Manage Your Anxiety Symptoms With the Help of Stress Balls

Are you feeling anxious, nervous or overwhelmed? We’ve all been there. A deadline at work, financial strains and fights with family or friends can all cause stress that can sometimes feel debilitating. There are several methods of stress management that doctors and mental health professionals recommend, and successful strategies differ from person to person. There’s one method that costs less than $10, can be carried in your purse or briefcase and is helpful for adults and children. Have you tried using a stress ball to reduce your nerves? 

What Is Stress

Stress is any type of change that “causes physical, emotional or psychological strain” on your body. This strain may manifest in a headache, muscle tension, fatigue, chest pain or sleep problems. You may notice your mood shifting as well—are you more irritable than usual, unmotivated or restless? These are all symptoms that may indicate you’re experiencing stress. 

You can’t avoid stress completely, but you can manage it more effectively to reduce uncomfortable symptoms, minimizing its impact on your daily life. Stress balls might be an option for you to help manage symptoms of minor stresses. 

What Are Stress Balls?

Stress balls are small toys filled with rubber, gel, foam or other objects meant to create a “squishy” texture that allows for the holder to squeeze, twist or manipulate the ball. Stress balls were created to give people an outlet for their anxiety, and studies show they can work. What makes them effective? Squeezing the toy gives your body the chance to release some of that pent-up pressure in a tangible way. Your muscles contract and release in your hand and arm, freeing some of the strain held throughout the rest of your body into the object in your hand, forcing you to relax. Stress balls can also distract your mind away from your stress, so you’re not focusing on the cause of your anxiety. 

How Should I Use Stress Balls?

There are several ways you can use your stress ball to manage your symptoms.

  1. Place the stress ball on a hard, flat surface and roll the ball, curling your fingers into it as you rotate it across the surface. Squeeze the foam tightly for a few seconds before releasing it. Repeat as necessary.

2. Place the ball between your hands while your arms are extended vertically into the air, squeeze the ball for a few seconds, then relax. Repeat as necessary. 

3. Probably the most straightforward technique, grab the ball in your hand as you walk or sit at your desk and simply squeeze it tightly for several seconds. Repeat as needed.

Other Uses of Stress Balls

Stress balls aren’t just used to alleviate anxiety. For people suffering from arthritis, stress balls are an option to try and reduce inflammation in the hands and wrists. Moving your muscles and exercising are recommended to help reduce the pain associated with the condition. For patients undergoing physical therapy treatments, stress balls provide rehabilitation and exercises that can strengthen the muscles in their hands, wrists or arms. Stress balls can also be used by patients receiving cancer treatments to maintain muscle strength during chemotherapy.  

For less than a fast food meal, you can try out a stress ball yourself. If you’re still having trouble managing your stress levels, talk to your Coryell Health primary care provider about lifestyle changes you can make to boost your mood and reduce your day-to-day tension.