Breaking Bad Habits


Virginia Feagans, Editor

If you are anything like me, you might struggle with certain bad habits that you would like to break. I have very recently started breaking my habit of nail-biting, something that has plagued me since Lower School. I will be going over tips and strategies for breaking such habits, and I hope you will find them helpful! 

Identify the Cause: The first step to breaking any bad habit is discovering the reason behind the behavior. There can be a wide range of causes, but I have noticed that the number one for me is stress. Once you figure out what is driving you toward the behavior, you can fix it. For example, if you only bite your nails when you are stressed, start trying to eliminate the stressors. Start school work and projects earlier to avoid any last-minute anxiety. If it is caused by testing, start studying earlier to make sure you feel confident and stress-free! Sometimes, the stress can even be caused by overextending yourself, so if you notice this, be sure to take a break. Remember, if you don’t take a break, your body will force you to.

Nail Biting: One thing I have found to be very helpful in stopping nail biting is painting my nails. When I am wearing nail polish, particularly a color I like, I do not continuously chew on my nails. It has been instrumental in breaking my habit. Another strategy is applying fake nails. They are way more solid and hard to break, not to mention more expensive, so nail-biting becomes much less appealing. If nail polish/artificial nails don’t work for you, try wearing anti-bite clear polish. These polishes have a very bitter taste that deters the wearer from making any type of contact with their taste buds, therefore keeping you from putting your hands near your mouth. 

Nail Picking: Along the same vein as nail biting, nail picking is a habit that many people find very difficult to break. One method is buying nail polish that causes nails to be stronger and harder to break. If you cannot break the nail off, you will soon start to stop picking altogether. Another way would be to wear your nails short. If you do not have long nails to pick at, it stops the problem at its source. 

Teeth Grinding: Another bad habit that is often hard to break is teeth grinding. This is bad–not just for your teeth, but for your jaw as well–so the sooner you can stop it, the better. Many people do not even realize they are doing it, as it happens during sleep. One thing that helps is stopping repetitive chewing motions, such as constantly chewing on pen caps or gum while you’re awake. Unfortunately, this is not a fix-it-all solution, and it is always worth talking to your dentist about it; they can give you a mouth guard that prevents it during sleep. 

Not every person is the same, so what works for you might not work for everyone. Regardless, I hope some of these tips are able to help you!