Do Stress Balls Work?

Feeling stressed? Do you think you could burst at the seams? Are you overwhelmed with anxiety and mental pressure that’s building inside of you?

If so, it sounds like you should do something about that. Stress management is a crucial part of mental health. Moreover, you can’t go around like a ticking time bomb waiting to explode. You have to do something instead and deal with those feelings before they overwhelm you.

If you’re one of the people who often have problems with anger and stress management, then you’ve probably heard of promotional stress balls. Furthermore, depending on your level of control, people probably offered them to you more on more than one occasion!

Useful And Eye-catching Promotional Products

Printed stress balls are a fun and easy way to manage stress. People love them so much that they quickly became one of the most popular promotional products. Printing your company logo on a squishy stress ball can do wonders for brand awareness, visibility, and promotion.

One of the oldest stress relievers out there, stress balls spread like wildfire. Nowadays, they are a must-have in almost every office, institution, and home. Every high-stress environment will have at least one of these bad boys lying around. However, that only proves that they are popular. But do they actually work?

 

A Walk Down Memory Lane – The Baoding Balls

Before we dive into answering the burning question, let’s take a quick look at the past. Did you think that corporate hedgers invented the stress ball to deal with their high-pressure jobs? Think again. Like many great inventions, the stress ball originated in China, the land of the imaginative. Original stress balls were known under the name of Baoding Balls back then.

However, in the good old days of ancient China, stress balls didn’t look as cute as they do today. Instead, they had a more sleek, elegant, and simple look. The colours were in natural tones, not the bright, bold designs we know and love today. What’s more, those stress balls were made from wood or metal. Their primary purpose wasn’t to squeeze them. Instead, people rolled them around in their hands while meditating and relieving stress.

The Toned-down Version Of The Modern Stress Ball

Although not colourful and squishy, ancient stress balls had some flair to them. They often had bells and chimes. While rolling the stress balls, the chimes would produce a lovely, relaxing sound. That aided the stress relief factor.

Much like their modern counterparts, Baoding Balls brought about peace and tranquillity. Their primary purpose was to balance the inner energy known as Chi. In current terms, they relieved stress, anxiety, and mental pressure.

Furthermore, Baoding Balls were great physical therapy for hands as well. Their texture, size, and shape did great things for worn out palms. These balls improved circulation and eased the tension in the muscles.

 

A History Lesson Is  Lovely, But Get To The Point – Do Stress Balls Work?

If you’re looking for a short answer, then YES. Not only do stress balls and the many different styles of printed stress toys work, but there’s also scientific evidence that will back that statement up. It’s not just hear-say we’re operating under. Scientists from all over the world did extensive studies to determine whether these items had a positive influence on stress management.

Here’s the thing. Stress affects our health and messes up our whole system. Your brain can’t function properly when you are stressed because a lot of effort and energy goes into focusing on the stress source or the stress itself. For the sake of simplicity, let’s say that our brains have two channels when under pressure. The first one is the sensory channel, the one that receives auditory, visual, tactile, and olfactory stimuli. The other channel is the one that tries to put all incentives in context – both external and internal factors. That means that this channel, let’s call it the intellectual channel, works to make sense of both our emotions and the stimuli we receive at the same time.

To diminish the adverse effects of the stress, you have to occupy the first channel. In other words, you have to provide your sensory channel with something to process. That way, your brain doesn’t focus on the intellectual channel or the feeling you’re currently experiencing. More specifically, you have to engage in some activity, like gripping a stress ball in regular intervals, so that you don’t think about what’s stressing you out.

Due to this “two-channel” way of functioning, physical activities are some of the best stress-reducing techniques. It’s no coincidence that people recommend working out as a way to blow off some steam.

Physical Activity Is The Greatest Stress-reliever

When you engage in an activity, you’re reducing the amount of energy your brain has. It has to focus on the sensory input that the action is producing, and, therefore, doesn’t have enough resources to deal with processing the stress and its source. Hence, activities like squeezing a stress ball are incredibly effective in not letting your brain go into overdrive due to stress.

The same technique is used in calming down babies. We give them pacifiers so that their brains could focus on that activity instead of on what’s making them distressed. Stress balls have the same purpose. You can redirect all your focus and energy on the action of squeezing. In the process, you actually release some energy which can help you to relax.

This technique is also described as “muscular relaxation”. Here’s a quick way to test it and see how it works for yourself. Make a fist with your hand and hold it for about 5 seconds. Then relax your hand and release the grip. You’ll notice the tension leaving your hand. Now, repeat the exercise, but, this time, inhale while clenching your fist, and exhale while relaxing it. That feeling of tension leaving your hand is muscular relaxation. The whole point is to release tension, and it’s the central principle of stress balls.

 

Stress Balls Aren’t A Replacement For Therapy

Managing stress takes a long time. You can’t deal with it by just buying a stress ball. That’s not an ideal long-term solution. If you’re struggling with overwhelming feelings and have anger and stress issues, it’s best to seek professional help.

However, promotional stress balls are a great help when you use them immediately. That’s why a lot of people keep them at arm’s reach, especially in the workplace. Work is one of the highest-ranking stress inducers. Therefore, it’s useful to have something to squeeze for stress relief that isn’t another person. You can use stress balls in a stressful situation and you’ll feel immediate relief.

Even if you don’t feel particularly stressed, stress balls can still be a fun activity. They can help you occupy your hands and have a bit of fun. Not to mention, the action of squeezing the soft material is very satisfying.