Recently, there has been a craze about fidget toys. Fidget toys are small devices that you can spin between your fingers. If you have kids, you've probably been forced to buy a fidget spinner or toy. While most kids just see them as fun to play with, many people who use fidget toys claim they provide them with a means of creating a calming sensory experience. Bearing in mind that most of the time people are glued to their screens due to the increase of technology, fidget toys come as a refreshing change. The trend began in 2017, and in most homes and even some classrooms one would find almost every kid with a fidget toy.
There are, however, concerns about the usefulness of these devices for anxiety and whether or not they should be allowed in the hands of children and young adults. So, what's the big deal about fidget toys for anxiety? The answer might surprise you.
More About Fidget Toys for Anxiety
Fidget toys are colorful, handheld devices that users rotate between their fingers. They are typically small enough to fit into one's pocket. While most young children see them as something fun to play with, many people who use fidget toys claim that they get a calming sensory experience from them. Fidget toys can take different shapes and forms, but most of them are made up of disc-holding, paddle-like wings that are designed to spin between your fingers with little-to-no effort.
Fidget toys are designed to keep your hands engaged in simple, repetitive movements that enable you to easily disregard certain distractions like smells, claustrophobia, lights, and sound. If you find yourself in a situation where these distractions are too overwhelming then the use of a fidget toy can come in handy to greatly reduce stress and anxiety. Interestingly, even a simple object such as a pen can be used as a fidget toy, which is why you might find yourself clicking one from time to time.
Do Fidget Toys Really Help with Anxiety?
Most people who've used fidget toys have reported improved focus in scenarios like sitting still in a meeting or when performing various tasks. Initially, fidget toys were made for the purpose of helping people deal with stress, though reduced anxiety quickly became a positive side-effect. Occupational therapists have been using fidget toys to help children deal with conditions like ADD, ADHD, and autism for quite some time. They are becoming increasingly more popular worldwide as more and more people grow aware of the amazing benefits.
How It Works
Fidget toys for anxiety offer an ideal distraction for people who have trouble focusing. In the case of treating severe anxiety, they're extremely valuable because most of the time they are used together with other treatments and medications. The continuous spinning and twirling of the colorful gadget helps to keep the hands busy and it provides sensory stimulation for those affected by anxiety disorders.
Those who deal with anxiety disorders can attest to the fact that their condition affects their entire body. Common side-effects usually occur in the hands and fingers with symptoms like shaking, cramping, restlessness, and tingling sensations. Fidget toys can serve as a distraction from certain anxiety symptoms and can provide a soothing satisfaction for those with sensory complications. They've also been shown to be effective in helping victims calm their nerves when they enter an episode of severe tension and stress.
Some people choose to relieve anxiety by biting their nails, pulling their hair, fiddling with jewelry, or even simply by placing their hands in their pockets. If you've ever found yourself doing any of these things, don't worry - you're not alone. One should also note that fidget toys do not actually cure anxiety. Instead, the act of fidgeting is used as a method to help the victim cope through an episode with a soothing and satisfying temporary relief.
Factors to Consider Before Purchasing a Fidget Toy
There are a variety of fidget toys that come in different shapes, colors, and sizes. Choosing the right one depends on your personal preferences, tastes, and other factors that you should put into consideration. Take a look below.
As stated above, fidget toys are used by therapists as a method to help calm down those with anxiety. However, shortly after these devices hit the market, it became common to see them in work and school environments, which raised concerns about their actual efficiency. School authorities began to report them as being a distraction to other classmates and some facilities banned them altogether.
Nevertheless, many doctors and counselors can agree that the benefits of fidget toys for anxiety heavily outweigh the problems that they supposedly cause among children and young adults. However, there have also been some concerns regarding the issue of safety with fidget devices among smaller children. One of them is that fidget toys may pose a choking hazard to infants and toddlers if the toy falls apart.
If you have smaller children running around your household, keep these concerns in mind if you plan on or already have a fidget toy in your home. Children under the age of three should not use fidget toys. As a matter of fact, the best age to introduce fidget toys should be seven. However, this depends on you as a parent and the type of precautions you take when your child is using a fidget tool. Essentially, it's up to you to decide if the pros outweigh the cons for your particular situation.
Alternative Anxiety Solutions
If your anxiety is interfering with your everyday life to the point where you can't seem to focus on anything else, it might be time to seek professional help. Consider trying out some of these alternative anxiety solutions as well.
Instead of clicking your pen, try using it to write down your thoughts, feelings, or anything else you can't seem to shake off your mind. You might find it helpful to exercise your brain by jotting down thoughtful material in a journal to help you relieve stress and tension.
Sometimes, drifting away into music is one of the best ways to cope with your anxiety. If you head over to YouTube, you can find hundreds of relaxing playlists to listen to and enjoy. If that doesn't seem to work, consider exploring new material by some of your favorite artists.
DIY Fidget Toys
If you're not looking to spend any money on a fidget toy, fear not - you can easily make one from home. There are a variety of tutorials on sites like YouTube and Pinterest for all sorts of different DIY fidget toys to help with your anxiety. Give it a shot!
Get Online Counseling with BetterHelp
If you or someone you know is currently struggling with an anxiety disorder, professional help is right around the corner. BetterHelp offers discreet online counseling with licensed therapists who really do care about you. No matter how severe your anxiety is, we've got your back. BetterHelp's network of licensed counselors is available to you from the comfort and privacy of your own home (or wherever you have an internet connection). Read below for some reviews of BetterHelp counselors, from people experiencing similar issues.
"Quite frankly, I was initially hesitant to seek any form of counselling. And I was especially nervous when I first matched with Laura because I did not know what to expect. Fortunately, Laura not only help me through each of the life struggles I have been dealing with over the past months but the frequency of my anxiety has reduced significantly. Prior to therapy with Laura I was always very anxious and had a hard time dealing with my thoughts and emotions. But Laura always offered incredible emotional support, listened thoroughly and helped me work on better approaches to what I had been struggling with. Additionally, I would highly recommend Laura and/or BetterHelp to anyone who is seeking counseling."
"Heath has helped me significantly in dealing with my anxiety; he's helped me approach it from different angles and has given me different tools to help me work through situations rather than just reacting or shutting down."
Fidget toys can be used to help greatly reduce stress, tension, and anxiety. If you feel as though you suffer from any of these symptoms, it's definitely worth your time to explore all of the available options and benefits of these nifty little gadgets. A truly fulfilling life where anxiety doesn't hold you back is possible - all you need are the right tools. Take the first step today.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Do fidget toys help anxiety?
Fidget toys can be seen as anti-anxiety toys. They help reduce anxiety in both kids and adults. When people feel anxious, their stress has to go somewhere and fidgeting can bring stress relief, which, in turn, lowers anxiety and stress. Infinity cubes, fidget spinners, and hand spinners are some examples of prime fidget and stress toys selling today.
People with ADHD who experience anxiety or boredom might particularly find stress toys beneficial.
Do squishies help with anxiety?
Squishies, even stress balls, might lower anxiety and stress for those who are having surgery and recovering from surgery. By focusing on something that requires cognition, patients can feel a sense of stress relief. This anti-anxiety technique shifts the patient’s attention away from the surgery and to the process of squeezing and contracting muscles. Unlike fidget spinners that can create noise and light (not optimal if you’re having surgery or recovering from one), squishies and stress balls are silent.
Squishies come in multiple colors. They can also be small and silent, which make for a good stress toy for those who work in an office or attend school. People with ADHD who are anxious or bored will also benefit from using squishies to help calm themselves when feeling anxious.
What are good things to fidget with?
Items to fidget with include toys specifically designed for this purpose like the fidget spinner or common items, such as a paper clip, pencil or tennis ball. Even tapping your foot on the floor or thrumming your fingers on a desk can be used in place of objects used for fidgeting. You can even doodle if you feel the need to fidget for stress relief.
If you’re around other people and you don’t want them to know that you’re fidgeting or the fidgeting might be distracting for them, there are some ways to get your fidgeting going – quietly. At a table, you can put your hands under the table and twirl your thumbs. When legs are crossed, you can move the foot on the crossed leg up and down using small movements. Even tensing and releasing a muscle can be a quiet fidget that can bring about stress relief. Or you can discretely use sensory toys like stretchy string or a stress ball.
If working in an office and you’re at your desk, you can also use these as desk toys to manage stress. Other desk toys you might find useful are the following: fidget spinner, hand spinner, and PILPOC theFube.
Do fidget toys help with ADHD?
Kids and adults with ADHD have more focus when they’re moving. So, in that sense, having a fidget toy or sensory toy can help them achieve greater focus when completing tasks. Fidget or sensory toys like a fidget spinner might aid in stress relief. Some fidget toys are the infinity cube, high-speed hand spinner with ceramic bearing and fidget spinner. Some sensory toys include squishies and stretchy string.
Why do ADHD patients fidget?
Just as the mind connects with the body, so does the body connect with the mind. To help the mind along for people with ADHD, fidgeting – moving a part of the body while thinking or completing tasks – allows kids and adults with ADHD to increase focus more and find stress release.
People with ADHD might also fidget because of anxiety and do so to provide themselves with stress relief. Using fidget toys can provide those with ADHD with anxiety relief. Flippy chains, infinity cubes, fidget spinners, hand spinners, and rainbow balls are some examples of prime fidget toys on the market today that provide anxiety relief. These toys can also be used with people who have autism and can be used as part of an anti-anxiety strategy.
Is fidgeting a sign of ADHD?
Fidgeting by itself is not a sign of ADHD. Fidgeting along with other signs associated with ADHD might lead to a diagnosis. Kids and adults alike might fidget, but that might mean there is something else going on like anxiety or boredom. Fidgeting for them could be a form of stress relief, and fidget toys or stress relief toys like a fidget spinner, flippy chain, high-speed hand spinner with ceramic bearing, or infinity cube could help with that.
How does a person with ADHD thinks?
Generally, people with ADHD (and autism) are easily distracted, so they might have trouble thinking a problem through or completing a task. Conversely, they might zero in (hyperfocus) on a task or problem, not even registering distractions around them. Once the task or problem is solved, they leave it and move on to the next. People with ADHD experience boredom easily, and when bored, they might become stressed. Stress relief can be found in moving from project to project or if in school, subject to subject when studying at home. Having an anti-anxiety plan in place can provide stress relief.
Fidget toys are often used with people who have ADHD and even with those who have autism. A fidget toy, such as a fidget spinner, high-speed hand spinner with ceramic bearing, flippy chain, and rainbow ball help with concentration. Additionally, a fidget toy and even a desk toy like the PILPOC theFube assists in task completion.
Kids and adults alike with ADHD also think about the present, which can result in impulsivity. The past and the future are not necessarily on their radar, which means learning from past mistakes or understanding how their behavior now might have consequences in the future might elude them. Stress relief from impulsivity can come in the form of anti-anxiety toys like the fidget spinner.
Is fidgeting a sign of anxiety?
Fidgeting alone is not a sign of anxiety. One must consider other signs of anxiety in addition to fidgeting to have a diagnosis of anxiety. Anyone can experience stress and anxiety. Also, people who have mental health conditions, physical conditions, or other conditions, such as ADHD and autism can experience anxiety. One way to lessen the effects of stress and anxiety in a person’s life is to use toys for the purpose of reducing anxiety.
Some stress relief toys for anxiety relief include the following: flippy chain, fidget spinner, and other anti-anxiety toys.
Is ADHD a form of anxiety?
ADHD is a brain disorder and is not a form of anxiety. Adults and kids with ADHD, though, can have anxiety. Toys for reducing anxiety can help people experience less stress and anxiety, whether these stem from ADHD, an anxiety disorder, or stresses associated with day-to-day life.
Anxiety relief and stress relief can be found in the use of toys for reducing anxiety, such as flippy chains, hand spinners, rainbow balls, infinity cubes and fidget spinners.