Fidget toys were originally designed to reduce anxiety, stress, and improve focus. Although they look like simple toys, many adults are crazy about them and several people collect fidget toys as their hobby.
However, is it really true that fidget toys are helpful for stress relief and anxiety?
Well, let’s find out together.
What are Fidget Toys?
Fidget toys are self-regulation tools that help people boost attention and focus while also reducing stress. They're made to help people with anxiety, relax while also encouraging active listening. The toys themselves come in a wide range of forms, sizes, and textures, as well as being tailored toward various purposes, such as spinners, cubes, tangles, balls, or rings.
Fidget toys have gained tremendous levels of popularity in recent years and they are most famous for those who have trouble staying still. Scientific research is still going on to address the impact of fidget toys on anxiety, stress, and restlessness. Movements like spinning, rotating, and popping are relaxing for some people.
Similar gadgets like fidgets had been invented as early as 1993 and in Ming Dynasty China, Baoding balls were introduced which could be rotated repeatedly to stimulate a soothing effect.
Do Fidget Toys Really Help with Stress Relief and Anxiety?
There is evidence that focusing on movement increases the concentration or attention span of an ordinary adult. Fidget toys do the same. They increase the attention span of an adult which is 15 on average. Besides, studies have found that fidgeting helps to reduce stress significantly and has the same effect as playing with hairs or scratching the head.
Fidget toys remove nervousness thus, increasing focus. Playing with fidgets allows you to take a break to relieve your mind which consequently boosts productivity and mental health. Disorders like ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) mostly affect the hands and cause shaking and cramping. Fidget toys can keep your hands busy and calm your mind and reduce the frequency of these attacks. One thing to be noted here is that these toys are not the treatment for anxiety, stress, and ADHD.
Despite being a distraction for others, fidget toys are super beneficial for some. Fidgeting is not confined to specialized fidget toys like a spinner. Clicking a ballpen, again and again, popping the bubble wrap, and playing with a paperclip are examples of fidgeting.
Let's take the example of a fidget spinner. Holding it from the middle and balancing it on the finger requires focus and controlled hands. Many teachers banned fidget spinners back in 2017 because they distracted students. This may be true because some students may not like distractions during learning but it is also evident that fidget toys are extremely helpful.
Further study is still needed, therapists' practical experience and self-reflections from both adults and children show that fidget toys might be beneficial for emotional and cognitive support. Research proves that movement is necessary for learning and most children learn better when their hands are active.
Certain types of anxiety disorders need repetitive movements just like that of fidget toys to keep the patient calm but it is not an alternative to proper treatment. Continuous movements with hands can keep the brain stem alert which is responsible for tasks like heartbeat and respiration. These toys divert the attention of patients suffering from stress disorders and keep them calm.
Tactile fidget gadgets may help kids with behavioral and emotional issues learn to calm themselves and regulate their emotions, according to some studies.
When buying a fidget, you must consider its effect on your child. Maybe your child likes a calm environment with no distractions. You must consider the look and feel of the fidget,