a tiny paper ball. An alternative method involves using the tips of the fingers, on one hand, to create soothing circles in the palm of the other hand, embracing the calming sensation that arises from this gentle touch.
For those open to a slightly more unconventional technique, try tenderly clasping the fingers on one hand around the thumb of your other hand, and gradually moving your thumb in and out.
Another option is to lightly brush the fingers on one hand across the knuckles on your other hand, imparting a comforting touch that can provide solace during moments of stress or anxiety.
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.
More study findings
According to the study’s findings, one-half of the participants were handed a carefully crafted manual that detailed a habit replacement technique focused on gentle skin-touching. This approach aimed to replace the urge to bite nails with a healthier alternative, ultimately reducing the frequency of the BFRBs. Meanwhile, the other half of the participants were informed that they were placed on a waitlist for a program that would teach them the same method at a later stage.
What caught the researchers’ attention was the success rate among people with nail-biting tendencies. This subgroup demonstrated the highest likelihood of success with the habit replacement technique, revealing a targeted approach to address this specific BFRB.
Following six weeks of dedicated practice, the outcomes were undeniably promising. An impressive 54% of those who diligently adopted the habit replacement technique reported significant improvements in their BFRBs. In contrast, only 20% of the participants in the control group experienced similar progress.
Take a deeper look at the study here.