In today’s fast-paced world, things can get kind of stressful, and we don’t always have the time to step back and sort out our emotions. Instead, for the most part, we’re expected to just keep going whether we’re comfortable or not. Luckily, there are stress relief toys made specifically to help you dispel stress and cope with your emotions on the go.
But there are a lot of different kinds, and which one is right for you really depends on your own situation. In this guide, we’ll go over the factors you should consider when deciding which of stress toy is right for you. At the end, if you’re still having a hard time going through the options, we’ve also got a list of our 10 favorites to help you get started.
How to Choose a Stress Relief Toy – Buying Guide
Stress is a very personal experience, and the situations we become stressed in differ. So keep in mind your own feelings of stress as well as the underlying stressors as you consider what toy might be the best for you.
Choose a Type of Toy Based on Your Type of Stress
Stress manifests itself in different ways for different people, so you want to be sure the stress relief toy that you choose fits your individual needs.
Pick a Concentration Toy for Anxious Stress
For those who suffer from anxiety or stress that causes you to overthink and panic, a toy that requires concentration can help to distract you from those feelings. By concentrating on something else, you refocus your thoughts, which prevents you from overthinking and lets you mull things through without that lens of panic.
Concentration toys often come in the form of building block-type toys as well as puzzles or even coloring books. Just make sure that the toy you choose doesn’t make you more frustrated and that it doesn’t distract you from eventually getting your work done.
Pick a Fidget Toy for Nervousness and Restlessness
Fidget toys allow you to mindlessly move your hands (or sometimes even your feet) to dispel restlessness or extra energy as well as physically release stress. For some, they can also help to increase concentration by adding a physical level of involvement to what would otherwise be passive reception.
These can sometimes overlap with concentration toys, and if you find that you react to a variety of stressors, having a toy that both occupies your mind and gives you physical release could be good.
Pick a Stress Ball Toy for High Tension
Stress balls are probably the first things that come to mind when you think of stress relief toys. Stress balls can come in a ton of different shapes, sizes, and textures, but they’re all meant to be squeezed or otherwise handled roughly to help you deal with negative emotions. Tightening and releasing your muscles can help to alleviate physical tension and stimulate endorphin release.
Find the Right Size for Your Space
Think about where you’ll keep your stress toy–in your pocket? On your desk? On a shelf? When deciding on a stress toy, don’t forget that it’s something that should be on hand during your most stressful moments and not something that you need to actively search for. With that in mind, look for a toy that you’ll be able to keep with you wherever you need it.
Ensure That It Won’t Distract Your Neighbors
If you’re working in an office or classroom setting, sounds and lights can be distracting to the people around you (which can potentially cause even more stress). So if you’re in a space that requires you to be in fairly close proximity with other people, it’s best to look for a toy that won’t be too distracting to others.
Of course, if that’s not a concern for you, go crazy!
Top 10 Best Stress Relief Toys to Buy Online
Now that you know what to look for, here are our 10 favorites for you to consider.
10. Playvisions Giant Stress Ball
Giant, Malleable Stress Ball
This gigantic stress ball is super soft and malleable. It can be molded into various shapes and will slowly return to its original spherical figure. It’s great for those who just want to take out some frustration or need a large-scale kinetic distraction.
However, some reviewers note that the ball may come apart soon after opening the box (though if it doesn’t right away, it probably won’t ever). Plus, it’s pretty big and might be visually distracting to others in close proximity.
9. Miniature Editions Desktop Tetherball
Let Off Steam with a Game of Tetherball
For those who just want to go outside and play but find themselves trapped in an office all day, this might be the next best thing. This desktop tetherball kit is great for mindlessly flicking or for taking a work break with a deskmate.
While it would probably make for pretty cool desk decor, note that playing with it might distract your neighbors. Additionally, the base isn’t too heavy, so if the game gets too rowdy, the pole might topple over.
|Size||2″ x 2″ x 9″|
8. Minilop Moon Drop Fidget
Simple Desktop Fidget for Science Lovers
These three little metal devices represent the relative gravity on Earth, Mars, and the Moon. Flick them up and watch them visually demonstrate the laws of physics as they come down at different speeds.
All three of these are also magnetic and can easily stack or balance them together. These could make a great, non-distracting desktop fidget that doubles as cool decoration.
|Size||0.7″ x 3″ (each)|
7. Impresa Products Mesh-and-Marble Fidget Toy
Super Simple Fidget Toys to Keep Anywhere
These super simple fidget toys are simply a marble in a tube of mesh. They’re meant to be played with between your fingers to help you keep moving and stay calm and focused.
They’re small and come in a pack of eight, which makes them perfect for stashing anywhere you might find yourself needing them. On top of that, they’re durable and made from BPA-free plastic.
|Size||3.5″ long (each)|
6. Serenilite Hand Therapy Stress Ball
Smaller Stress Ball Made with Durable Gel Filling
This stress ball is smaller than most, making it easier to grip and play with between your fingers. It is super durable as it is filled with gel rather than foam, which can quickly break down with too much squeezing.
It has good resistance without being difficult to squeeze. The outer fabric layer is made from easy-to-clean nylon in case it gets a little too much action.
5. Joeyank Infinity Cube
For the Fidgeter Who Likes More Complex Movement
This high-quality metal cube is actually made up of 8 smaller cubes connected with joints that allow you to roll it open and closed in various directions. It’s great as a fidget toy with slightly more complex movements.
As it is made fully from metal, it will make some sound–reviewers liken it to change in a pocket. People with smaller hands may also find it difficult to use with one hand.
|Size||4″ x 2″ x 1″ (extended)|
4. MagneBalls Magnetic Ball Set
Magnetic Balls to Make Any Shape
These little magnetic balls can be manipulated to make almost any shape you can think of. This toy would do well for mindless movement as well as more concentrated design efforts.
This toy comes in several different colors including multi-color sets, which could make for some fun patterns. However, each ball is only 5 millimeters in diameter, and even together they make up a pretty small cube.
|Size||2″ x 2″ x 2″|
3. Kotaro Pro Bamboo Kendama
Japanese Game that Requires Full Concentration
A kendama is a Japanese toy that involves trying to catch and balance a wooden ball on the attached handle. There are four different ways you can catch it, and it actually takes quite a bit of concentration as well as hand-eye coordination.
This toy is a great distraction as it will pull you completely from your thoughts. However, it does require quite a bit of space for swinging the ball and will likely create some noise (if you can get the ball anywhere near the handle, that is!).
2. Dammit Doll Classic
Take All of Your Frustrations Out on This Doll
This ugly-cute doll with extra tough material and stitching is made to be abused. Twist it, throw it, smash it, or even bite it–this doll can take all of your anger, stress, and frustration.
It comes in one of several random patterns (but if you want one with a specific design, those are available too). Due to the nature of this toy, this one might be best saved for private use.
|Type||Stress ball (kind of)|
1. Chuchik Fidget Cube
Something for Every Kind of Fidgeter
This little device has six different action functions on it–flip, roll, glide, spin, rub, and click–and can fit easily into your pocket. It feels smooth and comfortable in your hand and is built to take a lot of wear and tear.
Despite all of the movement with very tactile feedback, it is surprisingly quiet and can be used discretely in almost any setting. It also comes with a 100% money back guarantee if you’re unhappy with it.
|Size||2″ x 2″ x 2″|
Why Are Stress Relief Toys So Helpful?
We all know that playing with our fingers and squeezing things helps to calm us, but why? Well, the different kinds of toys each serve different stress relief purposes.
Concentration toys are pretty self-explanatory–they distract you from whatever’s bothering you and give you a quick mental vacation, so to speak. Plus, putting off a stressful task and giving it time to stew in your subconscious often germinates new ideas.
Physical toys like fidgets and stress balls offer a different kind of escape. Feelings of stress evolved as a response to physical danger and would trigger a fight or flight instinct (that’s the feeling of anger or restlessness you feel in stressful situations).
However, in modern times, we can’t exactly just run away or punch an annoying boss in the nose, so we end up with all of this energy trying to get out. Which is where stress relief toys come in!
Finding the right stress relief toy can make a world of difference in your work or school life in terms of productivity as well as your overall feelings towards being there. However, while stress relief toys may help us to deal with the everyday annoyances and anxieties of life, if you become overwhelmed, it’s best to seek professional help.
By Jacqueline Oshiro
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