I'm a nail biter, and have been for around 15 years now, and I like caffeine, which makes the problem worse since I do it as a "fidget", instead of as a direct result of stress.

I've been coding for a few hours today, and have already worn down my nails from when I need to stop and think about what I'm writing.

I tried chewing gum, which helped a lot, but most gum contains artificial sweeteners which upset my gut. My teeth also aren't perfect, so I'd like to avoid chewing sugared-gum.

I tried seeds, which also worked since they kind of act like gum, but if I'm home coding all day, downing a bag of seeds constantly is also pretty hard on my gut, and gets somewhat expensive.

Obviously, the simple answer would be "just focus on not chewing your nails", but like I said, I've been doing this for quite awhile now, so it's automatic. I'd rather spend my mental resources on the problem I'm trying to solve.

How can I help prevent myself from chewing my nails while thinking?

(Sorry, I don't use lifehacks that often. I really don't know how to tag this).

  • VTC off-topic, mind-hacks are out of scope in this site. – Just Do It Mar 31 '16 at 22:08
  • @JustDoIt What? Where did I say that I'm looking for a "mind-hack"? And what's VTC? – Carcigenicate Mar 31 '16 at 22:16
  • @JustDoIt Oh, "voting to close". Well, I guess you're entitled to your opinion. – Carcigenicate Mar 31 '16 at 22:19
  • Questions dealing with personal productivity and self-improvement tips, memorization and learning techniques, etc. are outside the scope of this site. – Just Do It Mar 31 '16 at 22:33
  • You want an app that speaks out "don't bite your nails" and "sit straight" when you're doung wrong? – ott-- Apr 1 '16 at 18:00

I think a good solution would be stop chewing stuff rather than picking an alternative object to chew while you are thinking. Try to keep your hands occupied and busy such as by playing with "thinking putty" (if you google that, you'll see what I'm talking about). Something similar you can play with are those stress balls you can squeeze. I think start with keeping your hands busy would prevent you from chewing your nails, and if you can keep that for a long period of time, maybe that will solve your problem and get you back into good habits.

  • I actually have some thinking putty in my closet that I've never used. I was hesitant to try it because I'm OCD, and was afraid I'd ruin it's perfect appearance, since I got the "glass putty", and that residue from the putty would muck up my keyboard. I honestly forgot I had it though, maybe I'll give it a try. Thanks. I'm going to hold off accepting though, as I don't want to deter future suggestions. – Carcigenicate Mar 31 '16 at 20:44
  • @Carcigenicate Other similar putty products exits, and you can give those a try and see which one works best for you. – fuzzy_onesie Apr 1 '16 at 15:48

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