nail biting

Do you bite your nails? Twist your hair or tug on it? Don’t worry, you’re just as perfect as the Duchess of Cambridge.

New research from the University of Montreal says that people that skin pick, nail bite or even eyelash pull may be perfectionists. The only thing is, being a perfectionist isn’t as perfect as it sounds.

“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.”

Sound familiar?

The study also said what most people that suffer from these habits already know; that you’re more likely to do them when you’re stressed or frustrated.

Sarah Roberts, the author of the study published in the Journal of Behaviour Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, wrote: ‘These results partially support our hypothesis in that participants were more likely to engage in repetitive behaviors when they felt bored, frustrated, and dissatisfied than when they felt relaxed.”

This means it is a sign of what you’re feeling – boredom, stress, impatience, even annoyance at not being allowed to finish your task – but it’s not the nervous habit we were always warned about.

They did say that the actions can have a positive benefit though; “…stimulation and a (maladaptive) way of regulating emotion,” O’Connor said in an email to The Huffington Post. “What triggers the habit is largely frustration and impatience so the action substitutes for more constructive action.”

So what can you do if this is a habit you want to kick? Two options. Once is reduce your stress. Try to get rid of those factors that are frustrating you or causing your perfectionist quirks to kick in.

The other is to try subbing in a different action instead of the one you’re doing. Sure, you’ll have another habit but it may be less damaging to your cuticles.