Stress is something that most of us experience daily. Unfortunately, stress can impact your physical and mental health, leading to reduced work performance, increased absences, financial burden, and negative relationships.
How can you deal with stress in a fun, inexpensive way? Well, one effective way is to play with stress-relieving toys. These toys can help you by providing a distraction, relieving muscle tension, or allowing you to let out your frustrations.
Keep reading to learn more about 10 of the best stress-relieving toys available.
This is definitely the year of the fidget spinner. These small ball-bearing toys, which you can rotate between your fingers, come in a variety of shapes and colors. Most have three spokes, but some resemble a ninja star. They are marketed as a useful device for those with anxiety or ADHD. So, how do they do this?
Well, for those with ADHD, it may provide sensory stimulation or a distraction. This means that it may also distract individuals with anxiety from worrying. Playing with the toys is often associated with a soothing feeling.
If you don’t already own a fidget spinner, but would like to try it, you can purchase one on Amazon, Wal-Mart (or any store that sells toys), and even at your local convenience store. Fidget spinners are typically under $10, but some fancier ones can cost up to $20.
Fidget cubes are a small, six-sided toy designed to help you focus (just like fidget spinners). Each side of the cube features something different — buttons to click, a joystick you can glide, a switch to flip, a dial to spin, gears to roll, and so on.
Similar to fidget spinners, fidget cubes may help those of you who can’t keep your fingers still while trying to perform a task. Studies have shown that fidgeting relieves stress, allowing individuals to solve problems better. It may also increase memory, creativity, and blood flow.
Fidget cubes can be purchased on Amazon or at department stores such as Target and Wal-Mart. They are in the same price range as fidget spinners — typically $3 to $20.
While we’re on the subject of geometric shapes that relieve stress, we’ve got to mention Buckyballs. These are a set of 125 or 216 small magnetic balls, which can be arranged to create different 3D sculptures or 2D artwork. They come in different styles, including nickel, black nickel, and gold plated.
Buckyballs may help to relieve stress in a number of ways. For example, they may provide a feeling of accomplishment and pride when you successfully create a structure you enjoy looking at. They also provide a unique tactile sensation and give you the opportunity to distort them, allowing you to let out any negative moods or creative urges you may have. There is also a theory that the magnetic fields created by Buckyballs may help relieve stress.
The price range for this stress-relieving toy is $10 to $40. They can be bought online (at Amazon), MindGames, Toys “R” Us, and most department stores.
The Buddha Board is a 12-inch by 9.5-inch white board, which is mounted on a tray that holds water. You can “paint” images on the board using water and a brush. The image turns black, but disappears as the water evaporates.
The Buddha Board is based on the Zen concepts of living in the moment and letting go of the past. Once your image has disappeared, you are also left with a clear mind. Research has shown that art has a therapeutic effect, as well. One study found that 45 minutes of painting may alleviate stress.
The Buddha Board costs $35 to $40, but there are mini versions that sell for about $16. They can be purchased online at Amazon, Chapters (or Indigo), and Barnes & Noble. You can also download a Buddha Board app on iTunes for free.
Tangle Therapy is a twistable device consisting of 20 rubber-coated, interconnected pieces. You can rotate and twist the pieces to your heart’s content.
Tangle Therapy was created to help young people who spend too much time on the phone and experience hand pain as a result. But, it can also reduce stress and anxiety through repetitive twisting. The rubber also has raised bumps which provide tactile stimulation.
Tangle Therapy costs $5 to $13 and can be found online (at Amazon or Tangle Creations) and at Wal-Mart.
Baoding balls, also known as Chinese therapy balls, may be one of the oldest stress-relieving toys out there. They were created in China between 1368 and 1644. They are two small, metal balls which can be rotated repeatedly to reduce stress and put users into a meditative mindset. To use them, you should hold both balls in one hand and push them simultaneously to rotate them. When the balls touch each other, they make a clinking sound.
These balls are thought to stimulate acupressure points. The Chinese also believe that the sound of the balls can help to balance Chi (the force of energy which is present in all living things).
Baoding balls range in price from $6 to $13 and can be bought online (at Amazon or websites specializing in meditation), Wal-Mart, or specialty health shops.
Stress balls are the classic stress-relieving toy. They are so popular and inexpensive that they have earned a reputation as the workplace freebie.
Stress balls are soft and typically the size of a tennis ball — although, you can now purchase giant stress balls. They come in various colors and designs (some are not even shaped like a ball!). Most stress balls are made with foam-rubber, but some are made with squeezable beads or gel.
So, how do stress balls relieve tension? Well, squeezing the ball activates your hand muscles, but releasing the ball allows the muscles to relax. Repeating this motion helps to release tension, making you feel soothed.
You can purchase stress balls at the dollar store, stationery stores (such as Staples or Office Max), book stores, or Wal-Mart. They range in price from $1 to $15, depending on the size and material.
Desktop Punching Bag
Sometimes, you might feel so stressed out that you just want to punch something! Fortunately, desktop punching bags exist, so you can do just that. This stress-relieving toy is exactly what it sounds like — a small, upright punching bag connected to a spring, which attaches to your desk with a suction cup.
When you hit this punching bag, your brain releases neurotransmitters called endorphins. These are also known as the “feel-good” hormones. Furthermore, this action relieves tension and can be cathartic. For example, you may imagine someone you are angry at while punching the bag to deal with anger in a healthier way. Of course, this strategy is most effective when combined with mental expressions of anger, such as talking to the person you have anger towards.
Desktop punching bags are typically just under $20, and can be purchased on Amazon or at Best Buy.
Bubble Wrap Keychain
Don’t you just love popping bubble wrap? There’s something so satisfying about it!
The makers of the bubble wrap keychain are aware of this, which is why they created this fun stress-relieving toy. When it first hit the markets in 2016, it was the world’s only electronic bubble wrap simulator. It features eight buttons which, when pushed, make a popping sound and emulate the sensation of bubble wrap popping.
Research has shown that those who popped bubble wrap felt calmer and more alert than those who did not. Pressing the buttons on the bubble wrap keychain, similar to popping bubble wrap, may help to reduce stress since it is a way of relieving muscle tension.
You can purchase an electronic bubble wrap keychain for about $6 at Target, Toys “R” Us, Wal-Mart, or Amazon.
Begleri, also known as worry beads, originated in Greece. It is a short piece of string, with beads at both ends. The beads may be copper, stainless steel, or titanium. The toy can be flipped or twirled to relieve stress, and keep the hands busy (which is great for those who have trouble focusing).
Worry beads can be purchased on Amazon for $20 to $55, depending on the materials used.