There are a lot of stupid, pointless studies out there that make me roll my eyes and wish the Internet never existed, especially on The Daily Mail. But this new study that I just read about getting rid of anxiety actually made me feel all sorts of warm, cuddly feels. It’s really that cute. And also, it seems pretty legit.
Researchers recently found that snuggling with a teddy bear, or any stuffed animal, might help you get rid of anxiety, depression and low self-esteem. Okay, so they didn’t exactly study how we react when we’re cuddling with our favorite stuffed animals – researchers found that touching something, even something as silly as your old teddy bear, can help with anxiety, irrational fears of death and low self-esteem.
When conducting the study, researchers were looking at the way people reacted to their fears of death and their worries about the meaning of life. They were testing the hypothesis that people with low self-esteem deal with their fear of death by connecting with other people. What they found was that touch was a really important way for them to quell their anxieties. Lead researcher said, “Even fleeting and seemingly trivial instances of interpersonal touch may help people to deal more effectively with existential concern.”
They went on to say, “Our findings show that even touching an inanimate object – such as a teddy bear – can soothe existential fears. Interpersonal touch is such a powerful mechanism that even objects that simulate touch by another person may help to instill in people a sense of existential significance.”
Even if you’re not worrying about the meaning of your life or stressing over your impending death, it seems like touch can be a pretty good solution to all kinds of anxiety and depression, whether you’re freaking out because your crush hasn’t texted you back or you just heard some pretty devastating news. Touching or cuddling with something can make you feel more relaxed because it’s soothing.
I know that this is definitely true for me. A few years ago, when going through a breakup, I was feeling pretty depressed and dealing with a lot of anxiety. I felt lonely a lot of the time and whenever I felt like I really needed someone there, I would grab this stupid stuffed lion my friends had given me for Valentine’s Day one year. Cuddling with that little thing while laying in bed actually made me feel a little bit better. It relaxed me, even when I was in the middle of a total breakdown.
Later on, I got a real animal, a kitten… and cuddling with her made me feel a lot better. It still does! Every time I’m having a really bad day or freaking out about something, I go home, grab my cat and snuggle with her in bed. Just laying there with her makes me feel a little bit better no matter what.
I know I probably sound like a crazy person, but seriously – try this next time you’re feeling depressed or anxious, whether it’s about death or something a little less serious. If you can’t get your hands on an actual human, cuddle with an old stuffed animal or one of your pets. Close your eyes, relax and let the magical power of touching calm you down. Hey, science says, right?
Do you ever cuddle with a stuffed animal when you feel sad? Do you think it makes you feel better? What do you do to get rid of depression and anxiety? Tell me in the comments.