By Flickr [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
A lot of us have probably heard of these things called stress balls, maybe you’ve seen a co – worker at the office use one. They are basically squeezable balls that can fit in the palm of your hand and by squeezing them over and over you can bring your stress levels down. Sounds simple enough, but how exactly do they work?
First off let’s look at this article from truestressmanagement.com called “Do stress balls work,” written by DJ. The article starts out by talking about Chinese boading balls which always come in sets of two, are made up of wood or metal, have bells inside them and instead of squeezing them you rotate them in your hand. They work by helping you manipulate your chi energy.
Then they talk about the traditional western stress balls which you squeeze. According to this article one of the reasons that stress balls work is because it acts as a sensory blocker. Basically when you are holding a stress ball and squeezing it, your brain is focused on the sensory information coming from your hand, the texture of the ball, the sensation of your muscles contracting and relaxing. Because of this your brain’s attention is taken away from whatever is stressing you out and you don’t think about it as much; in other words it’s a distraction.
They also mention one Dr. David Posen, who wrote a book titled, “Is Work Killing You? A Doctor’s Prescription for Treating Workplace Stress”. The Doctor also says that stress balls work wonders; here’s a direct quote: “The benefit of squeezing is that it releases some kind of energy — it also induces you to relax”.
They also discuss how stress balls are not a permanent solution to stress but they are a good way to release the extra pent up tension.
Now let’s look at this article posted on huffingtonpost.com titled, “Stress-Relief Tools: Do These Old-Fashioned Remedies Really Work?” written by Kate Bratskeir. This one talks more about the physical, primal reaction of your body tensing up when you are stressed and how it comes from our flight or fight response which comes from prehistoric times. Back then we would be tense because we were in danger and we would release that tense energy by running away or fighting. Nowadays however we get tense for very different reasons, most of which don’t allow us to just run away and release our tension, this is where the stress ball comes in.
By squeezing the stress balls you are able to release some of the built up tension. They also mention that really speaking it would be better to move around more to get rid of the stress and tension, but still squeezing a stress ball and letting out some of the tension is better than just sitting there and letting it build up. This article also mentions Dr. David Posen and Dr. Kathleen Hall, a stress expert and CEO and founder of both “The Stress Institute” and the “Mindful Living Network”.
The article also talks about other methods you can use that can help you if you’re stressed like letting yourself cry, dancing, talking to someone, etc. If you want to know more then go ahead and have a read for yourself.
Lastly we have this article from ehow.com titled, “How Do Stress Balls Work?”
written by Chris Sherwood. This one also talks about how stress balls can help release some of the built up tense energy and they also give a little exercise you can do with the stress ball to help release more tension, you basically breath in and out deeply while you squeeze the stress ball, you can think of it as a meditation exercise.
So if you suffer from stress or get stressed out easily, you might consider getting a stress ball for yourself. You can go to a normal store and ask if they sell some or you can even buy some online , or you can make your own if you wanted. Whatever you choose, try out a stress ball and squeeze that thing to oblivion, go ahead and let your stress out one squeeze at a time.