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Why Biting Nails Can Seriously Harm Your Health

Why Biting Nails Can Seriously Harm Your Health

First of all, I sincerely apologize to my nail biting readers for being a spoilsport, but there is nothing I can do about it. This article will only show you all the cons of this horrible habit of yours, because there are no pros that I can find, or science can find.

The medical term for nail biting is onychophagia. According to psychiatrists, this is categorized under an impulsive control disorder where you can’t control the urge to resist a temptation, urge, or impulse that may lead to harm you in some way. Psychiatrists also believe that this is an act of obsessive compulsive disorder. Anyone can bite their nails. It is believed that 45% of teenagers tend to do this. At times this will roll over into adulthood and become a lifelong habit. There are even extreme cases where professional help is required.

Nail biting usually occurs when a person is suffering from stress, anxiety, or nervousness. Such feelings trigger the person to automatically chew on the nails to attain calmness. Now, is it the only way to calm yourself, or is their any alternative solutions? Of course there are. And before we answer that, here are the horrifying facts that will explain why you should stop biting your nails.

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1. Your nails are full of germs.

No matter how many times you wash your hands, germs will still live under your fingernails. Because among all other body parts, your hands, meaning your fingers which have nails, come into contact with surfaces of all types. The thing is, your fingers may stay clean, but your nails aren’t. So when you are biting your nails, you are also biting on the earthly bacteria, germs, yeast, etc. Yum!

2. You are transferring the bacteria into your mouth.

So what happens after chewing on your delicious germs and bacteria? You are carting them from your nails to your mouth. Once they are inside your mouth, they will eventually enter your digestive system. In 2007, a group of Turkish scientists experimented on 59 people, combined of nail biters and non-nail biters, to see whether they transport bacteria to the mouth. After swabbing each person’s saliva, the results were quite alarming. 76% actually transported E. coli, and similar germs, compared to 26.5% of non biters. E.coli is responsible for diarrhea and vomiting.

3. In extreme case, you can end up with oral STIs.

It is not only commuting E.coli and other bacteria, in extreme cases, you may end up with oral STIs. If you are a nail biter, and one fine day you notice herpes, or blisters on your lips, don’t fret. They are the results of your nail bacteria that you have successfully transferred to your mouth.

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4. From bacteria in your mouth to dental damage.

When you are constantly gnawing down your nails, your teeth are clicking together. This results in tooth fracture, tooth chips, and in rare cases, tooth loss.

5. For biters who wear braces, brace yourself!

Those of you who wear braces, you are risking yourself into tooth resorption, meaning your body cells are reabsorbing its own cells, and tissues. There is also a possibility that your braces might break down which would force you to undergo expensive and potentially painful dental treatment.

6. You’ll end up having stinky breath.

Stinky breath occurs due to bacteria in your mouth and saliva. When you are continuously biting your nails and transferring different bacteria, they are prone to permanently stay inside your mouth. This leads to stinky breath, which, no matter how many times you wash your mouth with fresheners, the foul breath will never go away.

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7. You may have pus in your fingernails.

What happens when you bite your nails? You leave the nail bed exposed. Bacteria, such as Staphylococcus aureus, can enter the open pores and build pus around the nails, causing nail abnormality. This pus is a horrible business. It can be cured through pills, or has to be drained out through surgery.

8. Polish your nails, but don’t eat them!

Nails look beautiful with nail polishes. But if you are prone to eat them, then stop using them. Because polishes contain harmful chemicals, and some varnishes contain formaldehyde, the chemical that is used to embalm dead bodies. If this information isn’t enough scary to put you off, then I don’t know what is.

9. In the end, your nails will never grow back to normal.

Nails are formed on nail beds, and never-ending biting will eventually ruin your nail bed. Your once long nails will gradually shorten, and at one point, will no longer grow any further. The nail’s surface will tear off as well, looking awful, and embarrassing for you to publicly show off.

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So, how can you ever stop?

Now, you know what harm you are doing to yourself through this horrendous activity. Previously, I have mentioned that there are solutions to stop biting nails. Well, first of all, try to stay relaxed and avoid too much stress and frustration. If you can’t, or not allowed to, then indulge yourself to physical exercise/activities that releases stress. You can go for manicures. That will make you feel guilty of spoiling your beautifully trimmed, polished nails. Put some nail polish and imagine the harm you are doing by biting into the varnishes.

And if you really want to chew on something then try sugar-free chewing gum. They might help you! Just stay away from biting your beautiful nails because when you do that it shows how anxious you stay all day. In public places with people around, it might not be a pretty sight.

Featured photo credit: PathDoc via shutterstock.com

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Last Updated on September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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