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So You’re Stressed Out, Trying to Stay Calm, and You Find Yourself Staring at a Wall . . . And Your Nails Are Frazzled and Varnished! What to Do?

It’s pretty much unavoidable when you’re stressed — a more stressful environment leads to less sleep, impaired thought process, and more frustration and negative emotions. The typical stress response includes an increase in blood pressure, adrenal insufficiency, disrupted sleep, and less judgment. Nail biting and other nails-on-bars behaviours can indicate a lack of sleep, fatigue, and confusion. Stressy nail biting gets more attention than most other nail-related behaviors, because as a side effect, your nails develop a collection of painful injury pits or cuticles, many of which can break off and expose infected areas under the nails.

The most common result of stress is raised blood pressure, and stress-related bacteria in the mouth pose a risk of plaque build-up on the teeth. If you experience increased stridulation with little biting, your teeth are rubbing too tightly against the wall and hurting (or causing), and you can place your hands outwards in an unnatural way to achieve Manicure results and pain free nails. Taking acetaminophen, such as Tylenol, on an extremely high-stress day — after exercising and eating a large meal, for example — helps maintain balance in both your blood pressure and muscle tone, making it easier to have fun nail-biting activities like hula-hooping, karaoke, and taking photos in the bathroom with your friends.

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After that, your nails can follow the same pattern as your other side effects — you might lose sleep, have a mind disorder (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, learning difficulties, anger issues, depression), suffer from migraines, or be diagnosed with anxiety. You might also be tired or irritable — if you think you have insomnia, physical exercise or trying to manage stress can help.

The takeaway: Find a safe and sane outlet for your stress, do something relaxing to release tension, and remember that you’re not alone. One good way to release stress without taking medications is taking deep slow-flow breaths and joining in a deep, rhythmic movement — consider yoga or another type of exercise that uses a lot of diaphragmatic movement. Whatever you’re doing — whether you’re taking deep breaths, doing movement that uses your diaphragm, meditating, meditating often, or doing a combination of these three — help keep stress levels down and manage emotions, pain, or other side effects with positive interaction with friends and family, introspection, and writing. Research shows that psychotherapy and other methods of emotional self-care are just as effective in treating your stress and anxiety as antidepressant medications.

These tips make sure your nails stay healthy while you remain stress-free. Try them: