Do Fidget Rings Work for Anxiety?

Anxiety disorders are among the most common mental health conditions, affecting over 40 million adults in the United States each year. Anxiety can manifest in many ways, including feelings of nervousness, panic, fear, and excessive worrying. While anxiety is a normal human response to stress, anxiety disorders involve excessive, ongoing anxiety that interferes with daily life.

To cope with anxiety, many people turn to tools like fidget rings. But do these rings actually help relieve anxiety symptoms? Here’s what the research says.

What Are Fidget Rings?

Fidget rings are rings worn on the fingers that have movable parts intended for fidgeting with and manipulating. The most common types of fidget rings include spinner rings, puzzle rings, and infinity rings.

Spinner rings have an inner metal band that spins freely around the outer band. Puzzle rings have multiple interconnected metal bands that can be taken apart and reassembled in different configurations. Infinity rings have overlapping loops that can be spun and rotated continuously.

The purpose of fidget rings is to give the hands something small and repetitive to play with. Fidgeting is thought to relieve nervous energy and anxiety by keeping the hands occupied. It provides a distraction from worrying thoughts.

Do Fidget Rings Reduce Anxiety?

There is some evidence that fidget devices like rings can help reduce anxiety:

  • Fidgeting may decrease restlessness and nervous energy. In one study, doodling while listening to a boring phone call helped participants maintain focus and recall more information afterwards. Fidget rings may work similarly by providing an outlet for excess energy.
  • Fidgeting has been associated with improved concentration and memory. Fidget rings may make it easier to focus on work or studying by giving part of the brain something simple and repetitive to focus on.
  • Fidgeting may relieve tension and stabilize mood. Hand movements trigger brain responses that help regulate emotions. Spinning or manipulating a fidget ring may activate these pathways.
  • The rhythmic, predictable nature of fidget toys is soothing. Fidget rings provide sensory stimulation that can have a calming effect during bouts of anxiety.

However, there is still limited research specifically on fidget rings for anxiety. More studies are needed to understand who benefits most and under what conditions. The available evidence is promising but not definitive.

Tips for Using a Fidget Ring for Anxiety

If you want to try a fidget ring to manage anxiety, here are some tips:

  • Choose a ring design you find soothing and enjoyable rather than annoying. Test different textures, weights, and spinning mechanisms to find what works best.
  • Wear it on your dominant hand so it’s easy to access the fidgeting feature. You want to be able to manipulate it without thinking when anxiety strikes.
  • Use it as a tool for short anxiety relief rather than all day. Take it off periodically to avoid creating a dependency.
  • Combine it with other strategies like mindfulness, deep breathing, exercise, and cognitive restructuring techniques. Don’t rely on just a ring alone.
  • Notice if fidgeting becomes compulsive rather than just soothing. Compulsions can develop with fidget tools used excessively.

While more research is still needed, fidget rings show promise for providing minor anxiety relief. But they should be used in moderation alongside other proven anxiety management skills. Manipulating a ring can’t cure anxiety completely, but it may provide a useful outlet for nervous energy when anxiety strikes.