It is believed that nails biting is a habit that someone has when they are nervous, however, recent research can demonstrate something much more striking about who bites their nails, which can even reveal aspects of their personality.
What the habit of biting your nails says about your health
There are many things people can do that have a nervous or anxiety problem, such as walking from side to side, throwing a pencil or biting it, grinding teeth, etc., and among those behaviors you can also find the bad habit of biting your nails, however, this is not the only cause that causes a person to bite their nails.
Recent research has found that it could be more than just an anxious behavior. Biting your nails might say something about your personality . It is still closely associated with nervous behavior. Some psychologists associate it with people who are obsessive compulsive. However, a study published in the Journal of Behavioral Therapy and Experimental Psychology says that stress is not the only thing that can get nervous tics out. It can be the result of someone who is a perfectionist .
A Montreal research team classifies the nail bite as a ” body-centered, repetitive behavior .” Other types of behaviors that fall into this category include playing with or pulling the hair and scratching the skin.
One of the main investigators, Kieron O’connor gave this explanation about the behavior:
” While these behaviors can induce significant distress, they also seem to satisfy a momentum and deliver some form of reward. We believe that people with these repetitive behaviors can be perfectionists, which means they are unable to relax and perform the task at a normal pace . ”
This can affect people in several ways. Kieron describes these effects:
” Therefore, they are prone to frustration, impatience and dissatisfaction when they fail to achieve their goals. They also experience higher levels of boredom . ”
To study these behaviors – and the people afflicted by them – gathered 48 individuals. Half of the group exhibited repetitive behaviors and the other half did not. A selection process was used. This included clinical telephone evaluations and questionnaires assessing the emotions and personality of each person.
Participants were then tested in four different scenarios designed to elicit specific emotional states. Stress, relaxation, frustration and boredom.
Individuals with a history of repetitive behaviors reported a desire to engage in repetitive behaviors more than those who did not. This happened for every emotional setting, except for relaxation.
This seems quite logical, given the above problem with behaviors. Experiments show that these tendencies can be triggered by more than being nervous.
Sarah Roberts, the study’s director, explains:
” This means that the condition is not simply due to” nervous “habits. The findings suggest that people who suffer from repetitive, body-centered behaviors may benefit from treatments designed to reduce frustration and boredom and to modify perfectionist beliefs . ”
Detecting the Perfectionist
So that person you notice your foot moving a lot or grinding your teeth is not necessarily worried about something. It could very well be a sign of perfectionist tendencies .
Being a perfectionist is not necessarily a bad thing. Setting ambitious goals and motivating yourself for high achievements can be rewarding. However, some studies have found that the real danger of perfectionism comes from the unhealthy thinking patterns that may accompany the personality trait.
Body-centered repetitive behaviors can be one of the drawbacks of having a perfectionist personality.