Do Fidget Spinners Really Reduce Anxiety? - NBC 7 San Diego

Do Fidget Spinners Really Reduce Anxiety?

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    NBC 7's Danielle Radin investigates if the popular toy can really relieve anxiety and nervous energy, or if it is simply a distraction. (Published Tuesday, July 18, 2017)

    As students start to go back-to-school shopping, many will have fidget spinners on their lists.

    Fidget spinners are a popular hand-held gadget that continuously spin using magnets as you hold them.

    The item gained popularity on the basis that it could reduce anxiety and hyperactivity by making the person focus on the spinning rather than nervous energy.

    "If you think the fidget spinner will help you, then it will help you," said Dr. Michael Mantell, Ph.D. a transformational behavior coach in San Diego. "There is not one shred of data that says the 40 million people with anxiety or the 6 million kids with A.D.H.D. will necessarily do better with the fidget spinner unless they tell themselves this helps.”

    Dr. Mantell added the fidget spinner can help people to focus on the present instead of the future, which can reduce anxiety in itself.

    “When we make the prediction something bad is going to happen, we make ourselves anxious," said Dr. Mantell. "What we ought to do is be more mindful and present."

    Some teachers have banned fidget spinners from their classrooms, saying they are a distraction.

    WATCH, a consumer advocacy group, warns that small pieces can fall off fidget spinners, which can become lodged in a child's throat.