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A Nervous Habit or A “Disorder”?

January 31, 2011

Bad habits are easier to abandon today than tomorrow.  ~Yiddish Proverb~

Habit – A recurrent, often unconscious pattern of behavior that is acquired through frequent repetition.

No matter if it’s nail-biting, hair pulling, lip chewing, teeth grinding or any other nervous reflex to cope with stress, awareness is key to stop the unhealthy behavior. The medical community has all kinds of “Disorder” names for them, which can be very scary when trying to stop. Once we label a bad habit with a medical, ugly name, the habit can become more powerful to our fight to quit. Instead of researching for a mental disorder name, try being more productive, by working on an alternative resolution. We must look at our stress & pay attention to how we react. It is key to a healthy process of dealing with our nerves and unloading our anxieties properly.

Stress Release Reminders are a great tool in battling a nervous habit. When a reminder is always there, we can easily stay aware of our stress levels, and focus on our coping techniques. If the coping behavior is negative, and damaging to our health, it is imperative to break.

Most bad habits begin in elementary school. Adults can be overwhelmed, but don’t be discouraged.  If you catch yourself, stop, examine what you are doing. Are you bored? Are you focused on a worry? Are you anxious? Are you loosing control? The best way to cope, is to calm yourself first by using the Stress Release Reminders calming technique. Then grade your levels of stress. Be proud of your awareness, and know you are a step closer to stopping the habit.

Once a bad habit is recognized, and a goal is set to break, here are a few alternatives to negative reactions:

  • nail-biting: Keep nail files handy and lotion your hands frequently. Pampering your hands will be a positive reinforcement.
  • Lip-chewing: Apply lip balm with sunscreen. Take care of your lips.
  • Teeth grinding: Open your mouth and relax the jaw. Dr Oz from the Oprah show recommends to open your jaw wide enough for a wine cork to be placed in.
  • Hair pulling: Brush or comb your hair.

There are so many alternatives, and daily practice will allow you to find the right one for you.

Click here to find Stress Release Reminders on facebook. I post once a day inspirational quotes, pictures, stories, or a daily challenge.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 31, 2011 9:31 pm

    That’s a great idea to have Stress Release Reminders. I’d love to connect, because I also write and teach on stress. I’ll send people to your website for some great ideas.

    I just wrote a book, “All Stressed Up and Everywhere to Go! Solutions to De-Stressing Your Life and Recovering Your Sanity.” If you’d like to possibly mention it on your blog (and/or other social media), I’d love to send you a free copy in either PDF, Kindle or Epub versions. Let me know. You can also learn more at
    Gaylyn Williams

  2. Peggy permalink
    January 31, 2011 11:06 pm

    The nervous habit/disorder blog you wrote this week, really hit home for me and was very helpful to me.

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