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Stuffed Animals, Blankets, and Comfort Objects Help with Anxiety

For many people living with anxiety, simple comfort objects like stuffed animals, textured blankets, or fidget toys can make a world of difference. These items stimulate our senses, tap into nostalgia, or give us something tactile to focus on during moments of stress or panic.

In recent years, weighted blankets and stuffed animals have soared in popularity as people discover their anxiety-busting superpowers. Let’s explore the science behind why they work and how you can incorporate comfort objects big and small into your self-care routine.

How Comfort Objects Help with Anxiety

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., impacting over 40 million adults. The hallmark symptoms of excessive worrying, panic attacks, insomnia, and muscle tension can greatly reduce quality of life.

Comfort objects can provide relief by activating the parasympathetic nervous system, often called the “rest and digest” function. This triggers changes in heart rate, breathing, and neurotransmitter levels that promote relaxation.

Specifically, comfort objects like weighted stuffed animals and blankets utilize deep pressure touch stimulation (DPTS) to achieve stress-relieving effects. Studies show that DPTS:

  • Releases oxytocin, the “love hormone”
  • Increases serotonin, which regulates mood
  • Boosts dopamine, the “feel good” neurotransmitter
  • Lowers cortisol, the stress hormone

The result of these biological changes is a sense of calm and well-being. Our bodies interpret the gentle hug-like pressure as a sign of safety and security.

Weighted Stuffed Animals for Anxiety Relief

Weighted stuffed animals combine the emotional comfort of childhood toys with proven deep pressure therapy. They deliver all the nostalgic joy of our favorite plush pals along with anxiety-busting superpowers!

Features and Benefits

  • Mimic a hug: The light weight (typically 2-8 lbs) feels like a gentle, soothing squeeze when held in your lap or arms.
  • Portable stress relief: Their small size and soft exterior make weighted stuffed animals ideal for easing anxiety on-the-go. Keep one in your bag or car for panic attacks.
  • Fidget factor: The soft, squishy texture gives your hands something to play with, similar to stress balls.
  • Adorable overload: Who can resist that face? Weighted stuffies tap into nostalgia and cuteness for maximum comforting vibes.

Best Weighted Stuffed Animals

Some of the most popular and expert-recommended options include:

  • SmartHeart Calming Lion: This floppy-limbed lion has glass bead filling to provide a gentle, distributed weight. Reviewers rave about its high-quality, soft exterior and perfect weight balance.
  • Squishable Mini Weighted Bunny: At just one pound, this tiny weighted bunny is ideal for travel or desktop stress relief. It’s made of custom-designed weight material for even distribution. The ultra-plush exterior is hand washable.
  • SensaCalm Weighted Penguin: SensaCalm’s line of weighted plush animals are pediatrician-approved and specially designed to soothe anxiety in children and adults alike. This friendly penguin has non-toxic glass bead filling and a super soft microfiber exterior.

Weighted Blankets

Weighted blankets provide deep pressure stimulation across your entire body as you lounge on the couch or sleep. First developed as a calming tool for children on the autism spectrum, weighted blankets are now a popular self-care strategy for anxiety relief.

Features and Benefits

  • Deep pressure hugs: The gentle pressure feels like a full body hug, stimulating the release of neurotransmitters for relaxation.
  • Mimic therapeutic techniques: Provide similar stress relief benefits as massage, acupressure, and compression garments.
  • Improve sleep: Studies show weighted blankets can increase REM sleep by 18% and decrease movement at night.
  • Use anywhere: Curl up with your weighted blanket on the couch, bed, or even on your office chair for an anxiety antidote.

Best Weighted Blankets

With so many options on the market, here are top-rated weighted blanket brands to consider:

  • Gravity Blanket: The original inventors of the therapeutic weighted blanket, Gravity sets the gold standard. Their premium blankets feature patented grid stitching for even weight distribution.
  • Bearaby Cotton Napper: For a cozy, breathable weighted blanket, Bearby’s Cotton Napper gets rave reviews. The chunky knitted exterior has a weighted inner lining made from non-toxic glass beads.
  • Luna Weighted Blanket: Luna blankets offer high-quality at more affordable prices by selling directly to consumers. Their blankets use soft, breathable cotton with premium glass bead filling.

Other Comfort Objects for Anxiety

Beyond weighted stuffed animals and blankets, a variety of other tactile items can ease anxiety by providing sensory stimulation.

Textured Blankets and Throws

Cozy blankets with varied textures give our sense of touch something interesting to focus on, diverting our attention away from anxious thoughts. Some soothing textures include:

  • ๐Ÿงถ Knitted or crocheted blankets
  • ๐ŸงตFuzzy chenille or fleece throws
  • ๐Ÿฅพ Faux shearling shag blankets

Fidget Toys and Tools

Fidget toys give us an outlet for nervous energy, allowing us to channel it into harmless tactile play. They can be especially helpful for managing anxiety in public places or social settings. Some top options are:

  • ๐Ÿช™ Spinner rings
  • ๐ŸŽฏ Fidget cubes with buttons, dials, and switches
  • ๐Ÿงฟ Tangle therapy toys made of bendable, moldable plastic


Essential oil diffusers allow us to incorporate soothing scents into our relaxation routines. Some anxiety-calming aroma suggestions:

  • ๐ŸŒฟ Lavender to promote sleep
  • ๐ŸŠ Bergamot to reduce stress
  • ๐Ÿฅฅ Coconut to boost mood

White Noise Machines

For those struggling with anxiety at bedtime, white noise machines can encourage deeper, more restful sleep by drowning out worrying thoughts.

Normalizing Comfort Objects for Adults

Despite societal stigma, using comfort objects well into adulthood is extremely common. Here are some statistics that show keeping a cherished stuffed animal or blanket is nothing to feel ashamed about:

  • ๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐Ÿฆฐ Over 50% of adults admit they still sleep with a childhood comfort object.
  • ๐Ÿงธ 1 in 5 adults say their childhood stuffed animal still has a special place on their bed.
  • ๐Ÿ›๏ธ40% of adults report having a favorite, nostalgic blanket they continue using.

There are many understandable reasons adults maintain attachments to beloved items that provided comfort and security in childhood:

  • ๐Ÿ’• Preserving sentimental value from formative years
  • ๐Ÿ˜ข Easing grief, loneliness, or longing
  • ๐Ÿ˜ฐ Alleviating chronic anxiety or depression
  • ๐Ÿ›Œ Promoting better sleep through nostalgia

If you feel self-conscious clinging to your own beloved stuffed penguin or tatty old baby blanket…don’t! You are far from alone.

Tips for Incorporating Comfort Objects

If you want to integrate comfort objects into your home without feeling childish, some simple tips include:

  • ๐Ÿ–ผ๏ธ Display special stuffed animals like artwork instead of piling them on your bed
  • ๐ŸŽ’ Designate a discreet travel bag for taking mini comfort objects on-the-go
  • ๐Ÿ“š Store childhood blankets inside hollowed-out books on bookshelves
  • ๐Ÿ’†โ€โ™€๏ธ Only use weighted blankets or aromatherapy while relaxing to build healthy sleep associations

Customized Airplane Stuffed Animals

For aviators, pilots, and aviation enthusiasts, stuffed animals shaped like airplanes can hold special nostalgic meaning. These cuddly planes often inspire an emotional connection, symbolizing the joy and freedom of flight.

Some fun ways to customize airplane stuffed animals include:

  • Adding pilot accessories like goggles or hats for authenticity
  • Affixing badge pins from aviation schools or pilot certifications
  • Engraving meaningful dates, initials, or airplane names

These creative customizations make airplane stuffed animals thoughtful gifts or cherished keepsakes for those who love to fly.

Safe Stuffed Animals for Pets

Can stuffed animals pose dangers for curious canine companions? Learn the benefits and drawbacks of stuffed toys for dogs.

The main safety considerations for dog stuffed animals include:

  • Durability: Choose tough fabrics like polyester blends or cotton canvas that can withstand rough play. Avoid plush toys with buttons, bows or plastic parts that could detach.
  • Quality construction: Check for tight, reinforced stitching so seams don’t unravel into loose threads if chewed. Well-made stuffed animals should not contain small parts at risk of becoming choking hazards.

Providing fluffy snuggle buddies for dogs can aid bonding and enrichment. Just be sure to select solidly constructed stuffed animals suited for your pet’s size and play style.

Soothing Weighted Llamas

Lil Llove’s pink weighted llama plush toy isn’t just adorable…it’s expertly crafted for comfort!

Key features that set this sensory-rich weighted llama apart:

  • Plush microfiber exterior with super-soft texture
  • Weighted inner sack filled with natural flaxseed
  • Strong seams and stitching built to last

It meets stringent safety standards for all ages. Let this charming weighted llama melt anxiety away!


Anxiety disorders can greatly interfere with work, relationships, and overall wellbeing. While psychotherapy and medication help many, comfort objects like weighted stuffed animals and blankets have also emerged as simple, affordable self-care tools.

The deep pressure stimulation triggers lasting neurological changes that promote lower stress levels, better sleep, and an overall sense of safety and security.

Beyond weighted objects, textured blankets, fidget toys, essential oils, and white noise provide sensory stimulation to distract from anxious thoughts and channel nervous energy.

So don’t feel ashamed about clinging to beloved items from childhood or relying on new comforting objects like weighted blankets. With anxiety affecting so many adults, using every self-care tool available is wise.


What are the benefits of weighted stuffed animals?

Weighted stuffed animals provide deep pressure stimulation that activates the parasympathetic nervous system, triggering the release of neurotransmitters like oxytocin and serotonin to reduce anxiety. The gentle pressure feels like a hug, promoting feelings of comfort and security.

Is it weird for adults to have stuffed animals?

No, over 50% of adults admit they still sleep with stuffed animals from childhood because of the emotional comfort they provide and calming effects on anxiety or insomnia. Weighted stuffed animals are growing in popularity among adults for their stress-relief benefits.

How heavy should a weighted stuffed animal be?

Experts recommend weighted stuffed animals in the range of 2 to 8 pounds. The best weight depends on your body size and personal preference. The gentle pressure should feel soothing but not uncomfortably heavy. Start on the lighter side and increase weight gradually as needed.

Can I bring my weighted stuffed animal in public?

Absolutely! Their small size and inconspicuous appearance make weighted stuffed animals ideal for easing anxiety attacks on-the-go. Tuck one into your purse, bag, or car to have your comforting companion ready whenever stressful situations arise.

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