Find Your Fidget
I never imagined how helpful having a fidget would be. I was encouraged to try one when I was diagnosed with ADHD and I went into it thinking that it was not going to be helpful. It seemed like such a silly thing and something way to simple to be of much use. Well, I was wrong. It is one of the most effective things that I have used.
Many people, with and without ADHD, benefit from a fidget. A fidget is usually a small item that you interact with that boosts your concentration. A fidget is something that intrigues or stimulates our sensory system. Stress toys fall under the umbrella of fidgets. Our bodies need sensory stimulation and movement. We are just designed that way.
Fidgeting is a normal part of being human. Some people fiddle with paperclips, doodle, or chew on pencils to boost their attention. Most people fidget while they are talking on the phone. Many people take notes for the sensory stimulation rather then to recall the information later.
Fidgets are frequently used to treat ADHD, but they are helpful for many other diagnoses. They can be used for behavioral management or to help with mood. Fidgets can help keep us alert and focused on a task. This seems counter intuitive. It seems like playing with something would be distracting, but it isn’t. The fidget becomes background noise because it satisfies that sensory need. The key there is “need.” Our bodies will focus on our needs before anything else. It is difficult to pay attention to a lecture if you are hungry, tired, cold or ill.
There are an amazing amount of options out there. Fidgets are now readily available and can easily be found by searching for Fidget Toys. But keep in mind that there are a lot of options that aren’t traditional fidgets. A small container of play dough. A couple marbles. A worry stone. A bit of fabric. Finding a fidget comes down to trying things out and seeing what works. Be aware, though; relying on only one fidget can lead to it losing its effectiveness. Instead, use a variety to maintain good results.
My Fidget Recommendations
Consider the activities that you need to perform and choose fidgets that won’t hinder those activities. When I am doing a lot of typing, I find using a stress ball helpful. I put it on the floor and rock my foot over it or step on it. Generally speaking, I find fidgets I can use in one hand to be more useful. That gives me one hand to keep working with.
Silent fidgets are not disruptive to those around you. There are many out there that click or pop and I find that these are distracting to others. Same with the ones that flash lights. These are fine when you’re by yourself, but I think it is important to be considerate to those that are working around you.
Fidgets that are the size of my palm or smaller are better. It is easier to carry them around and I can easily fit several in a bag or even in my pocket. And it is more likely that I can use them one handed.
Consider what the fidget is for. I find visual fidgets (example) very calming but they are not helpful for productivity since I will sit and watch them rather then working. But they are great for reducing the energy levels or for when I need to think about something intently.
Think about what fidgeting you already do and find things that facilitate that. Do you chew your nails or ends of your pencils or frequently snack? Consider toys that are intended to be chewed on and are not damaging to the teeth. Do you drum you fingers? Consider finger strengthening fidgets.