Health & Well-Being

#ProjectMe – My biggest challenge – nail biting

18th September 2014

I have bitten my nails since before I can remember. The earliest memory I have is being told by my parents that Father Christmas wouldn’t come unless I stopped. It didn’t work. Nobody else in my family bit their nails. I can’t remember back far enough to know if I copied it off someone. What followed was years of being nagged by my mum. That didn’t work either.

But I kept trying. My, did I try. I don’t think there’s anything I haven’t tried.

Wrapping plasters around my nails: didn’t work because my fingers went all soft and puffy.

Applying horrible tasting stuff available in the shops: didn’t work because, believe it or not,  I just got used to the taste. Yuk!

Sheer discipline: Well, that never worked.

Hypnosis worked for a few days until after my second session, which felt like it completely reversed everything that the first session did. Back to square one.

The most success I have probably had is with false nails. My own nails grow underneath. Trouble is, a) I even nibble the falsies, b) because of this the falsies lift quicker around the edges so I start nibbling the nail underneath and c) once the false nails are off I last for a week or two and then I get seriously chomping again.

I have tried all of these things, many times over in different order each time hoping this would be ‘the time’. What I have since learnt, is that none of these things actually addressed or dealt with the habit.

So, 27 days ago, when I searched my Google Play Store, I was actually looking for a kind-of self-hypnosis track that I could download and try out AGAIN.

Instead, I came across a book. It’s called “Stop your Nailbiting! Permanently” and it’s written by Gilbreth Brown. Yes, the title is pretty gimmicky but for less than £3 to download the e-book, what did I have to lose?

I read the whole book in about 2 hours. The more I read the more I started to believe that I could actually do it. In the book the author describes how he has been a prolific nail picker over many many years. He explains why we bite, pick and nibble. He actually discovered that the habit is made up of two stages. The main habit of picking or biting but a very important secondary stage which actually happens before we “tuck” in: the inspection. Inspecting our nails for the tiniest flaw to almost give us a reason to bite.

I had a real “aha!” moment. It certainly applies to me, that I inspect about a second before I start to bite. Knowing this and understanding that nail biting is no more than a bad habit really helped me. For a long time I wondered if I had some sort of psychological problem that I could never beat on my own. And because of this I just had to live with it forever because I could hardly go and see the doctor for that one!?!

He goes on to explain the simple method of re-training your brain to link inspection and biting/picking to something it doesn’t like, ie. pain and a horrible loud noise. So, every time I inspect or nibble, I ping a hairband that I wear constantly around my wrist. I wear it on my left wrist because I’m right-handed and it’s simply easier to ping it with my right hand. It should hurt a little but not enough to leave a mark. At the same time I imagine a horrible noise that I can’t stand. This can be anything you like. I immediately thought of the noise of a train screeching to a hold when I was a little girl. The noise was so unbearable, I had to hold my ears shut.

And here I am 27 days later with not so much as a nibble. My nails have grown evenly, more evenly than ever because I could just leave them alone instead of constantly biting and nibbling and then having to file them here and there…

It’s early days and I shall not take this hairband off my wrist for a long time (I wear it day and night) but I’m over the moon that I have managed to come this far so I just had to share.

What I will say though, if you are thinking of doing this (what do you have to lose??), please get the book. I think you really need to read and understand your habit and learn the details of using this method. I’m not earning money off this post in any way. The guy doesn’t even know I’m writing it! BUT, if this can help just one person in the same boat as me, I’ll be super chuffed! And I would want you to have the best chance of getting it right.

Download the book on Google Play and on Amazon Kindle.

And here is the proof in the pudding! 🙂 Will you give it a go, too? Please, please let me know how you get on and share it with others reading this post! Good luck!! xxx

(I should add that my Day 1 nails are much longer than normal because I had just removed some falsies but managed to stop myself nibbling them all the way down just before reading the book)

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  • Reply Tales of a Twin Mum 18th September 2014 at 10:18

    Brilliant, you’ve inspired me. I’ve been a biter forever despite trying everything too. The only time I ever had lovely nails is when I’m pregnant. As soon as we’re over the stress of moving to Australia I’m going to download the book and get started. I’ll blog it and link back to you! Great post that I’m sure will help lots of people. Xx

    • Reply Kat 18th September 2014 at 10:21

      Aww thanks so much! I wish you huge amounts of luck and willpower! Fingers crossed, we can finally beat this! I will follow your progress xxx

  • Reply Joanne Mallon 18th September 2014 at 20:38

    Wow that’s amazing. I know the book might have helped but the achievement is all yours, well done.

    • Reply Kat 18th September 2014 at 20:49

      Wow thank you! X

  • Reply 10 ways to carve out some Me Time - TalesofaTwinMum 3rd February 2015 at 02:34

    […] I’ve gnawed them so short they actually hurt.  I read this fabulous post about stopping nail biting from Kat at Frau Naish before we moved abroad and I knew that when the time was right I’d […]

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