Learning to manage a body-focused repetitive behavior helps you develop skills that transcend just your trichotillomania, dermatillomania, or onychophagia.
Living with a body-focused repetitive behavior can feel limiting at times, but it can truly be a beautiful journey. By learning to manage your behavior, you can develop an array of valuable skills that will benefit your life and mental well-being. Today, let's explore some ways that managing your body-focused repetitive behavior can lead you to grow and improve in other areas of your life.
Awareness of Mental Health
Managing a body-focused repetitive behavior requires a heightened awareness of your mental health. This can help you understand your emotional state and identify when you're feeling anxious or stressed. By learning to objectively look at your thoughts and emotions, like you would objectively look at your BFRB urges, you're more likely to be able to ride emotions like waves, and use them as information, instead of letting them inform your perspective more than is helpful.
Boundaries are essential for maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and learning to manage body-focused repetitive behaviors will likely involve setting boundaries for yourself. This can mean establishing specific spaces or activities where you know you're less likely to engage in the behavior, as well as learning to say "no" to things that may cause unnecessary strain on your mental health. Boundaries help us maintain healthy relationships with loved ones and prevent us from overworking ourselves.
Creating Healthier Self-Soothing Skills and Knowing When to Use Them
Body-focused repetitive behaviors can be thought of as a kind coping mechanisms, helping you to center yourself, so learning to manage them means finding alternative ways to self-soothe. By developing healthier coping strategies, such as deep breathing exercises, mindfulness practices, or engaging in a creative hobby, you'll be able to redirect your energy and reduce the frequency of these behaviors. Everyone needs to self-soothe, because we all encounter uncomfortable situations at some points in our lives. When we have healthy skills to self-soothe, it becomes so much easier to tackle these difficulties.
Reacting in Healthier Ways to Stressors
Learning to manage a body-focused repetitive behavior can help you adopt healthier responses to stress. Rather than resorting to your repetitive behaviors, you'll be more likely to practice healthier coping strategies when you're faced with difficult situations. This can lead to improved stress management and mental resilience.
Time Management Skills
Managing your body-focused repetitive behavior often requires developing time management skills. BFRBs tend to eat up a lot of our time. When we can lessen the time we spend picking at our skin, pulling our hair, or biting our nails, it gives us more space to spend time in ways that we WANT to. Like trying new recipes, picking up an old hobby, or spending time with loved ones.
Embrace the Journey of Self-Improvement
Your body-focused repetitive behavior is a reflection of your mental health. When you develop a greater understanding of your mental health, you in turn develop more control of your emotions and can lead a better life.
Ultimately, there's much good to be found in learning to manage a body-focused repetitive behavior. By cultivating awareness and developing valuable life skills, you're not only improving your mental health but also paving the way for a more balanced, fulfilling life.
Header photo by Tyler Nix