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12 Ways to Stop Fidgeting Due to Anxiety

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Do you fidget or stim when you’re feeling anxious?

I’m a fidgeter. I fidget in meetings, while watching TV, while I’m anxious in public, and any other second my hands aren’t busy with something. I used to fidget with pens in class (and accidentally send them flying across the room) or money when I was shopping, but these days, there are a wealth of options for people with anxiety, ADHD, autism, or any other disorder that causes fidgeting or stimming.

I used to love fidget toys such as fidget cubes and spinners, but my new favorite is a black spinner ring with a thin black chain inset into metal. You can actually see a similar one in this article on wearable stim toys for neurodivergent people. The chain turns or spins freely, so I keep it on my middle finger and spin it with my thumb when I’m anxious. Best of all, it looks great, it’s always there, and it’s not obvious when I’m in public. I still fidget with my wallet when I’m waiting to pay for something, or fidget with a necklace if I’m wearing one, but the spinner ring has become my go-to. 

But what about you? Everyone has different methods and tools to stop fidgeting, so we asked our community what they do to keep their hands and body busy. We hope their answers give you some new ideas to help you when you’re anxious.

Here’s what our community told us:

“If I’m home and really fidgety or trying to calm myself down, I like to pet my Squishmallow plush toy. I have a small, nifty-shaped rock that I keep in my pocket when I’m out and about and I’ll play with that and rub the various surfaces.” — @prickly_cat

“I have a small version of those Pop-It things. It helps with fidgeting a little. I’ve also used other fidget toys before.” — @writer21

“I learned to crochet.” — @jusme

“I watch a YouTube channel where the host tests out craft kits and sometimes does crafts as well, and lately she’s been obsessed with fidget toys.” — @horrorfan

“When feeling anxious, I fidget. I purposefully think of the areas where I’m fidgeting which usually makes me stop. It’s not so good when talking to people though as I have to tune out and then I lose the thread of the conversation.” — @kerryturner313

“I have a giant box of fidget/stim toys. (I have a bit of a shopping problem, LOL). They are very helpful though with nervous energy. My favorites are Pop-Its, tangles, and fidget cubes” — @kaden_mc

”I wear a spinner ring.” — @13579

“I tend to let my leg tap for a while sometimes but my bigger stress fidgeting without a phone is just flipping a coin back and forth between my fingers. I have a 50-cent piece specifically for it that I keep in my pocket.” — @brook25000wrd

“It used to be good but now it’s my phone. I’m trying to get off my phone with crafts and some fidget gadgets.” — @lydiaremick

“Art, working out which never was a thing, a few pieces of jewelry,” — @weareallstarshere

“I experienced extreme inner restlessness and fidget and bounce my legs a lot, but my psychiatrist put me on benztropine and it miraculously stopped!” — @sallypierce

Needlepoint, crochet badly, and dance.” — @emilynewton1

Do you use something different? Let us know how you cope with fidgeting in the comments.

Getty Images photo via Mariya Tsapenko

Originally published: March 29, 2023
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