How Sensory and Fidget Toys Help With Anxiety and Stress

Nov 09 , 2021

How Sensory and Fidget Toys Help With Anxiety and Stress

Anabelle Dwyer

 

Whenever you feel anxious or stressed, do you find yourself constantly fidgeting with your hands, hair, rings, pens, pencils, or other objects? Does your nervous energy make it challenging for you to stay still for extended periods? Sensory and fidget toys may be the solution.

Sensory and fidget toys are a prevalent method of combating anxiety, stress, and even some Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) symptoms. They are effective for many children and adults who struggle to sit still or concentrate without constantly fidgeting, which helps them process information and stay engaged. The significant benefit of these toys is that they can help you focus on what you're doing by taking your mind off other distracting thoughts. Furthermore, some of these fidget toy packs can aid in focusing attention by calming down jittery nerves, resulting in an anxiety-free meditative state.

 

 

If a fidget helps you focus, then the question becomes, why don't we all have one? The answer is that some people simply aren't aware of how helpful fidgets can be. For instance, some schools don't allow students to use fidget toys despite their beneficial properties. However, due to recent studies, this stigma has been thankfully fading over the past few years. Many teachers are beginning to see how fidgets can help their students focus and process information better.

 

Anxiety and Stress

 

 

Anxiety and stress are natural responses to specific triggers in our environment. They can be short-term (resulting from unsafe settings such as dealing with bullies at school or becoming overwhelmed by work pressures) or long-term (such as the aftermath of a severe accident). When we feel anxious or stressed, our brain releases cortisol and adrenaline into our bloodstream. These chemicals heighten our senses and stimulate the fight-or-flight response. Our heart rate quickens, our palms become sweaty, and we may experience hyperventilation.

However, fidgeting with sensory toys has been shown to release dopamine. This chemical reduces anxiety by calming the nervous system down instead of stimulating it. Although this response can provide immediate relief, it may not help with mid and long-term anxiety symptoms. It's important to note that fidgeting is not a replacement for coping with anxiety and the other symptoms of stress, but it can reduce them while you process your feelings.

Sensory and Fidget Toys

 

 

Sensory and fidget toys come in various shapes, colors, textures, and materials, and you can find fidgets that suit all ages. Regardless of these features, they all have the same goal; keep the mind focused by reducing stress and anxiety. Research indicates that most children learn better when their hands are active, and funneling expandable energy in this manner allows them to focus on what they are trying to understand better. In addition, experts have concluded that movement is essential for learning because it encourages the learner to use both the left and right sides of their brain.

 

The Right Sensory and Fidget Toy For You

 

There's a lot to think about when selecting your fidget toy. More isn't always better, however. Keeping the equipment simple enough to meet your needs will maintain the tool from becoming a distraction.

 

When it comes to selecting a fidget, there are a few things to consider:

 

  • Cost - keep it no-or low-cost if you anticipate needing to replace your fidget often! We've listed some low-cost solutions that won't leave you maxing out your credit card to replace the 9th fidget of the week!
  • Consider durable materials if your fidget toy will get a lot of use - you want it to last!
  • When considering the materials, think about the textures - bumpy, squishy, hard, soft, rough, smooth, a variety? It's a matter of preference for the user.
  • Is there any particular fine motor function(s) that the fidget enables? What would your youngster enjoy doing with it? Flicking, flapping, shaking, and squeezing are just a few examples of what can be done with a fidget. There are various types of fidget toys to suit a wide range of motor activities.
  • What is the purpose of your fidget? How will it be utilized, when, and where? Knowing how frequently you'll need to use the fidget (and where) might help you decide whether a wearable solution or one that may be attached to a keychain, school-approved, or home-only is more appropriate.
  • Noises, smells, and lights, oh my! Believe it or not, you can customize your fidget by adding aromatherapy scents. The scent adds sensory input that some users may need, but it may be overwhelming and unnecessary to others

Still not sure what fidget toy you need? Some of our suggestions include:

Stop 'n' Pop Fidget Toy

This is a low-cost fidget toy that is made from durable silicone. When you purchase the Stop 'n' Pop fidget toy, you know it will put smiles on everyone's face and last a long time. 

 

Magnetic Fidget Spinner

 

This is a smooth fidget toy option that is silent and fun. The surface of the fidget toy feels pleasant to touch, making it a calming sensory experience. This fidget spinner fidget toy is perfect for relieving stress or symptoms of ADHD.

 

Pop Silly Suckers

 

 

The pop silly suckers guarantee all-day fun. The materials are silicone, so you know that they are durable. The pop silly suckers make a loud 'pop' noise when you pull them off flat surfaces, providing a fun sensory stimulation that helps mitigate negative emotions.

 

Hedgehog Sensory Balls

 

 

Hedgehog sensory balls are great for those who enjoy squeezing and kneading. This toy is soft and has a smooth and bumpy texture, providing different tactile experiences. Playing with this fidget toy can help relieve feelings of stress and anxiety by allowing your mind to focus on the tasks at hand anywhere!

Flexible Silly Strings Pack

 

 

One of our most popular kids and adults fidget toy is our silly strings. These fidget toys are perfect for stress relief and reduction of anxiety. The silly strings are latex and scent-free so that they can adhere to the human body's most basic needs. The fidget toy is also silent, making it appropriate for work, school, home, or anywhere you need quick relief.

Remember, the best fidget toy is the one that will provide you with the most benefit as an individual. A variety of fidget toys are available for purchase online here.