Nail-Biting Linked To Perfectionism Backed By Science


Do you have the habit of biting your nails?  If not, do you know someone who does?  Nail-biting, ever since, has always been linked to anxiety and nervousness.  What we don’t know is that it is far from just anxiety.  According to a 2015 study published in the Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, researchers found out that nail-biting can be a hint of perfectionism.

How is nail-biting linked to perfectionism?

“We believe that individuals with these repetitive behaviors may be perfectionistic, meaning that they are unable to relax and to perform tasks at a ‘normal pace’,” said by Dr. Kieron O’ Connor.  She added that people who nail-bite are prone to frustration and impatience when they fail to reach their set-goals.


In addition, researchers at the University of Calgary said that up to 50% of us will chew on our nails at some point of our lives.  The researchers studied 48 people, half of whom were nail-biters.  They asked them to fill out surveys that assessed their organizational behavior and emotional management.  Aside from this, they were also exposed and brought to situations which tested their feelings of stress and boredom.

In the results given, nail-biters were closely linked to being perfectionists. This is so because from the observation, nail-biters were more likely to feel restless and bored when they didn’t have anything to do.  Aside from that, they were more likely to make detailed plans and be workaholics who always loves to meddle with something – the nail-biting helped them cope with their inactivity.


In addition to the not-so-good trait of being a perfectionist, there is another downside of having this habit – and it concerns our health.  Experts warn us that these habits can lead to harmful and heavy health consequences, some of which are: colds, toxic poisoning, bacterial infection, fungal growths, and ingrown nails.

In addition to these consequences, biting your nails can also lead to poorly unaligned and weakened teeth, according to WebMD.

So how do you stop nail-biting?

  • Find triggers. One of the more effective ways of stopping this habit is to find what triggers it.  Try and notice what you feel when you are about to do it.  Once you find this out, try and find other things to do instead of biting your nails.
  • Cut them short.  If they aren’t short enough yet, cut them short so you would have a hard time reaching your nails whenever you think about doing it.
  • Make your hands and mouth busy.  Find something to play with; chew gum, carry a Rubik’s cube and whatsoever.

If you see yourself questioning your personality, browse this post and think about the habits you are doing.  If you know someone, tell them what this means and what it can do to their health.  It can affect you both emotionally and physically.  Stop nail-biting now to stay good-looking and healthy.


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