All of us face feelings of anxiety or stress in some form or another in our everyday lives. Sometimes these feelings can become challenging and overwhelming. Stress balls can be an effective way to cope in such times. In essence, a stress ball is a tiny, squeezable toy that is packed with gel, foam, and rubber. The squishy texture of a stress ball allows the user to squeeze and twist the ball to their liking. 

Squeezing a stress ball allows the body to release muscle tension and pent-up pressure tangibly, thus relieving its user of their anxiety. It can also act as a source of distraction from anxious thoughts. However, to use the stress ball to its best effect, it’s important to be aware of the right ways to use it. 

How to use a stress ball?

  • Find the right stress ball

There are different kinds of stress balls available on the market. While the smiley ball made of foam is the most popular, you can explore other types of stress balls filled with water, gel, or porcupine-shaped balls depending on your liking and needs.

  • Hold the ball 

Hold the ball in your hand comfortably, ensuring that it doesn’t cause any discomfort or pain.

  • Squeeze and release

Squeeze the ball firmly for a few seconds, and then gently release it. Repeat the squeeze-and-release motion until you feel completely relaxed. You can even switch hands as per your comfort. 

  • Breathing exercise

Combine the squeezing and releasing motions with deep breathing. Slowly take a deep breath while you squeeze the ball, and exhale as you release it. Deep breathing will increase the effectiveness of this activity and promote relaxation.

  • Practice affirmations 

Affirmations are small, positive statements that help you cope with difficult situations. Practicing affirmations like ‘I can do this and ‘I have handled anxious thoughts before’ while squeezing the stress ball can enhance feelings of relaxation.

  • Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness is the act of being in the moment while being fully aware of your environment. To practice mindfulness, try to pay close attention to the movement of your hand while you squeeze the stress ball. Also,  pay attention to how the texture of the ball feels in your hand.

  • Other ways to use the stress ball

The stress ball can be used in multiple ways to manage anxiety symptoms. You can squeeze it with one hand; alternatively, you can use both your palms to squeeze it, or you can even grip it between a few fingers of your hand.

The Benefits of Stress Balls

Squeezing a stress ball comes with multiple benefits, such as:

  • Reduction in feelings of stress and anxiety
  • Relaxation of muscles in the hand
  • Distraction from anxiety-provoking thoughts
  • Improved focus
  • Contributes to improved mood


The portability and easy usage of stress balls can make them effective in coping with anxiety. However, it is important to remember that using a stress ball involves much more than squeezing the ball mindlessly; it is in fact an activity that requires focus and mindfulness. When combined with deep breathing and positive affirmations, stress balls can be even more helpful. It is important to note that stress balls can provide temporary relief, but they aren’t a long-term solution to anxiety. 

Dhruva Koranne

Dhruva Koranne has completed his Masters in Applied Psychology from Tata Institute of Social Sciences, BALM. He has been practicing as a counsellor since 2020 and works to create a safe space for clients where they can open up. In addition to this, Dhruva loves researching and studying about upcoming theories in the field of Psychology. Connect with him on Linkedin