Southern News - 10 August 2020
Since before the beginning of time/I was a kid, I've been a nail-biter: a germ-spreading, skin-ripping, cuticle-destroying nail-biter. I've tried everything in the past to try and stop this – from expensive manicures to wearing cotton gloves. That looked cool… But alas, apart from the odd two weeks of success here and there, I've always gone back to sticking my nails/fingers/entire fists in my mouth. Even my boyfriend Ian telling me that my fingers were starting to resemble the ugliest dog in the world's gnarled stumps couldn't make me wave goodbye (with my disfigured digits) to the disgusting habit.
At one point I even convinced myself it was a sort-of endearing habit. I was sure I looked like a cute, cartoon housewife caught thinking about tonight's dinner options.
It got worse if I was stressed or even just bored. I tried knitting a scarf to keep my hands busy, but it looked incredibly shit. I even bought a pom pom-making gizmo, but after making one Christmas wreath with the fruits of my labour, I lost interest. So I got back on the nail-biting wagon. But what options did I have if I wanted to look less monkey and more hand-model? Hypnotherapy.
I'll be honest, when somebody suggested I try hypnotherapy I was pretty skeptical. A). Surely it can't actually work. B). What if the hypnotist's a fan of bantz, and puts me to sleep in the comfort of his professional therapy room; complete with candles and waterfall noises, then loads my snoozy body into the back of a truck, drives me to Blackpool, dresses me up in a sequined mini-dress and feathered headpiece, wheels me on stage in a Hanibal Lecter-style trolley (sans face restraint. Hopefully…), and amazes an audience who gasp with glee as he makes me do chicken impressions and put on a Swiss accent? It could happen…
Anyway, despite my – some might say melodramtic – reservations about the whole thing, I booked myself in for some Hypnosis, and awaited my appointment with a clinical hypnotherapist. I arrived feeling a little nervous, which made me worry that I wouldn't be as susceptible to the hypnosis. Which made me more nervous. It was a vicious and exhausting cycle. But I settled into the Lazy Boy-esque recliner chair and got ready for some serious relaxation if nothing else. I'll be honest, I felt a little silly at first as I tried my damn hardest to clear my mind and go down a lift to a basement of relaxation. But I eventually managed to stop thinking about sandwiches and weird-looking cats (and other crap that usually fills my easily-distracted brain) for long enough to actually really get into it.
As he told me I was a confident woman who didn't need to bite my nails (think back to Chandler and his 'How To Be An Independent Woman' hypnotherapy tapes and you're halfway there), I actually started to believe it. If he thought I wasn't a crappy excuse for a human being who bit my nails because I lacked confidence in what I was doing, maybe I really wasn't. Was I actually more of a well-put together 28 year old than I thought? Was I finally ready to be a grown-up with an executive job, a posh loft apartment, an in-depth knowledge of politics and the arts, and a kitchen full of goji berries and green tea instead of half-eaten scotch eggs left on the side for days on end? As if! But at least maybe I was the same old train wreck just with nice nails from now on…
The first session lasted about 40 minutes, but it felt like I was only 'under' for half of that. It's so relaxing, that before you know it, it's time to wipe the dribble from your chin and head out into the big bad world; a non-nail biter. And I left there believing just that - never again would I nibble my nails. But just to be certain, I stopped off at Boots on the way home to buy some of that disgusting-tasting nail stuff that promises to stop you ever putting your fingers in your mouth again. God, that stuff really is the pits…
According to the hypnotherapist, your first session should be the one that cements the idea that you'll never want to bite your nails again. But he recommends between two and four sessions just to really drive the whole thing home. So that's what I did – I saw him twice more over the next few weeks for much of the same, and he's also given me a recording of a session so I can have a hypno top-up at home if I find my hands starting to creep towards my mouth again.
So did it work? Well, I have to admit, the Boots mixture that tastes like what I can only imagine is reminiscent of what a kiss from Satan himself would taste like, aka not at all good, so maybe it's partly that, but I haven't bitten my nails for five whole weeks now. And every time I'm a little stressed and feel my hands making their way up to my face, I subconsciously bring them back down before I've even noticed what's going on. And that must be because of the hypnotherapy. Sidenote: I slept like a giant baby after every session, so that's a bonus. Now, hypnotherapy isn't a cheap option (treatment is around £190 per session), but it does seem to be a pretty permanent one, so it's gotta be worth it right?
The more you want it to work, the better too. So here are tips for making the most of your hypnotherapy. 1) Admit to yourself that you have a problem 2) Even if you are skeptical about hypnosis, be as open-minded as possible 3) Be prepared to fully change your way of life/solve the issue 4) Enter into hypnosis with a positive mindset that you can be helped 5) Try to relax but don't try too hard! Remember how deeply relaxed you go doesn't affect the results! Just enjoy your unusual, but completely safe, and deeply relaxing experience!
Biting nails can be down to a lack of confidence, hypnosishelps to make your more confident and less likely to bite your nails. Half bitten nails do look terrible and rather immature. Speak to our trained hypnotherapists in London at The Harley Street Hypnotherapy Clinic to stop you biting your nails with hypnosis.