Stuffed animals give us a lot of reasons to feel better, so it’s natural to want to hug a stuffed toy. By hugging them, our body ends up releasing happy hormones that can improve our mood, and not only are they incredibly cute, they can actually help relieve symptoms of anxiety too.
According to several studies, adults and children who experience "manageable" mild to moderate levels of anxiety, caused by external factors, such as work and family problems, have shown that stuffed bears have helped curb anxiety symptoms, bringing the brain back to a calm and serene state.
For anxiety, some psychologists suggest a client touch or hold an object associated with positive feelings to help them get through rough moments. Maybe at night when thoughts go wild, a cuddle with a teddy bear might help bring you back to a more innocent time.
Stuffed animals can also bear witness to our resilience, reminding us when we’re troubled by offering a warm embrace when hugged. This can be by taking us back to a safer time in our minds, providing us with comfort and security, things that people tend to lack when they experience anxiety.
Employing a teddy has also been known to help process grief, as they can represent a connection to a loved one that has passed, offering a path through the grieving process and easing the feeling of loss that accompanies the death of someone close.
Live animals have been gaining visibility as a therapeutic tool, but did you know that stuffed animals can help in a lot of the same ways that live animals do? According to one study, stuffed animals helped patients with disorganised attachment styles form secure attachments and even rebuild impaired attachment bonds. Being able to build secure emotional attachments can help people live richer, happier lives.
It's also been found in various studies that interacting with animals reduces stress. In fact, something as simple as petting a companion animal, like a dog or cat, causes measurable reduction in levels of cortisol, a stress hormone. Cortisol can cause a number of physiological problems, including weight gain and increasing the likelihood of coronary disease. But did you know that touching a soft stuffed animal can have similar cortisol reducing effects, keeping us happier and healthier? In fact, stuffed animals specifically for stress and anxiety exist! Weighted stuffed animals and aromatherapeutic stuffed animals are designed to help relieve stress, giving a double dose of comfort from your stuffed pals.
Teddy bears can also be referred to as “comfort objects,” or “transitional objects,” helping us navigate change and loneliness more successfully. The modern world can feel lonely and alienating for adults, even when we’re surrounded by people. In fact, there’s evidence that even as we become more and more linked together by the internet, we may be getting lonelier. Humans are social creatures, and we suffer without the company of others.
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