The new hot topic has been fidget spinners. Should I buy one for my child? Should I allow students to have them in the classroom? Does it help college students focus? Will it stop me from having a panic attack? What the heck even IS a fidget spinner?
I am here to answer all of those questions.
A fidget spinner is a new toy that has gotten very popular since it has been marketed to decrease anxiety. I just bought myself one since some of my young clients have told me repeatedly to get one for the office. I actually purchased it at ACE hardware since I was in need of screws (very exciting purchase, I know) and the fidget spinner was at the register looking at me. It said on the box, "Will help with anxiety". I splurged and bought it for $6.00 to see what the fuss is about.
I would describe the fidget spinner as a little metal toy that sits on a small turntable (pictured to the right). You then balance this toy on your thumb and watch it spin and spin and spin... It can become mesmerizing and make you loose your train of thought. It can also make you feel frustrated if it falls, stops spinning, or you get bored of it.
I have heard some debates between professionals on whether this is just a toy or can it actually help with anxiety. I agree that it can make you feel more calm for a few seconds, but I believe that it is just a toy. I don't think that this a cure for anxiety by any means. Wouldn't it be nice though to spin this colorful toy on our finger and then forget about the stress from the day?
I do believe a fidget spinner can help with concentration though. If a student is sitting in the classroom and having a hard time focusing, it can be helpful for them to have something to do with their hands. I usually suggest a stress ball, magnetic toys, or silly putty. I think the fidget spinner can help a student concentrate in a similar way. However, with the fidget spinner you put all of your concentration on really balancing it so it doesn't fall or stop spinning. So I think my previous suggestions would actually help a student concentrate better in class and feel less fidgety or anxious.
Unfortunately, there is no quick, easy fix for anxiety. It comes in all forms and every person is different. It could be a good idea to invest in a fidget spinner for your child, or even yourself. But it will not make your anxiety go away completely.
If you are feeling overwhelmed, anxious, or notice your child feels this way, feel free to reach out to me for a free consultation.
I will be posting more blog posts on what can actually help decrease anxiety. You can subscribe to my blog at the bottom of my website to get updates.
I'm curious to hear what you think! Leave a comment below on your thoughts about fidget spinners. Has it helped you feel less anxious?
Courtney Glashow, LCSW