"Believing You Can" Can Help You Take Control of Hair Pulling, Skin Picking and Nail Biting Disorder

July 22, 2021

One of my favorite quotes is

"Whether you you say you can, or you say you can’t, I believe you."

This quote is all about Mindset: "Do you have a Can, or Can’t Mindset?"

When I say to myself, "I can’t find a fidget, or fidgets don’t work, or I can’t control my hands and the urge is too strong.  I just can’t..."

What I am really saying is "I'm not going to make taking control of my BFRB a priority and find a solution to my problem." 

Which means I'm also saying, "I'm fine with the way thing are," even though I know I'm not fine. 

And you know what?  Our brains like to be right.  When I say I can't, well Ellen, I believe you. I believe that if you say it, it is true.

But is it really?  When you say "I can't," is it really true?

One of my other favorite quotes is:

"Nothing feels as good as my BFRB, except not doing my BFRB."  

How do you feel when you read that? I feel hope.

An insightful woman coined this phrase during a recent support group meeting I lead. A few group members expressed their individual struggles with their Body Focused Repetitive Behaviors (BFRBs). Other group members offered suggestions on healthier coping strategies to stop hair pulling (trichotillomania), stop skin picking (dermatillomania) or stop nail biting - in the moment.

Each suggestion was followed by a declaration “No, that won’t work," "I tried that,” “Oh, I don’t like that...”

Then, my insightful friend gently spoke up,

"I hear you. There is nothing better than doing my BFRB. Nothing feels as satisfying. I too can’t find anything else that satisfies as much as pulling my hair and picking my skin...except not pulling my hair or picking my skin."

She continued,

"I used to be a girl who didn’t like lotion, or fidgets, or hats, or the Keen bracelet. I am a girl who pulls her hair & picks her skin. If I want to take control then I need to become the lotion, fidget, hat, and Keen girl. And once I opened my heart to these new ideas, it allowed me to pause, and then I choose, 'what do I want to do next?'  When I pause and not pull or pick for even 10 minutes, that feeling is so much better than my doing my BFRB."  

And that was that, my new favorite quote! And hopefully soon to be yours too!

"Nothing feels as good as my BFRB, except not doing my BFRB."  

Is it easy to not do our BFRB?  No way. 

But it is doable when you harness the power of Keen awareness to make healthier choices that can feel just as good, because in the end, it will feel so much better. 

How do I know?

Because I've been there. I struggled with Trichotillomania for over four decades.  With awareness of my hands - thank you HabitAware Keen bracelet - and the strength to choose healthier behaviors & self-love, I began to put my hands down, and pause.  The journey of taking control of my BFRB was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.  Actually scratch that. IT IS the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life, so far. Four years ago I found HabitAware Keen and for the last four years I’ve been 95% pull free and 100% shame free! 

Now I know that "Nothing feels better than my BFRB, except:

  • feeling confident in my own skin.
  • knowing I have self-regulation strategies to practice.
  • knowing I can do hard things.
  • feeling proud of my effort.
  • knowing I'm showing my family & how to handle their own discomfort more healthily.

So today I ask you, to complete your sentence: "Nothing feels better than my BFRB, except ______________"

And when you think, "I can't..." ask instead, "What CAN I do?"

If you don't know how to answer either of these questions, we can teach you!

By Ellen Crupi, HabitAware Director of Awareness 

Image courtesy of Littleforestowl / Unsplash 


Also in HabitAware Blog: Soul Fuel

Summary of our BFRB Awareness Week 2022 Events
Summary of our BFRB Awareness Week 2022 Events

October 12, 2022

What an amazing BFRB Awareness Week we had this year! We reached 37,000+ people through our posts, events, and videos, definitely meeting our goal of spreading awareness.

Thank you to all those who joined our conversations and helped us cultivate understanding and empathy this week. Also a big thank you to all of the advocates who were featured in our events this week!

Check out the Catalogue of Events.

Read More

Conquering with Keen: How Being “HabitAware” freed me from Trichotillomania - By Madeline
Conquering with Keen: How Being “HabitAware” freed me from Trichotillomania - By Madeline

September 06, 2022

I’m Madeline, I’m 20 years old, I live in Maryland, and I’m a junior at the University of Maryland. I have Trichotillomania, pick my nails and the surrounding skin, plus I bite my lips and inside of my cheeks. I guess you could say I have several BFRBs, but the one that bothers me the most is hair pulling.

Read More

Conquering with Keen: Dana Goes From
Conquering with Keen: Dana Goes From "Helpless Bystander" to Trichotillomania Recovery

August 30, 2022

Read More

HabitAware Keen Sizing Guide

Not sure which size is right for you?

It's important that Keen has a snug fit on your wrist. Here's a quick guide to help you decide which bracelet size to order:


Sporty Keen (original)