These days you might notice your co-workers, classmates, or friends playing with a variety of small fidget toys while going about their day. Often called fidget toys, these items are aimed to help redirect extra energy a person may possess and find a way to reduce their worries. They might come in the form of squishy toys, usually composed of polyurethane and formed into the shape of an easily identified object like a smiley face or piece of fruit. From weighted blankets to meditations apps, these anxiety-reducing products are on the rise, according to The Guardian.
The idea of a simple object being used to relieve anxieties was originally brought about in 1988 by a television writer named Alex Carswell. In times of a stress he found himself with excess energy wanting to throw objects in his office. That’s when he came up with the idea of a stress ball. They were quite simple in design, usually just a foamy ball in various products for the owner to squeeze when they felt stressed. Although they seemed to be most popular among children who liked to collect them, they seemed to work. These types of products have now existed in various forms for years.
Feel better now? The rise and rise of the anxiety economy https://t.co/TL4Kp5JiwQ
— The Guardian (@guardian) March 10, 2019
In 2015 a study was conducted on patients who were about to have surgery. Prior to their surgery, they were unsurprisingly anxious about the procedure. When they were given stress balls to squeeze, many of the patients claimed to be “less anxious.”
What is it about these simple products that have them flying off the shelves? Dr, Kathleen Hall, founder of the Stress Institute, says that the science behind the phenomenon is actually quite simple.
“When you’re stressed, your body tightens up. So a physical release helps to let go of some of that energy.”
In 2017 fidget spinners began selling on Amazon, creating a new craze. They came in all colors and designs, including some that glowed in the dark. They proved to be beneficial for children that had trouble focusing in school, stressed employees, as well as those with Autism and ADHD. This phenomenon took the growing anxiety economy to the next level.
Those hoping to utilize a product to reduce stress may opt for a weighted blanket. These products are sold by a variety of different retailers and can be found online. This item is typically a simple fleece blanket that might weigh as much as 15 pounds and is comprised of glass beads to distribute the weight evenly across the body.
Whether you’re in the market for a fidget spinner or looking to try out a weighted blanket, there are plenty of anxiety-reducing products you can choose from to find peace of mind.