A few years ago, fidget spinners could be found anywhere from classrooms and work desks to nightstands. Though they were intended to be a concentration tool for people who struggle with attention deficit disorders, fidget spinners soon became widely known as a helpful tool for assisting all folks with feelings of overwhelm, boredom, or deep thought. And fidget spinners are just one of many stress toys for anxiety available to help you find inner grounding.
In fact, psychology experts agree that utilizing a stress toy to subdue symptoms of anxiety is a great addition to your well-being practices. That’s because when you use something like a fidget spinner, your brain directs its attention to that gadget instead of going down a thought rabbit hole. But what, exactly, constitutes a stress toy?
There are two key components of a gadget that might also function in such a way that relieves stress or anxiety: It replicates the human experience, and it diverts your attention.
According to licensed clinical psychologist Aimee Daramus, PsyD, there are two key components of a gadget that might also function in such a way that relieves stress or anxiety: It replicates the human experience, and it diverts your attention.
Whether it’s through squeezing, clicking, or turning—all which might apply some of the pressure you’d feel from another human—licensed psychologist Selena Snow, PhD, agrees that certain toys can help you let go of anxious thoughts. When we use stress toys for anxiety, “we're engaged in something that's creating tactile stimulation for us, which is a way for us to self-soothe and reduce distress,” says Dr. Snow. “When we are touching these things, [we’re] really focusing on the sensory experience of what's happening in our body and what we're doing.”
In turn, stress toys for anxiety can be a great way of turning our attention away from something that’s stressful, helping to keep us from getting lost in our own heads, and, ultimately, get back to whatever it is we actually want to do. Read on for nine stress toys that experts say can be helpful in reducing anxiety.
9 stress toys for anxiety, according to psychologists
This low-key fidget ring actually looks like simple jewelry without any kind of dual purpose. But while it’ll go seamlessly with everyday looks, it can actually help ease symptoms of anxiety. The ring spins and its loops are adjustable, which means it fits most sizes as it doubles as one of many stress toys for anxiety.
A product that’s practical and relieves anxiety? We love to see it! That’s exactly what this Fidgi Pen is. Its name isn’t misleading, as it actually features a refillable ink pod as well as seven different fidget features—like the classic pen click, a spin disk, and a rolling ball.
“One thing to be cautious about might be whether the alternative item becomes such a fascinating thing that it becomes a new focus as opposed to being able to do it while you’re simultaneously trying to [do something else],” says Dr. Snow.
If you’re concerned that you might find a fidget cube to be too distracting, this small fidget ball—which is only one-inch in diameter—might be the perfect toy for you.
Let’s say you’re the type of person who likes auditory stimulation in addition to tactile stimulation. This set of magnetic balls would be great because it strikes a great balance between the two.
You can set the cradle in motion through one or both ends, and it will continue to make a sound for up to an additional 20 seconds. Since there aren’t any small pieces included, this would also make a great gift for kids who could use a stress toy for anxiety.
Made out of silicone and plastic, this fidget dodecagon comes in nine aesthetic options and can help create tactile stimulation, which Dr. Snow says is key in anxiety management.
“It’s a wonderful way to ground yourself in this present moment of what [you’re] doing and what [you’re] touching instead of being up in [your head], lost, and anxious about the future,” she says. If you’ve identified that your anxiety tends to show up as worry, this may be a great toy for you because you can divert your attention to what the toy feels like instead of continuing to worry.
Because this option comes with a magnetic base, one large metal ball, and 200 small metal balls, it’s not particularly suited for children. It is, however, a great addition to your desk as not only an adornment, but also to keep your hands busy so you can focus better on certain tasks at hand—which might relieve task-related feelings of anxiety.
These rings, with over 1,400 Amazon ratings averaged at 4.4 stars, stick to each other because they’re magnetic—which makes it possible for you to fidget with one, two, or three at a time, depending on how much tactile stimulation you might need. They’re pretty simple to use, too, since all you have to do is use your finger to rotate the ring.
Well+Good’s health writer personally uses this toy and loves how it’s basically composed of magnetic putty. Because balls are magnetic, they can also function as a stress ball and even adult building blocks. They come in a wide variety of colors, and you can get the smaller option with 512 balls, or the bigger option, which includes a whopping 1,000 magnetic balls.
Oh hi! You look like someone who loves free workouts, discounts for cutting-edge wellness brands, and exclusive Well+Good content. Sign up for Well+, our online community of wellness insiders, and unlock your rewards instantly.
Loading More Posts...