If you’re dealing with anxiety, you may find yourself fidgeting with your accessories. That could be your headphone case or anything you can get your hands on. In recent years, companies have worked to address this issue by offering fidget spinners and fidget rings, but these can be dismissed as children’s toys because of their colorful designs. We’re no longer limited to flashing fidget spinners, though: There’s a wide array of gadgets specifically designed to alleviate stress and anxiety, and here are the best ones.
There are no peer-reviewed studies that support the effectiveness of fidget toys for anxiety. However, anecdotally, people with anxiety, OCD and ADHD have seen benefits from fidget toys as they can help concentration and channel nervous energy. If you often bite your nails or bounce your knee in stressful situations, a fidget toy for anxiety can normalize fidgeting and help ease stress.
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Before fidget toys, we used to click our pens in the office when we were anxious. Enter the Fidgi Things Pen — a fidget toy made to be discreet. In addition to being a working pen, Fidgi has several fidget features, including a spin disk, a rolling ball, a click switch and a textured grip. With so many features, it earns our spot as the best fidget toy for the workplace.
I know what you’re thinking — I’ll spend $20 bucks on a fidget pen, but what happens when it runs out of ink? Thankfully, Fidgi Pens use the universal ink pen refill sticks. You can get a 30-pack on Amazon for under $10. It comes in various colors like slate, rose gold and blue.
Fidgi pen’s best features:
- There are seven special features: a pen click, side click switch, bouncy clip, spin disk, rolling ball, smooth dip and textured grip.
- The Fidgi Pen uses universal ink pen refills, so you’ll never need to buy another pen.
Things to consider:
- Since it has so many extra features, it’s a little chunkier than a normal pen. Writing with it may take some getting used to.
- Some reviews found that some parts broke after frequent use.
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For those who always want their fidget toy to be close at hand, consider an Alextina Anxiety Ring. What I like about this anxiety ring is how sleek it is; you really can’t tell it’s anything other than a ring, and it isn’t chunky on your finger. You have many design options — some have cutouts or embossed patterns, while others are classic gold or silver bands.
The concept of this anxiety ring is simple. You slip it on your finger like a normal ring, and when you feel anxious or stressed, you spin the outer band. It can help relieve stress or tension and help you focus anywhere — social situations, in the office or at home.
Alextina Anxiety Ring’s best features:
- This anxiety ring is made from stainless steel and is anti-allergy.
- Has a lifetime 100% money-back guarantee on Amazon.
Things to consider:
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The Appash Fidget Cube is one of my favorite fidget toys for anxiety. With six different sides equipped with unique fidget features, it’s got a lot of variety. The sides include click, glide, flip, breathe, roll and spin features. Three of the buttons on the Appash Fidget Cube make noise, while two are silent.
Like other fidget toys, it’s designed to give you something to do when you’re anxious or stressed. And I think it does that really well. The variety of mechanisms gives you the option to find your go-to anxiety reliever — mine is the switch. And if personalization is your thing, you can opt for a fidget cube in all types of colors and patterns.
Appash Fidget Cube’s best features:
- It’s made from soft, textured rubber and is small enough to take on the go.
- The Appash Fidget Cube is a budget-friendly option at only $7 on Amazon.
Things to consider:
- It’s a cube, making slipping into your pocket awkward. It would likely need to be kept in a bag when away from the home or office.
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The Fidgetland Nolah toy is a discreet fidget gadget that’s easy to slip into your pocket. It looks like a bike chain with two interlocking rings that glide over each other when moved. The links that hold it together feature silicone bands that move, which creates a mini treadmill for your fingers. This fidget toy is small, so you can use it anywhere, even while your hand is in your pocket.
Fidgetland Noah’s best features:
- Many reviews praise this fidget toy for its durability and quality construction.
- The Fidgetland Noah toy is small enough to slip into your pocket for discreet use.
Things to consider:
- It’s a little more expensive than most of the other options on the list at $15.
The Tangle Therapy Relax Toy is a long, interconnected loop fidget toy. It’s designed to be twisted, reshaped and taken apart. It’s also available in ridged textures, which is great for people who prefer tactile sensations to help them relax. It’s a great option for adults and kids, and it is often recommended for classrooms because it doesn’t make any noise.
Tangle Therapy Relax Toy’s best features:
Things to consider:
- This fidget toy comes apart, which could introduce a choking hazard for smaller children.
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While they aren’t limited to only children, the Pop Fidget Toy relieves anxiety with rows of poppable bubbles. Think of it as reusable bubble wrap that never loses the coveted “pop.” The Pop Fidget Toys come in all shapes, sizes and colors, making them the best fidget toy for kids with anxiety. Popular shapes include ice cream cones, fruit and dinosaurs. They also come in small, travel-size fidget toys that can clip to backpacks or belts.
This sensory toy promotes relaxation and concentration as you push the bubbles until they pop. Then you flip it over and repeat. They offer the repetition that some with anxiety, ADHD and OCD benefit from.
Pop Fidget Toy’s best features:
- This product is made from high-quality silicone that’s easy to clean.
- They are great for kids and adults who need to relieve stress or focus.
Things to consider:
- They are not as discreet as other fidget toys for anxiety. However, there are simple keychain options.
- In my experience, the Pop Fidget Toys don’t pop like bubble wrap. While some favor that, those who want the auditory distraction may expect more.
How we chose the best fidget toys
The jury is still out on scientific support for fidget toys reducing anxiety. When choosing the best fidget toys, we considered a few key factors, including the price, construction, durability, and user reviews. Only fidget toys with generally positive reviews were included.
Things to consider when buying a fidget toy:
- How often you’ll use it: If you plan to use your fidget toy a lot, you need one that is durable and will stand up to significant use. When shopping, make sure you assess what it’s made from and read reviews on the quality of construction.
- Where you’ll use it: Depending on where you will use it to help relieve anxiety, you may want your fidget toy to be discreet. For instance, if you’re planning to use it at work, you may opt for a ring or necklace that passes for normal jewelry.
- How it feels: The material of your fidget toy is important if you plan to use it to help ease stress. Some options are made from metal, silicone or plastic and offer different textures.
Frequently asked questions
The name is deceiving, but fidget toys aren’t toys in the traditional sense. Fidget toys or gadgets help you focus and relieve stress and anxiety by way of repetitive action. They are typically small, handheld and easily transportable. Oftentimes, they have buttons or clickers that help you dispel nervous energy.
Can fidget toys help anxiety?
There is little scientific evidence outside of anecdotal support that fidget toys help with anxiety. Still, it can help some people focus on breathing and lessen anxiety symptoms. Fidget toys can alleviate anxiety by distracting you from negative thoughts and giving you an outlet for nervous energy. Those with OCD are often comforted by repetitive actions to offset obsessive thoughts and anxieties. Fidget toys can provide immediate relief to these symptoms.
Fidgeting is a natural and beneficial short-term stress reliever. These gadgets give you something to do when you’re feeling stressed. They won’t help you get to the bottom of your anxiety, but they can help you manage symptoms throughout the day.
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What is the best type of fidget toy?
There is a lot of variety in the fidget toy market — from squishy stress balls to stylish necklaces. With such a wide range of options, it’s difficult to crown a specific type of fidget toy as being the best. It will depend on preferences and fidgeting habits. The various types of fidget toys include but are not limited to fidget cubes and puzzles, wearable options like rings and necklaces, silicone poppers and stress balls.
What is the best fidget toy for kids?
Many of the fidget toys on the market are small and, as such, are unsuitable for children. When choosing the best fidget toy for kids, you want to avoid options with small parts they can put in their mouths. Many fidget toys — like pop-its — are soft and easy to clean, making them perfect for kids.
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The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.