BD Edit: Stress Relief Toys, Tools And Gadgets To Try
5 minutes read
When stressed, we often feel naturally inclined to fidget with things – drumming fingers, tapping feet, flipping and clicking pens. And as humans, we’ve almost always felt the need to reach for something tactile in moments of anxiety. This is why stress relief toys have been around for a long time, in so many different forms.
Below, we explore these tools and why we’re so fond of them and share an edit of our favourite stress toys and gadgets.
What are stress relief toys?
The stress ball is the most obvious stress relief toy, a spherical foam toy often featuring a smiley face, prevalent in corporate environments. They were first created in the late ’80s to help people relieve tension in the office.
But this is a relatively recent invention. Before the stress ball, Baoding balls were popular in China’s Ming dynasty (1368–1644). These were two metal balls that a person rotated in their palm. The repeated motion was believed to reduce stress.
Similarly, prayer beads have been a part of various cultures worldwide for hundreds of years. The Greek komboloi, also known as ‘worry beads’, used to serve religious purposes several hundred years ago. Now, they’re primarily used for relaxation and fun.
Can fidget toys help with anxiety and stress?
Fidgeting is a natural response to boredom, stress or anxiety. In addition, some research suggests that fidgeting can be beneficial as it improved performance in memory tests.
The inventor of the fidget spinner claimed that it was created to help children and adults self-regulate their emotions, behaviour and restlessness. But there doesn’t seem to be enough scientific evidence to support this claim. This study concluded that “fidget spinners do not appear to disrupt attention or decrease anxiety among typically developing children.”
In short, the evidence is mixed. So, it’s mainly about personal preference. For some, squishing a stress ball can help calm them down. Others may prefer to de-stress by meditating or solving a jigsaw puzzle. Below, our edit of stress relief toys has something for everyone.
6 stress relief toys we love
1. Worry Stone
This smooth Worry Stone is handmade using polymer clay that’s polished to a velvety finish. It’s pretty enough to be a desk accessory, but it’s better to keep it within reach at all times – in your pocket or handbag.
It has a soft dip that makes it incredibly soothing to hold in the palm of your hand, offering comfort in difficult situations.
2. Stress balls
If you want to take a more traditional route, these stress balls by MindPanda are the ones to get. They have the same benefits as their old-school counterparts but offer a more tailored experience.
The three stress balls in this set vary in firmness, so you can pick the one that feels right for you. Each has a unique scent – rosemary, jasmine and lemon, respectively.
4. Push poppers
If you have a young child (or have been around any recently), you’re probably familiar with these push poppers. But they could be just as fun for adults. Who doesn’t love popping bubble wrap? And with this one, you could go on forever. This Push Popper Toy from Claire’s also has a cute tie-dye pattern.
5. Fidget bead ring
This fidget tool disguised as a piece of jewellery is excellent if you want something more discreet. Nevanna’s Anti-Stress Ring has tiny spherical beads that you can move around when you feel fidgety. The adjustable band makes it a one-size-fits-all. This means you can wear it on any finger or even gift it to someone who would appreciate it.
6. Therapy putty
It’s like Play-Doh for grownups. Each colour in this set of six has a different level of firmness. Besides being enjoyable to play around with, therapeutic putty is often recommended for physical or occupational therapy as manipulating the putty can strengthen hand muscles.
7. Stress relief deck
Sometimes, in a moment of stress, you need to stop and breathe. The 52 cards in this deck by Mål Paper are inscribed with small prompts and reminders that can help ease your mind. For instance, one card reads: “relax your shoulders. Unclench your jaw. Steady your breathing. This is just a bad day, not a bad life. The tension will pass.”
Wellness tools that can help you relax
If a bit of self-care helps you unwind, these are the tools you should reach for.
1. Hayo’u Body Drummer
Pai sha is an old Chinese pain relief therapy technique where bamboo was used to tap the body. Hayo’u put a modern spin on the ancient technique with their Body Drummer. Instead of bamboo, it has a silicone body. Use it to gently tap areas that are feeling tense. It instantly provides relief by relaxing deep muscle tension and improving circulation.
2. Odacité Mon Ami Acupressure Tool
Your face holds more tension than you may know – squinty eyes, furrowed brows and clenched jaws… This little acupressure tool by Odacité is designed to fit the contours of the face and relax contractions.
One end features a spatula to scoop the right amount of moisturiser. Once sufficiently moisturised (you could also use a face oil), use the other end to apply light to medium pressure on acupressure points. Pair the acupressure with deep breathing for added benefits.
3. TheaWellbeing Melo Handheld Breathing Device
Melo is a little gadget that will fit in the palm of your hand. Reach for it when you’re feeling anxious, tense, or even struggling to sleep. It provides guided meditation and has three calming breathing exercises pre-installed that it can coach you through. Because of its portable and lightweight design, you can keep it handy wherever you go.