Here at HabitAware, we are big believers in healthy choices. Our smart bracelet, Keen, helps you manage nail biting, hair pulling (trichotillomania), skin picking (dermatillomania), and other unwanted Body Focused Repetitive Behaviors by notifying you of when the (usually) automatic gestures are happening.
Once you’re aware, you can make a new choice, and move your hand away to a different, healthier activity such as a replacement strategy. One of these activities could be EFT, or Emotional Freedom Techniques. Our bloggerverse friend, Angela Agranoff shares her thoughts on how EFT can help prevent nail biting. While Angela’s focus is on nail biting, the tips here can easily help you take control of skin picking, hair pulling and other behaviors.
Thanks, Angela for this quick primer on EFT!
love + awareness,
Aneela and the HabitAware team
Can EFT Help Prevent Nail Biting?
By Angela Agranoff
It is hard to think a lifelong “habit” can simply be redirected by a calming tool.
I write on my blog, My Refreshed Soul, about a journey I am on with my readers to better health and weight loss through EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques). Emotional eating is a repetitive behavior. When one is an emotional eater, the thoughts of eating can be overwhelming and consuming. Writing this post for the HabitAware team has helped me look at any old issues I haven’t addressed, including nail biting.
EFT is a powerful tool that can be used any time, anywhere, to help with negative emotions and repetitive behaviors.
What is EFT?
EFT, also known as tapping, is a gentle and non-invasive way to redirect negative emotions, old memories, or trauma that keep us stuck in old patterns.
It’s these old patterns that can keep us stuck in our repetitive behaviors.
With EFT, we tap on specific points on the body. These are acupuncture points connected to what Chinese medicine calls our body’s meridian. When we tap, it is like emotional acupuncture.
We all have past memories, thoughts, maybe even trauma, that may cause emotional blocks in our bodies. By tapping, signals are sent to the brain to give a calming feeling and take us out of our “fight or flight” mode.
Old thoughts can be repetitive behaviors, even self-destructive thoughts, that aren’t serving us. When we use tapping, our emotions are redirected, and we can create new thoughts.
EFT and Tapping Basics
EFT for Nail Biting and Anxiety
Nail biting is a common distraction when it comes to soothing anxiety. In order to understand what the triggers are when you begin to bite your nails, think about what you were doing at the time you started.
· What thoughts did you have?
· Where were you sitting?
· What were you working on?
When you have a clearer idea of the anxiety that causes the impulse to bite your nails, you will be able to create a new plan to change that old habit.
Stop Your Nail Biting Behavior
I can completely empathize with the habit of biting nails. I can’t remember when I started biting my nails; I’m sure pretty young. It was probably a distraction or a comfort from stress.
Along with having tools handy like nail polish and a nail file to keep my nails in healthy condition, I can use tapping to calm any stress and redirect my thoughts.
There are many great tools to help with curbing the desire to bite nails and increasing your awareness, including:
· Being conscious of your hands’ location with HabitAware’s Keen bracelet
· Keeping nails filed and painted
· Using these Emotional Freedom Technique anytime
Using EFT can help get to the issue and uncover the causes of anxiety that fuel the habit. Tapping can also become another tool in your toolkit of replacement strategies for nail biting.
After you have become familiar with the routine of tapping, following the scripts below will help you uncover why you bite your nails and how you can create a new habit that will keep your nails strong and beautiful!
EFT / Tapping Scripts
Your starting point is to create a statement that embraces what your struggle, negative emotion, or anxiety is.
· Think of a time when you were triggered and started biting your nails.
· Feel the emotions and see the situation in your mind very clearly.
· With this picture in your mind, you’re ready to tap and release this memory.
· Using this memory, we will come up with a statement that will be repeated three times on the first tapping point.
· Gently tap on each point with the tips of your fingers.
· There is no wrong way to do it.
· Don’t worry about your setup statement being perfect.
· Rate your emotions before and after each round using the scale above of 0-10
Tapping for Nail Biting
Get a visual picture in your mind of the last time you were biting your nails. What were you thinking and feeling if you can remember?
0 = I have control of my nail biting
10 = I can’t stop biting my nails and control it
The Karate Chop Point Statements:
“Even though I enjoy biting my nails, I deeply love and accept myself.”
“Even though I don’t know how I will break this habit, I deeply love and accept myself.”
“Even though it feels hopeless that I will ever stop biting my nails, I deeply love and accept myself and who I am.”
ROUND 1 Statements:
Eyebrow: It is unreal how long I have been doing this
Side of Eye: I can’t believe I don’t use self control
Under Eye: I wish I understood the thoughts that go through my mind
Under Nose: When I want to bite my nails
Chin: It is embarrassing to have my nails look like an animal chewed on them
Collar Bone: It seems like something so easy to quit doing
Under arm: But I feel like I can’t stop
ROUND 2 Statements:
Eyebrow: I would love to be more aware of my hands
Side of Eye: So I could tell myself to stop biting
Under Eye: I want to discern why I bite my nails
Under Nose: To understand the reasons that I want to do this habit
Chin: Then create a new way of thinking and handling the stress
Collar Bone: Being able to handle the anxiety
Under Arm: Handling the stress and anxious thoughts in a new way
Top of Head: By addressing my thoughts and being more aware, I can heal.
ROUND 3 Statements:
Eye Brow: This tapping seems to be calming
Side of Eye: It feels good to talk about my thoughts while I tap
Under Eye: I could tap instead of biting my nails
Under Nose: It feels good to see a new way of dealing with stress
Chin: A calming way to work through anxiety
Collar Bone: A non-destructive way to work through difficult thoughts
Under Arm: I feel empowered and am looking forward to pretty, healthy nails
Top of Head: I’m excited about a healthy new habit!
– Take a deep breath.
– Check your rating again. Where are you on the 0-10 scale?
– Think about the feeling you had before you tapped, maybe the stress that triggered your nail biting.
– Do you feel more hopeful or are you still feeling doubtful about changing? If your number hasn’t changed, or only went down a couple numbers, do another round. You can change the words, and check your rating again.
– You can continue rounds until you feel this isn’t an issue for you anymore. This may take some time, so don’t get discouraged if it isn’t completely addressed in one sitting.
The key is to be consistent, and keep tapping!
~ Coach Angela