Hello, Nailbiting Fools!I have enjoyed participating in the Quitting Smoking folder, merely as an observer. I'm lucky not to have a nicotine addiction. Having talked to a lot of people trying to smoke and having closely, followed the discussions in that folder, I have some sense of how tough it can be. I cannot loudly enough applaud those Fools who are able to kick the addiction, save the money, and invest in their future health and happiness.NOW...It is time for me to step up into the spotlight and fess up that I have an addiction/habit that it's time for me to break. For something like 25 of my 32 years of life on this planet, I have chewed at my fingernails. (I also have trouble with lip-biting, but that's another issue for another day.) I don't like this habit. I don't think it's good for me. I don't think it's, umm, terribly attractive. And if I champion people who are giving up tobacco then I ought to have the ability, attention, and gumption to quit my own gross habit.In closing......hey..... I'm posting here because I'm looking for your help. Any good strategies? I haven't really chewed a nail in 24 hours (caught myself once or twice and stopped). Anyone else quit this habit, and have ideas? Anyone else a nailbiter that wants to stop?Help me out here, Fools. I think my liver is hurting from fingernail processing. So pitch in ideas, please!Tom Gardner, Fool
Oooops....When I wrote, "Having talked to a lot of people trying to smoke ...."I meant...."Having talked to a lot of people trying to QUIT SMOKING....."Tom
Howdy TomI bit my nails for 23 years and was getting tired of it. I started going to the nail salon and getting manicures and had a set of acrylic nails put on.... it's no fun ruining a good nail-job I paid good money for, so I left them alone. While I wouldn't recommend nail extensions for you (hehe), give your hands some extra attention and get regular manicures. Find a salon in the area and go to the same person, they'll help keep you on track. Make your conscience accountable to them (whether you say so or not) and you'll generate your own bit of peer pressure to accomplish your goal.It's also good to make an effort not to move your hands anywhere near your face. It's hard to do, but try. Pay attention to the triggers that make you bite and substitute another thinking/nerves gesture. You can do it :)Susan
Hi, TomCongratulations on your decision to improve yourself! My sister had the habit of biting her nails and she finally kicked it by wearing a rubberband on her wrist and snapping it whenever she caught herself biting them. Something about negative association.... ;-)Good luck!Madeline
TomSince nailbiting tends to be a subconscious habit, it might help to use some coating on your nails that tastes awful to provide some negative feedback when you do it. I know we use Bitter Apple to train our dogs not to chew things. I am sure that pharmacies probably have something like that for human use to discourage thumbsucking and nailbiting. I know its not as damaging a habit as smoking and hopefully a whole lot easier to break. Good luckElliott
Another thought, which in Tom's case is isn't particularly helpful... Although it was extreme and unavoidable in my case, I had to have my jaw worked on over the last couple years to fix a joint problem. I had to wear splints and then moved on to braces, which completely changed the way my teeth lined up. All the hardware is now gone but right now I couldn't effectively bite my nails or cuticles even if I wanted to. My prime cutting edges no longer line up the way they used to.The only good side-effect of massive dental work I guess. This is the same "good" category as when you have the flu and lose 10 pounds. Not good....but as good as you're gonna get, considering the circumstances.Susan (eternally optimistic)
VW,I confess that I'm unlikely to go to a salon and start manicuring to kick this habit. If I have to, though, I'll experiment with Lee Press-On Nails. ;)What I will do, however, is remind myself NOT to put my hands near my face. I think I recall my mother and grandmothers saying that to me over and again as a child.That will help. Thanks. - Tom
Madeline,Perfect! I've never heard of that one.Starting next Monday, I will be employing the rubber-band-on-the-wrist technique. A few snaps (or a few hundred) and I might be able to kick this. Thank you!Tom
Elliott,Yep, I've heard of bitter-lemon coating for fingernails. I'll find that or bitter apple and apply it. Funny how much we're (or *I'm*) like a dog, ain't it?Tom
Sounds like a lot of Tomfoolery to me. Have you tried having a cigarette?JUST KIDDING, Tom!My second husband was biting his nails at age 36. We analyzed exactly when he was doing all this chomping, and found that it was only when he was thinking. Since that wasn't very often, I just bought him a pair of gloves to wear in the jon. JUST KIDDING AGAIN!!I'm sorry, Tom, but your problem grabs my funny bone somehow. Now I'll never be able to look at your adorable face on CNN on a Tuesday morning, without thinking of it.I can't imagine such a problem, but I will ponder it at great length and see what I can come up with. I DO apologise for seeming to make light of it, and I hope this new folder explodes with solutions for you! Honest!catfyre
<<I confess that I'm unlikely to go to a salon and start manicuring to kick this habit. If I have to, though, I'll experiment with Lee Press-On Nails. ;) >>Heh, can lead a horse to water.....Yes, I know you probably won't do it...but consider the goal: get them looking good by TLC, and you will be less likely to mess with them. You'll see someone *else* pay close attention to them, therefore you will too. If you can at least get rid of all the little edges that make you want to nibble, do it. Those drive me mad. The icky nail polish stuff never deterred me when I was a kid.Susan
What's the difference between a plumber and a pipe fitter?A pipe fitter can bite his nails.Since there is little chance of you becoming a plumber, methinks you might try a little TMFQS magic. List your reasons for Quitting, (I'll bet there are more than most people think), and carry them around with you. I might also suggest toothpicks. Gives you something to chew on!Brian
Catfyre,I'm still laughing! Please do look at me differently on CNN now. Thanks for the jokes. Humor is almost always almost entirely the cure-all.Foolish best wishes,Tom
I accidently put this on the QS board. Oops. Here it is in its rightful place.Tom, I hope we can be of as much help to you as you have been to all of us Quitters. Now you can be a Quitter, too! Just what you always wanted, I am sure of it. I bit my nails as a kid. When I got to highschool I stopped. I started wearing bright purple, blue, and green nail polish. I suppose that's not the look you'd be going for, although it would match you hat. :) Seriously, though, the manicure idea is a good one. I happen to think that men with nicely groomed nails are very attractive. If the idea of going to a salon to have this done bothers you I am sure you could do it yourself without too much trouble. Even though I don't like to wear my nails long or with polish I would find a weekly manicure to be relaxing and luxurious. Good luck to you. Rebecca
<<I happen to think that men with nicely groomed nails are very attractive. If the idea of going to a salon to have this done bothers you I am sure you could do it yourself without too much trouble. Even though I don't like to wear my nails long or with polish I would find a weekly manicure to be relaxingand luxurious.>>See?;)
Good luck, Tom. Thought this might help you... My grand daughter was a thumb sucker...another oral fixation...and my daughter limited the time and location she could do this. Every few days the time was lowered until finally she could only soothe herself for a few minutes a day and only in her room. She finally quit. The doctor said children start these habits because of boredom or to soothe themselves. As they say on the Q.S. board...You can do it...Whatever it takes. Maybe Greg could do a silkquit for you.Barbara
Tom,I just thought of something else. How about a reward system? Put a special mark on your calendar before you go to bed each night if you have gotten through the day without biting your nails. After a week treat yourself to something special. After a couple of weeks your nails may be so long that you decide to go and have that manicure. :)Rebecca
Tom,Nailbiting - ah what fond memories - my mother painting my fingers with some foul tasting stuff (castor oil?), her putting mittens on me, getting my hand slapped, I could go on forever.I was a nail biter for most of my childhood and as a teenages as well. I stopped biting my nails when I graduated high school (I was speaking and wantd to make a good impression), but since that was sooooooo long ago, I can not remember how I did it! LOLSeriously though, you need to set up something to remind yourself not to chew (I bet you do bite with out a conscious decision to do so!). Maybe a rubber band around your wrist, or put your watch on the "wrong" arm, or something?Good luck with this! If we can stop smoking, you can quit biting!Joyce (the smober one and former nail biter)
Tom,Long time lurker on several boards, infrequent poster, have you as a Favorite Fool. Enjoy your writing and attitude. Plus, you employed my brother (TMF Wizard) which indirectly introduced me to the stock market. So I figure the least I can do is offer a couple of ideas in response to your courageous call for help. :-)More than anything, I think the solution to the problem comes down to "consciousness." From your posts I know you're interested in meditation. One of the benefits I've found with meditation (and yoga) is a calming and slowing of the usually frenzied modern day mind. This allows for greater consciousness or being "in the moment." As others have noted, nail biting is likely an unconscious act for you at this point. What if you tried linking some of the techniques from meditation (e.g. focusing on your breath) for very short periods during the day as a way to increase "consciousness"? Like the smoker who starts counting minutes, then quarter hours, then hours, then days, the cumulative effects of little bouts of consciousness can be powerful.I used this technique with yoga. I could never seem to make time for 45 minutes of stretching and breathing. So I started with literally 2-3 minutes. I did the Salute to the Sun routine in the morning. After a week, it was making such a difference in the way I felt in the first hours of the day that I added the same routine before I went to bed at night. Each morning and evening I found I could stretch a bit farther and the effects of the stretching would last a bit longer. It became a positive feedback loop. Eventually, I'd sneak one in by closing my door during my lunch hour or during a trip to the bathroom!My other suggestion is to carry a small set of nail clippers in your pocket. You'll feel the weight when you walk around, you'll likely feel it against your leg when you sit down, and you'll feel it against your hand when you've got your hand in your pocket. All consciousness-increasers!If you notice a nail that you want to trim/bite, or catch yourself biting a nail, you can take out the clipper and make a "conscious" decision about whether you really want to trim the nail then and there or not.I've gone on longer than I expected, but I hope there's something here you can try.You've made the first step, the mental decision to stop. Now, it's mind over matter.Good luck!Michael
Tom,Another thought along those lines - in my yoga class we set our intention for each class. Setting your intention for quitting - and remembering it - may help. Also, if you really think about everything your hands (and fingernails ) encounter, you will be grossed out enough to never put them in your mouth again. The bacteria on doorknobs along is staggering.Good luck!Jenniferp.s. I've written People about your not being on the cover. I'm sure there will be a correction in the next issue :).
I'm posting here because I'm looking for your help. Any good strategies? I haven't really chewed a nail in 24 hours (caught myself once or twice and stopped). Anyone else quit this habit, and have ideas? Anyone else a nailbiter that wants to stop?I have chewed my nails forever, and that is a long time (64 years). I seem to do it more when I am anxious than at other times.I am now in a "support group" for it. An informal one. I have a girlfriend who is almost 6 years old, and she bites her fingernails and toenails, to her parents' distress. So she and I have agreed to quit. We check how each other is doing. So far I am better at this than she is. What I do is trim them every other day. I have gone about 3 weeks now without biting them. I have to be really careful, because I think if I were to bite them, I would be letting her down, and she is too precious to me to do that. Hers are still so short that they must hurt her. She said some pain is good pain. I cannot believe someone not yet six can be that wise. But I am not sure fingernail biting pain is a good one.
Since nailbiting tends to be a subconscious habit, it might help to use some coating on your nails that tastes awful to provide some negative feedback when you do it. I know we use Bitter Apple to train our dogs not to chew things. I am sure that pharmacies probably have something like that for human use to discourage thumbsucking and nailbiting. I know its not as damaging a habit as smoking and hopefully a whole lot easier to break.My parents tried that on me when I was a kid. It had a lot of cayenne pepper in it. I think it was called Thum. But it did not work. I did not mind the taste (and like stuff like After Death and Dave's Gourmet Insanity sauces to this day), but it hurt a hell of a lot when I stuck my fingers in my eyes.My little friend's parents have tried some stuff on her fingernails, but it does not work either. I do not know what is in it.
What I do is trim them every other day. I have gone about 3 weeks now without biting them.Good for you - one step at a time. I've managed since June to have 10 complete nails. I usually dread clipping them. A ragged edge would be so tempting. DW keeps asking me how I stopped, I still don't know.Hers are still so short that they must hurt her.Having been a chewer since having nails and stopping at 42 - I can tell you mine were so short, nobody could understand how they didn't hurt me. As I let them grow, I find they can't hurt back if not trimmed - kinda like payback. Chewing was easier than trimming/filing.Odee
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