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Study: Nail Biters Are Likelier To Be Perfectionists

Nail biting can be a disgusting habit that most nail biters are embarrassed to admit to. Still, the proof is in the nail stubs, and it is one of those terrible practices that can’t be hidden from anyone. The good news is, a recent study has revealed something that nail biters will approve of – and be even make them proud to say they are a nail biter.

As per a 2015 study, it seems that nail biting can be a trait linked to perfectionists. Sounds a bit puzzling, since the nails that people bit on look far from anything close to perfectly manicured ones. Still, the study’s author Dr. Keiron O’Conner offers a pretty viable answer to why a person who bites their nails are most likely to be a perfectionist. As perfectionists are results-driven, they find it hard to relax and are often overworked. O’Conner adds that they are more susceptible to exasperation, dissatisfaction, and annoyance when they cannot achieve their goals. The end result of all these pent up feelings? They take it out on their fingertips.

MSN reported that the study team gathered 48 individuals, with 50 percent of them being avid nail biters. They were asked to fill out a survey that assessed ‘experienced emotions’. They were then placed in settings aimed to bring out certain feelings (i.e. stress, boredom). The end results of this study revealed that perfectionists were likelier to experience restlessness when there was nothing to do; causing them to bite their nails to release this overwhelming impatient feeling.

So while this new idea associated with nail biting might make people feel less likely to quit their habit, the truth is, for the sake of your nails, nailbeds, and overall health (nail-biting has been linked to increased sickness … all those germs from your nails entering your mouth … eeewww); nail biters need to look at a way to re-program their thoughts around nail biting.

As O’Conner puts it, a nail biter needs to examine the behaviors and thoughts that occur in high risk circumstances (causing them to gnaw at their nails), and alter them through cognitive therapy, so that they are similar to the behaviors and thoughts that happen when nail biters are in situations that are low risk.

Wise words, that could work – but might not be just that easy.

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