Nail Biting: Let hypnosis Lend A Hand For Quitting
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Nail Biting: Let hypnosis Lend A Hand For Quitting

By Alan B. Densky, CH

If you have ever tried to curb your nail biting habit, you know just how difficult it can be. Perhaps you have worn gloves or bandages over your fingertips, or flavored nail polish. Likely they worked for a short time, but ultimately you found yourself with ragged nails and bloody cuticles again.

The reason that a topical nail biting cure is unlikely to be successful makes sense when the cause of the behavior is examined. The nail biting habit is chronic and very similar in nature to other stress-related patterns, such as skin picking and hair pulling. Fundamentally, these behaviors satisfy an innate urge; thus if the urge is not satiated or eliminated, the behavior will resume. No amount of bitter nail polish will curb the need for nail biting or bring about the sense of relaxation you feel after gnawing on your nails.

In that vein, a person cannot actually cure nail biting, but do not despair: Fortunately, time-tested therapies that can aid in recovery are available. There is a three-step plan that can effectively stop nail biting if you are motivated to do so.  The fundamental step involves hypnosis.

For the uninitiated, hypnosis conjures images of people watching swinging pendulums or barking on stage for others' entertainment. Rest assured that at its root, hypnosis is simply deep relaxation in a trance-like state. Many people mistakenly believe that hypnotic trances are like sleep, but you are awake and fully conscious, simply more relaxed and open to suggestion.

In fact, most of us experience some form of self-hypnosis every day, during times when we tune out most of the distractions around us to focus on a certain task while remaining fully conscious. It happens effortlessly while we read, watch television or daydream.

Because nail biting is stress related, the more effectively you can release and work through tension and anxiety, the more successful your efforts to stop nail biting will be. The primary goal of hypnotherapy is to teach you how to maintain a state of relaxation at all times.

You are encouraged to investigate several different hypnosis methods, such as traditional hypnosis, Ericksonian hypnosis and Neuro-Linguistic Programming techniques, to enhance both the relaxed state and to achieve a greater sense of well-being. A qualified consulting hypnotist will know which option is ultimately best for you.

The next step to curbing a nail biting habit is to become aware of the behavior since nail biting is done unconsciously. Hypnosis is very helpful for this stage, as communicating with the unconscious mind to trigger the conscious mind's awareness that you are about to bite your nails can help greatly. This allows you to make the choice to bite your nails or not. And since hypnotherapy has all ready helped to relieve the underlying stress, the powerful compulsion to bite your nails has been greatly reduced, or even eliminated.

The final step for using hypnotherapy to quit biting nails is to completely remove the underlying compulsion to bite or chew. There are techniques that can actually program you with a compulsion to eliminate biting your nails; because just as habits can be broken with hypnosis, they can also be introduced.

Hypnosis is effective with curbing behaviors such as biting your nails because, though the session will not miraculously create complete willpower, it can strengthen your resolve and ensure that decisions you make during a relaxed state will still carry over when you are under stress. Further, hypnotherapy can help you communicate with your unconscious mind to get it to align with your conscious mind so both entities work toward your goal.

It should be noted that some prospective hypnosis clients have a fear of having suggestions planted or of remembering "hidden" memories while in a trance. Rest assured that consulting hypnotists are formally trained and accredited and adhere to the strictest ethical and professional guidelines. The methods used by professionals to make beneficial suggestions to your unconscious are entirely different than those used for memory recall or age regression. So the use of hypnotherapy for effectively ending the compulsion to bite your nails will not lead to unintended memories or behaviors.

CONCLUSION: Nail biting is a compulsion like any other, and willpower alone is generally not enough to eliminate the behavior. Using hypnotherapy or hypnosis CD's and all other resources available will more likely lead to a successful, comfortable end to your nail biting. 

© 2007By Alan B. Densky, CH.  This document may NOT be re-printed without permission. All Rights Reserved.  We are happy to syndicate our articles to approved websites.

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