Calmfidence® Daily - Are You a Cheek Chewer?
It’s a subconscious reaction to anxiety and stress similar to nail biting and it can become a habit that’s hard to break. When it comes to Body Language, cheek chewing makes people look nervous, worried, unprepared and doubtful. Over time it can even cause lines similar to smokers wrinkles.
Because cheek chewing can be a self-soothing habit it actually can make you feel better in stressful situations and even be a great source of satisfaction and enjoyment for some people. Nerves, emotional stress, worry, and even boredom can all contribute to chewing of the cheek and inner lip areas. People with general anxiety and OCD often find themselves chewing repetitively as part of these conditions.
A big problem with cheek chewing is the more you do it the more you are compelled to do it as your tongue feels the rough patches and little pieces so you once again feel the need to bite at in an attempt to smooth out the inside of your cheek. Once it becomes a habit it can make you appear nervous and doubtful at times when you may not be. Not a good look if you want to be seen as confident and competent in your work life or personal life.
Here are some things you can do to break the cheek biting habit or at least minimize it:
- Chew sugarless gum or keep a sugar free hard candy or mint in your mouth. By giving yourself another option you’ll give your cheeks a break and disrupt the cycle a bit
- Hold a toothpick or small straw between your teeth during stressful situations or times you know you are likely to chew.
- Carry small natural cinnamon sticks in your purse or bag. Keep one in your mouth like an unlit cigarette. This will prevent you from chewing and you’ll get an added bonus as the sweet cinnamon taste also has a calming effect.
- Eat Pineapple. The acidic nature of pineapple helps smooth out the tiny rough spots that make you want to chew more. It works fast!
- Carry crunchy snacks in a baggy like celery so you can chew and crunch away your cares. Another bonus – celery has been shown to be a natural stress reliever, calming both your mind and your belly.
- Ask friends and family to call you out when they catch you chewing away subconsciously.
- Mindfulness is a great step in putting the breaks on the mindless chew. Take notice of when you catch yourself in a chew and take a deep breath, drop you shoulders and relax.
- In severe cases seek out cognitive behavior therapy to help break the cycle.
You’ll appear more calm and confident when you conquer the cheek chew.
Patricia Stark is a professional speaker, communication coach and trainer, and Author of Calmfidence - How to Trust Yourself, Tame Your Inner Critic, and Shine in Any Spotlight. Available at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Audible, and your favorite bookstore. Order Your Copy Here
As President of Patricia Stark Communications and Calmfidence® Workshops she provides Personal & Professional Development coaching and training focusing on public speaking, media training, virtual presentation training, talent development, body language, emotional intelligence, stress & anxiety relief, and peak performance for Adults and Teens. A Certified Personal & Executive Coach (CPEC of the CaPP Institute -Coaching & Positive Psychology) & a Certified Body Language Trainer (Body Language Institute Washington DC), Patricia holds certificates in Eclectic Cognitive Behavior Therapy & Visualization/Guided Imagery (LIU).