Advertising
Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.”

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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

More by this author

Chris Haigh

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

20 Productive Hobbies That Will Make You Smarter and Happier I Hate My Life: 10 Things You Can Do Now to Stop Hating Life Don’t Panic! 5 Things To Do When You’ve Screwed Up 8 Signs It’s Time To End The Relationship 12 Things Strong, Independent Girls Don’t Do

Trending in Lifestyle

1 15 Simple Ways to Boost Your Emotional Health 2 How to Relieve Stress: 9 Quick Relaxation Techniques 3 5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively 4 15 Brain Foods That Will Super Boost Your Brain Power 5 10 Comics About Periods That Only Women Would Understand

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on December 9, 2019

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

1. Get Rationally Optimistic

Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

Advertising

This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

The result: no more mental stress.

2. Unplug

Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

Advertising

How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

3. Easy on the Caffeine

Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

Advertising

Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

  • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
  • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
  • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

Advertising

5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

The result: mental stress will be gone!

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

More to Help You Feel Relaxed

Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

Read Next