You've been playing with your hair since kindergarten, but now you've decided you want to stop. Curling, pulling and putting your hair behind your ears is very common among children and adults. Changing this behavior can be challenging, especially if it has become a habit, or addictive or compulsive behavior. By admitting that it has become a problem, distracting yourself and using different accessories and hairstyles, you can change this. With this you can free yourself from this habit.
Method 1 of 4: Dealing with this tendency
Step 1. Stay alert and aware of your behavior
You can play with your hair without realizing it. If you're trying to change behavior, you need to be alert to all your behavior. You made a commitment to yourself to make a change, and now you have the opportunity to persevere and gain confidence.
- Reducing and limiting the number of tasks you try to do at the same time will help you be more aware of what you're doing.
- Say to yourself things like, "Okay, I'm wide awake, alert, and don't play with my hair."
Step 2. Develop a plan for change
Set a start date and identify all the action steps you will take to stop your habit. A well-founded plan will increase the chance of success. You then have goals to pursue and ways to achieve them.
Leave nothing to guess. You know what you want and if you don't know how to get it done, you can and will figure it out
Step 3. Determine the level of your habit and need for help
Remember that playing with your hair is a common condition, but it can develop into a tick. Most behaviors are measured relative to a standard ranging from mild to moderate and severe obsessive-compulsive disorder. If playing with your hair has become an uncontrollable habit that causes problems in your personal life, then it may be time to do something about it.
- Although you must rely on a professional to make an official diagnosis, you can evaluate your behavior and decide on the level of care and action you want to take. There may be instances where others disagree with you and want you to take stronger action.
- At one end of the scale, you'll find mild cases that resolve on their own or require simple strategies to quit the habit.
- At the other end of the scale are conditions such as trichotillomania, a condition that involves repeatedly "pulling" your hair from your head, eyebrows, or eyelashes. This extreme condition can leave a person with bald spots and skin irritations that interfere with his or her daily life. This would confirm that you have obsessive-compulsive disorder and definitely need help to limit or get rid of the behavior altogether.
- Playing excessively with your hair is often associated with other conditions such as obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), depression, and anxiety. You may need to seek treatment for these other conditions, which can eventually lead to the disappearance of your hair obsession.
Step 4. Seek professional help if you find it difficult to change this
There are several online resources available to you online, such as: 'De Angst, Dwang en Phobie Stichting', and the 'Nederlands Kenniscentrum Angst en Depression (NedKAD)', or go to your GP. Help is available and could be the best thing you ever did for yourself.
- Introspection is the process of direct access to your own internal processes. If you find out how and why you react to people and things around you, you will be able to solve many personal problems. Only you can do what it takes to find the answers to these questions. Analysis can be difficult, but it can put you on a clear path to change.
- Seeking the help you need is a brave and courageous thing to do. It will contribute to your desire to live a full and happy life. With the right tools, you can make that happen.
Step 5. Reward yourself when your plan works
Every small success and great success is an achievement, and represents that change. Identify those things you find rewarding so you're ready to celebrate. When you enjoy the intrinsic and extrinsic rewards of your hard work, it will motivate you to keep going.
If you can successfully get through a certain event that normally causes you to play with your hair, congratulate yourself. Even the smallest change is important to acknowledge
Method 2 of 4: Distracting yourself
Step 1. Look for healthy distractions
If you feel the urge to play with your hair, focus on yourself. Select activities that require you to focus, but not so much that you stop paying attention to playing with your hair. Things like reading, playing a video game, watching a movie, and writing can be activities that increase your hair's chances of playing. Playing a game in the open air or walking your dog can be a better distraction.
- A few activities, thoughts, and feelings can increase your urge to play with your hair. If you immediately catch yourself having to say "Stop," find a replacement activity. For example, if you're talking to someone and you start playing with your hair, grab a pen or even sit on your hands.
- Observe the number of times you have to distract yourself from playing with your hair. This will help you understand the seriousness of your habit. You will probably notice a high frequency in the initial phase; but that leaves a lot of room for celebrating your improvements.
Step 2. Keep both hands busy to avoid playing with your hair
There are many possibilities such as baking a cake, playing sports, making something out of metal or wood, icing some cookies, shopping for clothes, building a rock garden, painting with both hands (try it), doing the handstand, taking care of your pet, playing a musical instrument, etc.
- Not only will you stop playing with your hair, but you could also have a lot of fun.
- Find new and exciting things to do that you've never done before. Be adventurous. You may discover a new and rewarding interest.
- Hug stones can help you dissipate the nervous energy that leaves you playing with your hair. These are smooth stones that are made for playing and rubbing. They have also been used successfully to help smokers deal with nervous fidgeting when they quit smoking. You can find them online or in some health food or new age stores.
Step 3. Assess your level of anxiety or boredom
Playing with your hair can be a sign that you're feeling restless or bored, which means it's important to address the cause rather than take it out on your hair. If you're feeling restless, there are many calming techniques you can try. Talking to someone who will genuinely listen will help you process your feelings. If you're bored, find a way to entertain yourself.
- Try meditation or yoga, which can help you focus on your breathing and learn to be calm.
- Find other calming behaviors that can help you manage your anxiety. Just talking to yourself in a positive way (out loud or silently) will help. Tell yourself, "I'm safe and I'm taking care of myself and everything will be fine, and I don't have to play with my hair."
- A sure cure for boredom is to be busy with the things you need to do. Make a list and check off each task when you've completed it.
Method 3 of 4: Using hair accessories
Step 1. Wear fun and stylish hats
Making such changes, even if temporary, can help break the habit of playing with your hair immediately and can help in the long run as well. Essentially this will block your hands from reaching the area on your head where you repeatedly play with your hair. There are many alternatives when it comes to hats. Some styles may suit you better than others. A knit hat may suit you better than a cowboy hat or baseball cap. Choose the one you feel comfortable with.
Step 2. Use hair bows and hair clips to shape and keep your hair in shape
If you pin your hair, then you can't play with it. Place these accessories strategically to gather your hair, and pull or push it away from the focus area. Get creative and you might just start the next new fashion trend in hair accessories.
Step 3. Cover your hair with a scarf or bandana
By covering your head completely, there is no more chance of you playing with your hair. Every time you touch the scarf or bandana, you are reminded that you are trying to make a positive change. If you can resist the urge to take off the scarf or bandana, you'll find yourself touching your hair much less often.
Method 4 of 4: Changing your hairstyle
Step 1. Braid your hair to pull it away from your face
Simple changes, although temporary, help break habits and help make long-term changes in your behavior. If you can move strands of hair that quickly make you fiddle with others, your hands won't find anything to do. This can trigger a mental reminder to stop playing with your hair. When you make braids in your hair, you can't play with it because it will loosen and mess up the braid.
- A ponytail or bun will work well. Taking your hair off your shoulders and keeping it from sweeping into your face removes the temptation to touch it.
- Hairstylists can help you find a style that minimizes temptation. Especially if you keep your hair out of your face, out of reach or in style using a lot of hair products, you will be able to avoid playing with your hair. The desire to keep your haircut can be enough to stop you.
Step 2. Get a shorter haircut
If you want a shorter or more layered look, do that. Shaving your hair off can be extreme, but if you like the model that way, you might love it.
There are charities that use donated hair to make wigs for cancer patients who have lost hair to chemotherapy. You can donate your hair to such programs to help others and yourself
Step 3. Dye your hair
A simple change of color can be exciting. It can make you feel better about yourself, or make you see yourself in a more positive way. A change of color may be just what you need to get motivated.
If your 'new self' wants to stop playing with his or her locks, pick a new hair color and create a new image for the world to see. It could be a very enlightening experience
- Be kind to yourself. Change can be difficult.
- Tell yourself that your hair looks great.
- Stay in the here and now to avoid drifting into behavior that you find undesirable.
- Tendencies and obsessions of any kind should be monitored and taken seriously.
- Playing with your hair too much can lead to permanent hair loss and other skin related conditions.