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By dassf Feb9,2024

What good ever came from maintaining the status quo, anyway?

Pop-its, fidget spinners, stress balls—using anxiety-reducing toys to occupy your hands for things like stress relief isn’t a new concept. But if you’ve been noticing more and more “adult” fidget spinners (and other fidget toys) for grown-ups, it’s because more and more brands are recognizing the need is there for adults with sensory needs, ADHD, autism, and those who just feel better when they keep their hands busy. The industry has expanded quite broadly to include some creative, engaging, and quite sophisticated stress relief gadgets to help you focus.

Are fidget toys actually useful?

Focus tools and fidget toys are an essential part of any psychology practice, says Serenity Serseción, PhD, licensed psychologist, practicing at LevelUpPsych in Sunnyvale, California, who has been a clinical psychologist for 15 years. “I use fidget toys constantly in my practice. I recommend them and have a box of them in my office during sessions,” says Dr. Sersecíon. “For anxiety, it is helpful by externalizing anxious energy, which lowers your anxiety, so your brain can focus. It has a similar but smaller effect to exercise when it is not possible, such as in a work situation.”

The thing is, sitting still and paying attention without other stimulation is hard for everyone, says Dr. Sersecíon, but some folks have a lower threshold than others. Think back to the last time you had a full schedule of Zoom meetings. You may have felt some morning anxiety along with feeling jittery, bored, or under-stimulated at some point. “Sometimes your brain needs more stimulation to stay focused. By using fidget toys, you are giving your brain something else to focus on,” says Dr. Sersecíon. That sensory input — like office-friendly fidget tools — can actually help you stay attentive even as your meeting drones on.

The nice part about these compact focus tools is they can be used very discreetly in online meetings and IRL, meaning they’re perfectly work-appropriate fidgets. They also contain a broad spectrum of features, which include different textures, repetitive movements, different shapes, and dexterity features. Most have unique fidget features, like a cube with several sides offering various options. Other toys have soft squishy textures if malleability is satisfying for you. When selecting these focus tools, it is really all about what works for you.

Your ideal relaxation gadget doesn’t necessarily have to be one of the trendy fidget devices — like pop-its, or fidget spinners. Even the most simple mindful desk accessories can help with

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