It is often difficult to stop certain habits once they are being acquired like:
- Nail biting
- Restless leg syndrome- always shaking the legs
- Cracking knuckles or pulling the fingers to get some sound
These habits become almost unconscious that they’re difficult to stop. For instance, take nail biting. Some people still bring the habit way into adulthood and could not stop it despite using various methods such as applying nail polish, or doing manicure.
While for those with restless legs, they like to move their legs all the time. Sometimes this habit may annoy others who are sitting on the sofa as the person who is unconsciously shaking his/her legs.
Understand the subconscious association of these habits.
Nail biting has often been associated as a sign of inner insecurity. The person must ask herself questions like-
‘Am I an insecure person? And if yes, what is making me insecure?’
From there, she should learn ways to boost her self confidence and self esteem- for example, mixing with people will accept her for what she is and will never put her down, and learning to stand up for herself and what she believe in.
Often, going deep into the core of our being is not easy for all- but if the person is able to slowly overcome the issue, then it gets easy to stop the habit- sometimes, just applying nail polish will just work. And after a short while, even nail polish is not required.
On the other hand, restless leg syndrome perhaps may denote a restless state of mind- a mind that thoughts were not able to slow down. When your mind constantly goes at the speed of light, being in a slower situation- such as when you are in the company of someone who is at a slower pace and your mind is somewhere else planning and trying to ‘multitask’, then the limbs may unconsciously start shaking. Learning to slow down, be in the present helps.
Give yourself a real good reason to stop
If all fails, then tough love can be quite effective. Get your loved one, someone whom you respect to reprimand you each time you display that behaviour. And if there is a good reason to stop, you just might.
To be honest, I used to have restless leg syndrome. My mom gets very annoyed each time she sees me shaking my legs while having my meals at the dining table. She’ll stop eating and give me that fierce stare. And the conservative older generation especially dislike this behavior at the dinner table. She always would quote an ancient Chinese saying- ‘When a tree shakes, the leaves fall. When a person shakes, fortune thins out’.
Well, that did not really work- I just told myself she was just superstitious. When I got scolding each time I was younger, I just try to remember not to do it in front of her. But I was always caught- because unless you stop doing it altogether- else, it would just be an unconscious movement.
But one day, she tried another approach (that goes to say that creative approaches do work with a stubborn child 🙂 ). She said, “have you ever try observing a girl sitting down and shaking one of her legs non stop? How do you think people who look at her thought about her, especially if she was talking to a guy?”
I’ve never thought about it that way before. So my mom’s comment sparked my curiosity. The next time, I started observing other women who displayed the restless leg syndrome in public- at bus stops while waiting for buses, or while talking to their friends. Some do it while chatting up to a guy.
Needless to say, from then on, I was able to stop this habit with success (or least, only do it when there are no one around).