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What Fidget Toys Can Help Anxiety?

Anxiety disorders affect over 40 million adults in the United States, making them the most common mental illness. Anxiety can significantly disrupt daily activities and lower quality of life when not properly managed. While therapy and medication are effective, many people also use supplemental coping strategies like fidget toys to help control anxiety symptoms.

Fidget toys are small, handheld objects designed to be manipulated in the hands as a means of occupying restless fingers, redirecting nervous energy, and calming anxiety. Fidgeting serves as a subtle distraction that can jolt people out of anxiety episodes and disrupt the brain’s feedback loop of worrying thoughts. Using a fidget provides sensory input and a point of focus beyond the anxiety. There are many options when it comes to choosing a fidget toy to help relieve anxiety.

Fidget Spinners

Fidget spinners exploded in popularity recently for their ability to capture attention and entertain both kids and adults. But beyond just being a silly trend, the spinning action and visual stimulation of fidget spinners show promise in helping to reduce anxiety. Having a spinner in hand that can be spun quickly, slowly, or allowed to spin on its own gives anxious fingers something to do.

Fidget Cubes

The fidget cube is essentially a worry stone made modern, with various buttons, dials, switches and other movable parts designed specifically for fidgeting. The silicone or plastic cube provides tactile stimulation as users manipulate the different sides, pressing buttons, flipping switches, turning gears, or clicking. This is perfect for anxious hands that tend to seek out diversion.

Tangle Toys

Tangle toys are made of moldable plastic pieces woven together that can be pulled, twisted, flipped, rubbed, and shaped in endless ways. The bendable, tactile motion is excellent for occupying restless hands. For many, manipulating the tangle helps release nervous energy and tension in a focused, calming way.

Stress Balls

These soft, pliable balls made of rubber, foam, or other materials are designed to be gently squeezed and compressed. Slowly and rhythmically pressing a stress ball can have a soothing, meditative effect for anxious individuals. Texture variations like rubber spikes or smooth gel offer different tactile sensations.

Fidget Keychains

Attaching a small fidget toy to a keychain or bag creates easy access to anxiety relief. Keychain fidgets often contain metal or plastic beads that can be spun, rolled, and manipulated quietly. Some incorporate small spinners, gears, switches, chains, or other sensory toys to interact with. Keeping one on hand is useful for when anxiety surfaces unexpectedly.

Clicky Pens

Pens with tops that make a soft clicking noise when pressed are discreet, subtle fidgets. When anxiety builds, clicking a pen helps release nervous energy without making noise or drawing unwanted attention. Click pens are inexpensive and can be carried in a pocket or bag for accessibility.

Fidget Jewelry

There are various pieces of jewelry now designed specifically for fidgeting, like bracelets with spinning beads or textured surfaces and rings with movable bands. These give people an item attached to their body to manipulate that can easily be worked into any setting. Having something readily available can be invaluable when anxiety strikes.

When choosing a fidget toy to help with anxiety, texture and any movement or sound produced are key considerations. Pieces that are satisfying to stroke, squeeze, click, or spin can have great anxiety-relieving potential. Having multiple fidget options allows you to alternate as needed. It’s also beneficial to have toys in different sizes – some for home use and others more discreet and portable. Taking the time to explore different fidget toys to discover which are most effective for your needs can be extremely helpful in keeping anxiety at bay.