Can Hugging A Stuffed Animal Provide Stress Relief?
Absolutely. Hugging a stuffed animal can provide relief in many ways for children as well as adults.
An object like a favorite stuffed animal or blanket can establish a secure base for the child - a way to carry the secure base the child associates with home and parents out into the world. Their teddy bear can provide the child feelings of comfort, solace, consistency and predictability. A sense of presence and connectedness, often solely through the familiarity/feel/smell of the object - there's no place like home! Misplacing the object can result in feelings of disconnect, loneliness and fear - feelings anyone would meltdown over.
A study by researchers at UV University Amsterdam that examined the effects of both human touch and that of inanimate objects on adults when confronted with mortality showed that touch—including even that of a Teddy Bear or other stuffed animal—has health benefits, and can even help relieve existential angst. Although many of us may not be aware of the connection between relief from existential strain and our favorite stuffed animal, it seems we are aware of the inherent comfort we get from them, or we wouldn't keep them around. A study examining the sentimentality of 2,000 adults found 43 percent still privately indulge their softer side with a cuddle from their favorite stuffed toy.
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