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I stop when I realize how much hair is in my lap and I'm kinda horrified I keep returning to it, I really don't realize I'm doing it. It's harder than it sounds but you have to find something else to direct your attention to. Don't even let your hand go up to your head. Because before you know it, your hand will be in your hair and strands will start being pulled out. What to do ? I realized I do it out of boredom. so what helps me,a lot actually, is chewing gum. Kinda stress relief for me. Also keep your hair away from your face. I usually start because I keep tucking hair behind my ear, and somehow that turns into me pulling at the hair... Girls could use bobby pins to pull it back, sometimes into a bun so you can't get to the strands. Out of sight, out of mind. Maybe you can pull yours back into a low ponytail and use the pins to keep the hair over the bald spot. I hope this helps you a little and that you can find a solution. It's a tough habit to break, but mind over matter right? You can do it!