If You Bite Your Nails, You're A Perfectionist (Says Science)

woman biting nails

One of the gross habits that I can't help but do is pick and bite my nails. Ever since I could remember I would let my nails grow out so I could paint them but if they get even the slightest uneven chip,  I would pick or bite them until all the nail polish was gone. Well, now science is claiming that this type of behavior is a sign of perfectionism and yikes, that's not really a good thing, is it?

A study published in Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry found that perfectionism is a common trait in those who bite their nails, pluck their skin, and pull their eyelashes. Gross!

However it doesn't look like the perfectionism is the only thing these habits are tied to — stress also has a lot to do with it.

"We believe that individuals with these repetitive behaviors may be perfectionistic, meaning they are unable to relax and to perform tasks at a 'normal' pace," explains the lead author of the study, Dr. Kieron O'Connor in a press release. "They are therefore prone to frustration, impatience, and dissatisfaction when they do not reach their goals. They also experience greater levels of boredom."

The study also found people with these behaviors were most likely to do them (bite nails, pick skin, pull out eyelashes) when they were feeling stressed. The habits are then used to regulate their emotion.

I guess the next time I find the urge to bite my nails I should drink calming tea instead! But if you're looking for a much tougher way of knocking your habit, O'Connor recommends cognitive therapy.