I didn’t have a research assistant to check this out, but it seems to me that stress-relief toys are significantly more abundant today than they were ten, twenty, fifty years ago, and so forth.
Stress balls have been around for awhile. But there are over 2,000 results for ‘sensory fidget toys’, and over 6,000 for ‘stress relief toys’ on Amazon today.
When you type in ‘stress relief toys’ on Amazon, the automatic first drop-down is ‘stress relief toys for adults‘.
What does this apparent explosion in popularity of kinetic sand, fidget spinners & cubes, and squishy things say about us?
It says that we are impatient. We are afraid or unable to sit still and be with ourselves. We have forgotten how much enjoyment can be found simply in nature, and how peaceful it can be to do … nothing.
Now I know that hurts some of you, who right now are saying, ‘but wait! I walk in nature all the time! I meditate too!’
(Those are just two modalities for relaxation. There are many, many others.)
The truth is that it’s not all one way or the other. I know that more and more people are realizing this every day, because I see more and more people, products, and services sprouting up on the side of reconnecting.
The toys, along with the screens, traffic, anxiety, and several other things are just the symptom, not the root cause.
You’ll never find what’s missing on Amazon. That’s why fidget spinners aren’t cool anymore. It’s not because they became cheap. It’s because they don’t work.
What’s missing is our connection to ourselves, our willingness to stop and look at what’s inside.
I know from personal experience that this can be scary.
But it is also the only way to achieve anything of beauty.