Remember nerf balls? Back in the ‘old days’, they were the ultimate stress relief toys. You could bounce one off your annoying brother’s head without fear of putting his eye out or giving him a cracked skull, regardless of how much you felt he deserved it.
In recent years, the popularity of stress relief toys has grown exponentially, and so has their variety. One of the earliest types was similar to the nerf ball: a small and squishy thing that you could hold in your hand and squeeze whenever you felt stressed. Then there was the tiny basketball hoop that you could attach to your wall. For many, the ‘ball’ was a scrunched up memo they just received from their irritating boss.
Dart boards often carried the face of that obnoxious boss. A neatly aimed dart provided the satisfaction the disgruntled employee needed.
Since then, great strides have been made in the development of stress relief toys. Using science and human senses, toy manufacturers have come up with some amazing items that do more than just give you something to crush.
New products are made from fascinating materials that provide immediate stress relief when touched, squeezed or stretched. Stress balls now come in beanbag or liquid types, or even the Chinese type that you roll in your hand.
The great news is that those toys do work, and that they are inexpensive. Here are five you can try for yourself:
1. Massage Toys
Massage has long been proven to relieve stress and anxiety while improving mood. Stress massage toys can provide these benefits as well. You can pick up an animal-shaped hand held mini-massager and immediately feel relief. Plush toys have the same benefits and have been popular for generations.
2. Meditation Toys
Puzzles have provided millions of hours of relaxed enjoyment for people worldwide. They redirect your thoughts to problem solving in a non-stress environment. The Rubik’s Cube, for example, was extremely popular back in the ’70s, but for many it produced more stress than relaxation as it appeared unsolvable. More recently, manufacturers have become extremely creative. Puzzles come in new formats to challenge your skills. Building blocks must be put together to eliminate any spaces between them while creating interesting landscapes.
3. Interactive Toys
Gardeners will love the new Zen garden stress relief toys. These are small boxes containing different features: a backyard garden, a sandbox, a construction zone, and others. To relieve stress, simply reach in and work your scene. Haul rocks. Move sand. Clean pebbles.
4. Funny Toys
Humor is the best medicine, especially for stress relief. Manufacturers have jumped on this fact and created some humorous toys you can enjoy. One of the most popular is the rubber stick-on toys. These come in various comical shapes. The idea is to fling them at the walls, ceilings and doors to see how long they’ll stick. They have the added benefit of landing in odd and unpredictable positions that can be quite amusing.
5. Slinky Toys
Slinky toys are back, but now they come in plastic as well as the traditional material. This makes them ideal for use in think tanks because they help you to focus while providing stress relief. Plastic slinkies do not make much noise so you’re not likely to disturb the other thinkers in the room.