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Why is it so hard not to touch your face?

Regardless of how much you want to control your gestures, you might find that touching the face comes so naturally that it is almost impossible to avoid, even if you are aware of the health hazards.

This is why it is so difficult not to touch your face, and how you can avoid this habit.

A natural reaction

When you no longer want to focus exclusively on someone or something, there is a tendency to cover your face with your hands, and distract your attention. Many people do this involuntarily: the body is designed to express emotions through nonverbal language, which unlike verbal language, is much more difficult to control.

Body language is a way to express the culture you belong to

Using your hands to express emotions is not only instinctive, but may also be learned by imitation. Body language is very effective in conveying feelings and habits, but also culture. The brain constantly learns from people around and the person starts imitating gestures the brain perceives at a certain moment. Yawning is a common example of this phenomenon.

A stress-based reflex

Another reason why you may touch your face is being stressed and wanting to feel more comfortable. Touching certain parts of the face activates the parasympathetic nervous system, and putting your hands on your face becomes a reflex.

Why is it so hard not to touch your face?

Nonverbal language on a date

Research shows that during a normal day a person touches their face about 23 times, and according to a study conducted in 1967, nonverbal language is dominant when you want to express your emotions. Think about the situation when you are flirting with a person you like: you simply can’t help touching your lips or cheeks.

Changing habits

If you want to get rid of touching your face, first of all you have to admit that it is a real problem. As a replacement, you can try using an anti-stress ball when you feel anxious, to keep your hands busy, you can ask people around to warn you if you touch your face, or you can display post-it notes to remind you what not to do.

Another trick is to apply perfume or some scented lotion on your hands, so that when they get closer to your face, you can become aware of the smell. If you put your hands on your face when you feel stressed, consider various methods of relaxation, including yoga, meditation and breathing exercises. However, you need to be patient: psychologists believe that getting rid of a habit can take up to 66 days.

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