For most of us, stress has become quite the norm of our daily lives. It is almost as common as breathing. Stress also comes in many forms: from the daily grind of juggling our work, our relationships, and our personal lives, to those aches and pains that come along with it. Who would have thought that squeezing a small ball can actually help? And we do need all the help we can get in battling stress.
Stress balls are not only helpful in times that we’re tense and in need to blow off some steam (like stopping the urge to throw the ball at the person who caused the stress). Stress balls also help control fidgets, or those random, seemingly uncontrollable but sometimes annoying habits that we do when we are restless, nervous, bored, or agitated. It helps us focus on the task at hand by mindlessly squeezing the life out of it. Studies have also shown that stress balls also help people who are suffering carpal tunnel syndrome and other hand injuries by strengthening the hand muscles.
Just as stressors have evolved over time, stress balls now come in different shapes and sizes. Most are not even balls and are now more commonly known as fidget toys. Let’s pick out the best stress relievers.
Zekpro Anti-Anxiety 360 Spinner
It is a plastic fidget spinner with a 3-inch diameter with high-speed Abec 7 bearings. Its smooth edges make it and ideal toy even for small hands. It can spin for one to three minutes on hand and on a table. It can be spun by holding the spinner with the thumb and middle finger in one hand and using the other hand to strike the toy to spin.
However, with its small size, the toy can be spun by using only one hand. Unlike other spinners in the market, the Zekpro 360 Spinner has rounded edges and smooth surface that make handling easier and safer. It is a perfect toy to control fidgeting and quiet enough to put in a pocket and bring anywhere.
Oliasports Fidget Cube
This fidget toy is made of high-quality plastic, with a dimension of 1.8 x 1.8 x 1.8 inches. While you can only do one thing with a stress ball, this cubed wonder lets you do different things. On one side, you can click five buttons– three that can be clicked audibly and two silenced buttons. On another side, there is a joystick with a smooth, flat top that can be clicked and slid around. Another face of the cube has a switch that can be flipped back and forth. Another side has a smooth, round, indented surface– like a worry stone for your thumb to smooth over. There are also three tactile gears and a clickable smooth ball on another side of the cube.The last face of it allows you to spin a rotating dial.
This busy toy is small enough for children to use and discreet enough to bring anywhere. It is also useful for children and adults who have ADHD and anxiety as it helps improve focus on whatever task is at hand.
The Friendly Swede Hand, Finger, and Grip Strengthening Therapy Stress Balls
Don’t let its egg-shaped, multi-colored cuteness fool you, these eggs mean business. These balls are not only good to relieve stress and anxiety, it is also great for exercising your hand and fingers while building hand and grip strength at a more healthy pace. It can even be used to relieve the discomfort caused by arthritis and other hand injuries. Included in the pack is a simple exercise guide and the creator’s website also offers instructional videos for its use.
The balls are made from latex and BPA free thermoplastic rubber and come in two sizes, small and large. The small eggs are 6.3×4.4 cm in size and come in three colors: yellow, red, and blue. The yellow has the softest resistance, with the red in the middle, and the blue one with the firmest resistance. The large eggs are 7.7×5.5cm in size and come in three colors: orange, green, and black. The orange has the softest resistance, with the green in the middle, and the blue one with the firmest resistance. A 6″ hand measured from the base of the palm to the tip of the middle finger with 3″ measurement across the palm can easily hold and use the smaller sized eggs. So if you have larger hands, you have the option to go for the larger ones.
A little reminder though before using this for therapy, please do consult your doctor or therapist before using this product to ensure safety.
Gaiam Restore Hand Therapy Exercise Ball Kit
These balls are sized at 8.4×6.1×2.4 inches. It comes in a pack of three, with varying resistance: the lime green is the softest, the blue one with medium resistance, and the black is the firmest of the three. It is made of gel-type rubber, which can feel sticky at first, but gradually it becomes smoother after more usage. The pack also includes a full-color, illustrated exercise guide that can help improve hand and grip strength and can help with stiffness, joint pain, and other issues of the hands and fingers.
SUCK UK Stress Ball Paul
Having a scapegoat around to destress on is not a bad idea, especially one as ingenious as Paul. Paul is made from soft, silicone rubber and can withstand all the stress you pour out on him. This stress-buster measures 2.4 x 3.1 x 1.4 inches cm is a handy pal to bring around in your bag and cool enough to leave on your desk. This quirky stress ball is also a unique gift item for those family and friends who would find having a curled-in-a-fetal-position-naked-rubber-man funny and endearing.
What to Look For
As stress balls come in different forms and sizes, picking out the right one for you can be quite a stress in itself! Worry not, and read on to know what to consider in picking out just the right stress ball that can weather whatever curves life throws at you.
- Budget – Sure, you may have the budget to buy the top of the fad stress ball out there, but stop and think for a moment. Would it really be worth splurging on? Before deciding on what to buy, consider first if the item is really worth the price. Check other items that may have the same features as the one you like but might actually be cheaper. There are a lot of knock-off items online that are actually made with high-quality materials. Read the reviews first and see what others who had already bought the item think about it.
- Size – Not all hands are created equal, just as no stress ball is ever the same as another. Consider the size and weight of each ball. Try to imagine it on your hands. Would it be comfortable? Will you be able to move it adeptly? Compare it with other stress balls. Remember that no description and review you find online can compare to your subjective review of the item.
- Type – Do you need a fidget toy? If so, would you prefer the cube with its many features or the spinner? Or would you want a plain old ball that you can squeeze to your heart’s content? If you want a ball, do you want the egg-shaped one? Do you want it to bounce or not? Do you want it soft, or firm? There are so many kinds of stress balls out there, make a choice that would fit the most to what you want.
- Use – What do you need your stress ball for? If you have ADHD or anxiety, having one in hand at all times is a must. Do you need it for a hand injury like carpal tunnel? Then you need something that can improve your hand dexterity and strength. There are even some stress balls that can be heated and cooled for your comfort and need. Some fidget toys are also useful for children and students. It helps them occupied and keeps them focused on their task. Look for the stress ball that would be most useful to you, one that will not just gather dust on your desk.
- Appeal – Of course, it is important to own a stress ball that is aesthetically pleasing for you. Who would want to be caught dead squeezing something that looks like your dog’s chew toy, right? For a teacher that needs some fidget toys to help her students, perhaps she would pick those that are colorful and attractive to kids. For office use, something that is discreet would be more appropriate, one that would not show your boss that he is making you anxious. Find one that fits your need and your personality. Doing so would make your choice not only be useful to you but would also make you happy.
So this concludes our list of top stress balls. Remember to consider the prize, size, type, use, and appeal of it before making your choice. Don’t be pressured to buy the latest of what is out there. Your stress ball is your companion, so your choice matters. Who knows, maybe you will find that a plain old tennis ball might do the trick for you.