We often think that plush toys are just for kids to play with, but if you can get them to admit it, many adults have plush toys too! A 2018 study showed that 43% of adults have a special plush toy friend, and 84% of men and 77% of women admit to owning at least one plush toy. The most popular plush toy for adults is the historic teddy bear. But what good do these clumsy friends bring to their adult masters?
1. Plush toys bring a sense of security
It’s probably not surprising that adults use stuffed animals and loved ones in much the same way children do. They provide a sense of security in times of change. These are called “comfort objects” or “transition objects,” and they help us feel more secure as we move from one life stage to another, or even from one job or house to another sense. According to registered therapist Margaret Van Ackeren, “In most cases, adults sleep with their childhood plush toys because it gives them a sense of security. And reduce negative emotions, such as loneliness and anxiety.” This sense of security is important when things change and helps us navigate change more successfully.
2. Stuffed animals help ease loneliness
For adults, the modern world can feel lonely and alienated, even when we are surrounded by people. In fact, there is evidence that even as we are increasingly connected via the internet, we may be becoming increasingly lonely. Humans are social animals and we suffer without the company of others. While plush toys cannot completely replace the social roles that other humans play in our lives, they can help ease feelings of loneliness and alienation and help us cope with our interconnected and lonely modern world.
3. Plush toys improve mental health
Live animals are getting more and more attention as a therapeutic tool, but did you know that stuffed animals can help in many of the same ways as live animals? According to one study, plush toys can help patients with disorganized attachment styles form secure attachments and even rebuild damaged ones. Being able to build secure emotional attachments can help people lead richer, happier lives. According to Dr. Aniko Dunn, the plush toy is “recommended for psychotherapy and for those with PTSD, bipolar disorder, and other mental disorders.” What an incredible gift!
4. Stuffed animals can help us grieve
Plush toys can represent a connection with a loved one who has passed away, providing us with a path through the grieving process and alleviating the sense of loss that accompanies the death of someone close to us. You can grieve with plush toys without fear of condemned judgment, and they provide a constant source of comfort.
5. Plush toys help us heal
Stuffed animals are used for certain treatments! Stuffed animals are useful in certain types of “re-parenting” in which trauma survivors learn to care for and love stuffed animals (and eventually themselves) recovering from childhood traumatic experiences. This can increase well-being and self-esteem in trauma patients and reduce feelings of self-loathing. According to Rose M. Barlow, professor of psychology at Boise State University, “Animals, whether alive or stuffed, can help by providing a way to experience and express emotions, a way of unconditional support and grounding. Treatment of children and adults.” She extends this to those who have been traumatized by childhood neglect or abuse.
6. Plush toys remind us of our childhood
Nostalgia is a mental state of “pleasant memories”. While memories of the past can be disturbing, those nostalgic ones often make us happier and lead to better self-esteem. Happy memories of the past can make us feel more connected to family and friends, and can provide a sense of continuity in a seemingly chaotic life. Nostalgia can even ease existential fears
such as the fear of death. According to Christine Batcho, Ph.D., professor of psychology at LeMoyne College, nostalgia can help us deal with changing times. “…It’s comforting to miss the past, it reminds us that while we don’t know what the future holds, all we know is that we know who we were and who we really were,” she said. Better nostalgic container stuffed toy than childhood or cute? These may bring back memories of parenthood, playing with siblings, snuggling, and safety. Plush toys give us a way to indulge in those sensations when we need them most.
7. Stuffed animals reduce stress
We know from various studies that interacting with animals can reduce stress. In fact, something as simple as petting a companion animal like a dog or cat can lead to significantly lower levels of cortisol, a stress hormone. Cortisol can cause many physiological problems, including weight gain and an increased likelihood of coronary heart disease. But did you know that touching a soft stuffed animal can have a similar cortisol-reducing effect? Touching plush toys can help relieve stress and make us happier and healthier. In fact, there are plush toys specifically for stress and anxiety! The Weighted Plush and Aromatherapy Plushies are designed to help relieve stress and keep your plush friend more comfortable.
8. Plush toys can bring you comfort
When author Erin Weintraub was diagnosed with Covid-19, she found solace in an old friend of hers, a stuffed dog named George with floppy ears. When I climbed into bed and found George, Weintraub said, it was a signal that it was time to end the day and go to sleep. Weintraub isn’t the only one who needs to hold a stuffed toy before going to bed. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic and related events (such as unemployment), people feel particularly anxious, and this anxiety affects us before we go to bed.
Dr. Sarah Silverman, a sleep psychologist, suggested that the line between home and work life is getting blurred, and there are restrooms in the office, gym and school to sleep in, but in fact, this does not help us rest better, but Stressing us makes it harder to rest.
9. Talk to the object to relieve stress:
Research has shown that babies like plush toys because they are so soft and give babies a sense of security. This feeling doesn’t go away with age, and adults will still love soft plush toys.
In life, adults have to bear the pressure of unemployment, promotion, family pressure, etc. Behind these pressures are people’s lack of security. Touching plush toys can help adults relieve pressure and give people a sense of security, so Adults need it too.
In addition, the pace of life of adults is getting faster and faster. With the increase of competition pressure, the situation of involution becomes more and more serious, which leads to more and more inner pressure. People need to vent their pressure and need someone to listen to their troubles.
However, there is less and less inner communication between people, and it is easy to have problems in the heart if the emotions are not vented. Plush toys can be used as the object of confidence, allowing people to speak their hearts out, which is helpful for venting pressure.
“Emotion is more important than value, and that’s what the plush world is all about.” To ensure that even adults can find the best plush friend for them, we’ve curated a collection of plush toys for adults!