Do you bite your nails without realizing it?
Do you constantly notice only the negative side of everything, without acknowledging any positive?
Do you pick scabs, scratch your scalp, play with your rings or necklace, or have any other fidgety habits?
Often these nervous habits begin randomly, but once you get into the habit of constantly performing these behaviors it can be extremely difficult to stop.
(I pick at my nails or hangnails, I scratch my scalp, I peel scabs…)
Have you ever noticed that if you catch yourself doing whatever it is that you do and you make a strong effort to hold back, you start feeling anxious?
These behaviors reduce anxiety. (Go ahead, if you constantly pick at hangnails I dare you to look at one on your finger and leave it alone.)
How do you stop these behaviors? Some nervous habits can be unhealthy. If you bite your nails you may get all sorts of icky germs in your body, if you pick at scabs you are making yourself vulnerable to infections.
I learned in therapy yesterday that you need a behavior or something to replace these bad habits.
Snap a rubber band on your wrist. You’ve heard that one, right? I tried it and it doesn’t work for me.
Wear gloves, that won’t work. I just take them off w/o noticing.
Don’t wear a ring, but you’ll end up playing w your finger instead.
Find an object and keep it in your hand at all times. (At work, driving, sitting around, w/e.)
I have a holiday-themed stress ball (it’s shaped like an Xmas ornament!!) that I hold and squeeze in class or while driving.
I often scratch my scalp in class, alternating hands depending if I’m writing or not.
Whichever hand I’m itching with, I put the ball in that hand and squeeze.
The same works with a stone, roll it around in your hand until it shines or is smooth.
I’m still working on the negative thoughts part. I’ll get back to y’all on that.
But seriously, try this method. It will help. I started only today and saw a huge difference. Seriously. (Operational definition of improvement: my scalp isn’t bleeding today!)