One of the most common reasons why people wish to stop their nail-biting habit is because of the embarrassment. The embarrassment of having these small gross bitten nail stumps.
So what can you do to replace the habit of nail biting and keep your hands busy with something else?
Switch the nail-biting habit with a good habit or fun activity!
I have listed some good alternatives which will help keep your hands full of activity and away from your mouth. Depending on the occasion and situation, some of the alternatives may work out better than others. But what they all have in common though, is that they are small enough to bring along in a handbag or your pocket.
Stress balls are small objects which are normally filled with gel and you hold them in the palm of your hand. They are a good way of diverting focus from nail-biting, releasing stress and at the same time giving your fingers some exercise. Stress balls also have the benefit of boosting blood circulation and can be used as a tool for meditation.
Put your stress ball in your handbag and take it with you. When the urge to bite your nails comes along, just grab it and squeeze your need out!
The stress balls come in different shapes, colors and sizes. And if you do not want to buy one ready-made, you can easily make one yourself! Fill a balloon with corn-starch!
Cheweleries are necklaces made to chew on and a great way to redirect toddlers or teens from biting their nails or skin around the nails. They are even made for adults. These necklaces come in different shapes, colors, sizes and styles. You should always search for products which are made of 100% kid-safe silicone and does not contain any dangerous additives, such as BPA, lead and phthalates.
How long a Chewelry last is individual, it depends on the quality of the necklace and on the need for chewing. It is recommended to do some research on the different alternatives available and to ensure that the one you go for fit the age of the nail-biter. These necklaces vary in hardness levels, texture, length of the stem and more.
Fidget toys are an excellent way to keep you distracted from biting your nails and at the same time acting as stress relievers. They come in a variety of forms such as cubes, pads, pens and spinners. These toys are small, discreet and you can bring them with you anywhere. You should just be aware that some has a buzzing sound which can be disturbing if you are around other people, like in an open office space.
These little things can be addictive, but then again, it is a better and less harmful habit compared to nail biting!
The Rubik’s cube
Who does not remember this classic! The Rubik’s Cube is an excellent thing to make you busy. Rubik’s Cube is a 3-D combination puzzle invented in 1974 and there has since been sold hundreds of millions making it the bestselling toy of all time.
If you want to keep your hands distracted and focused, playing with this cube is an excellent way to do so. It can definitely keep you busy and focused for a long time, there more than 43 quintillion ways to scramble a Rubik’s Cube! It is possible to practice moves and memorize algorithms to solve the cube but it is recommended to not do so and instead let it keep you busy and away from nail biting!
Finger hand puppets
Finger puppets are especially good for kids. They are small puppets or even small hands itself which you put on each of your fingers! They may not be practical, but they are a funny way of keeping your hands distracted, fx. doing the car ride. You can control the puppets with your fingers and they are a great way of playing and interaction for children, keeping them distracted from putting their hands in their mouths. They are sold in a variety of forms and characters.
So when the urge comes to bite those nails, bring out your puppet show!
Distract your hands with a pen or similar
When you are feeling the urge to bite your nails, take a pen or maybe a rubber band and make a good habit out of playing with this in your hand. The things you play with do not have to be anything expensive. A simple pen, a coin to roll between your fingers or maybe a stone can do the trick. Any of these things can easily be carried with you.
Depending on where you are you can choose different things, whatever fits the situation. If you are in the passenger seat of a car you can play around with your keys (do not put them in your mouth!) or a soft stone to stroke your hands with. If you are at work, take a pen and roll it between your fingers. Anything to keep you busy and keep those hands away from your mouth!
One of the simplest methods is to chew bubble gum! When you have a gum with a fresh taste in your mouth you will find it gross to bite your nails. Keep a pack of gum at hands and chew the gum instead, when the urge to bite your nails gets too strong.
Take on a new hobby
If you have time on your hands and find yourself biting your nails when not being busy, a good idea is to take on a new hobby such as drawing, knitting, building model trains, gardening, baking or any activity where you are actively engaging your hands. When you are busy doing something with your hands you will most probably forget about nail-biting and instead focusing on the task you have taken on.
I hope this list has given you some inspiration.
And remember – it’s not important what tool or product you use. The importance is whether it works for you or not.