I like to bring a variety of fidgets to almost any of my meetings when I am talking about trauma and regulation. I am consistently impressed even with professionals at how much it means to have fidgets in the room. I think part of it is that everyone loves a unique gift. What’s also interesting is that they want to experiment with the fidget to determine whether or not it brings calm and some sort of regulation.
I was with a group of architects last week and brought a number of fidgets. It was quite funny to see them take the fidgets. In reality the fidget hijacked the meeting and lead us to discussions about regulation, their children and other family members, and the stressors that they all were feeling in their lives. They were twirling, bending, squeezing, and working the fidgets so that in no time it actually eased us into a meeting that began on a very friendly basis.
I was also with a group of state officials and placed fidgets at their seats. Although it was a very formal meeting, I noticed that they all had the fidgets in their hand and were playing with them. In fact, someone came into the meeting late and sat where there wasn’t a fidget. The other members of the team picked up the fidgets intended for her and gave them to her which she gladly received.
I was on a zoom call with someone who was struggling with anxiety and felt dysregulated. I pulled out a very unique timer that functioned like the old lava lamps. As soon as he saw the motion within the water, he calmed right down even while viewing it online. He then asked if I could send him that timer as a way for him to take a time out to regulate.
I was just in a discussion with one of our school program leaders and they were talking about weighted stuffed animals they were using for their students. These teenagers carry these weighted stuffed animals around school with them because it helps them relax and regulate as they go through the stressors of a school day.
I use these incidences to emphasize and illustrate how fidgets can make a real difference in how our emotions can be regulated through sensory stimulation that is purposed to help us find some calm in the midst of life stress. Everyone has different ways to reduce stress and we all use different fidgets and coping mechanisms in different ways. If you want to find more regulation, get your favorite fidget, carry it around with you, and use it regularly. It will change your perspective and help relieve the stress you may be dealing with in everyday life.
Gerry Vassar, President/CEO