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People With The Habit Of Nail-Biting Or Skin-Picking Are Perfectionists, Study Finds

People With The Habit Of Nail-Biting Or Skin-Picking Are Perfectionists, Study Finds

Perfectionism is one of the world’s most prevalent diseases in modern society, particularly given the advancements of social media and a rapidly increasing average workload and stress level on most individuals. However, if you’re concerned that you might be a perfectionist, then checking out several notable habits might be suitably indicative, namely biting your nails or picking at your skin.

For as long as the idea of perfectionism has been around, certain behavioural ticks, habits, and behaviours have been associated with the stereotypical image of the perfectionist – the high maintenance, the Type-A, the highly-strung. However, while the stereotype has long since become part of the modern day society’s pressures, the associative behaviours remain.

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Research conducted by the University of Montreal has found that people who have the typically nervous habits of biting their nails or picking at their skin, usually around their nails, are more likely to exhibit and report behaviours, traits, and attitudes consistent with perfectionism. They found that people who are generally impatient, or who get bored or frustrated easily, are more likely to engage in these behaviours; said behaviours and traits are believed to be rooted within the feelings of restlessness and anxiety that are so often associated with perfectionism, with the need to adjust and repeat an action until a perceived notion of ‘perfection’ is achieved in the mind of the sufferer.

This comorbidity between perfectionism and these almost self-mutilating, if extremely minor, behaviours has been previously documented in pre-existing research. Dr. Kieron O’Connor, Professor of Psychiatry at the university and the study’s lead author commented on the research’s findings: “We believe that individuals with these repetitive behaviors may be perfectionist, meaning that they are unable to relax and to perform task at a ‘normal’ pace. They are therefore prone to frustration, impatience, and dissatisfaction when they do not reach their goals. They also experience greater levels of boredom.”

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These ‘perfectionist’ behaviours, such as biting your nails when you’re stuck waiting or in a tediously boring position, can even sometimes have a positive effect; “The positive effects of the habits are stimulation and a way of regulating emotion,” O’Connor discussed with The Huffington Post. “What triggers the habit is largely frustration and impatience so the action substitutes for more constructive action.” However, in the long term, these behaviours can cause more harm than good.

Treatment for these conditions is being developed – one is a treatment of behavioural modification that involves replacing said habit (such as biting your nails or picking at your skin) with an equal, less self-injuring action. Another possible avenue of interest seems akin to cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT); investigating the root cause of what factors cause the tension that lead to the behaviours, and aiming to challenge and defeat of the behaviours.

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O’Connor seems particularly interested in the latter approach: “We look at all the thoughts and behaviors present in situations at high risk for the habit and change them through cognitive therapy to more resemble the thoughts and behaviors in low risk situations,” O’Connor told HuffPost. “We do not address the habit directly so the person does not need to learn a competing response to replace the habit.”

Perfectionists face more than the social associations of their condition – the wider world might seem them as the high-maintenance divas of the world, never satisfied and never willing to let anything go until it’s perfect to a point. However, those suffering with anxious and perfectionist tendencies know that the associated behaviours and habits, however minor, are still irritating and infuriating; any avenues of help that can be given to them should be wholeheartedly and thoroughly encouraged.

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/03/13/nail-biting-nervous-habits_n_6854152.html?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000063

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Chris Haigh

Writer, baker, co-host of "Good Evening Podcast" and "North By Nerdwest".

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

    More Tips on Getting in Shape

    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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