For most people, the effects of nailbiting are cosmetic: they are left with unattractive nails and bleeding skin. The habit can become destructive – it impairs use of the hands or leads to repeated infections. Nails are full of bacteria from everything you touch such as door handles, toilet flushers and money. When you bite your nails you are putting these germs directly into your body, increasing your risk of infection. The broken skin can lead to infections and repeatedly biting or picking at the nails can permanently deform the nail.
Nail biting is an unconscious habit which people do without noticing. Nail biting, like many habits, can develop as a response to triggers in the environment. It then persists because the brain has learned to associate it as a response to stress. Trying to overcome the habit with willpower alone is likely to fail. This is because the ‘pull’ of the habit is much stronger than your ability to deploy willpower, which is weak.
How can hypnosis help with nail biting?
Help is at hand! Because there are different reasons for nail biting, each person’s hypnotherapy treatment is unique. I use a variety of techniques and methods to retrain your brain to change habits and install new automatic behavioral responses through:
- Habit reversal training – teaching you to recognise what is causing the problem so that it becomes a more conscious habit which can be controlled. When you are aware that you need to bite your nails, you instead make your hand into a tight fist so that you can’t get at their finger nails. The more you practice the less the problem will exist.
- “Do something different” change method. Conditioning your mind so that when you raise your fingers to your mouth, you realise what you’re are doing, and stop biting.
- Aversion therapy – guiding your subconscious mind so that every time you place your fingers in your mouth you will experience an awful taste.
- Teach your brain to change how nail biting affects you. If the negative thought attached to nail biting evokes a powerful feeling I can ‘disconnect’ this feeling from your thought and replace it with a more empowering feeling of gorgeous, healthy, unbitten nails.