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Sure, you can punch the wall and that might be better than slugging your coworker, but it could still cost you your job in the end. Why not turn to the latest craze in stress-busting techniques instead and take your nerves out on a stress ball?
You’ve probably noticed others squeezing them, maybe coworkers or a somewhat wild-eyed guy on the street. Why? Because they accomplish a multitude of things that help to decrease your stress level, from improving blood circulation to loosening clenched muscles. But not all stress balls achieve the same things. The one you choose can come down to personal preference. Let us help you find the best one for your needs.
Best Overalll: Motivational Stress Balls by Teacher Peach
Teacher Peach offers a few different stress balls. Various three-pack sets in different colors come with an assortment of take-charge and calm-down advice, such as, “Focus, listen, breathe.” One ball is emblazoned with the words “I think I can!” for those times when you’re feeling particularly overwhelmed.
These squeeze balls are like work/life coaches you can tuck in your hand and take your stress out on when necessary. They’re firm enough to be satisfyingly squeezable, but they’re soft enough that even little kids can amuse themselves with them. They’re hugely popular among parents, teachers and businesspeople alike.
Best Color-Therapy: Stress Ball by Serenilite
Serenelite is one of the most well-known names in stress balls and they have a few different versions. Most are designed to promote hand strength, arm strength and condition, but they’ll take a beating and help you breathe easier when you need a mental health boost as well.
The Therapy Ball comes in a variety of hues to provide “color therapy” for frayed nerves. Try the Ocean Breeze blue combo to calm your senses. The stitching is smooth, unobtrusive, and non-irritating and the inner core is made of a pliable gel that springs back into shape as soon as you release pressure. Best of all, Serenlite stress balls come with instructions to help you achieve whatever your squeezing goal might happen to be.
Best for Smaller Hands: Dimples Excel Squeeze Stress Balls
Dimples sells its Excel Squeeze stress balls in packages of three, and each has a different resistance so you’ll have one for a variety of needs. They help ease everything from hand cramps from typing or writing too long to … well, stressing out. They’re egg-shaped and small, so they’re best for those who don’t have very large hands.
They’re encased in thermoplastic rubber, so they’ll hold their shape for quite a while no matter how often you resort to squeezing them. You really can’t go wrong trying out the Excel Squeeze because Dimples offers a 90-day money back guarantee if you’re not happy with the product.
Most Therapeutic: Gaiam Restore Hand Therapy
Gaiam is all about therapy for aching, ailing body parts. The company offers a variety of different products, including the Restore Hand Therapy Exercise Ball kit. The kit comes with three oval, pliable stress balls in coded colors and of varying firmness for utmost relief of whatever ails you. These balls won’t just bust your stress. They’re ergonomic and good for joint pain, muscle training and carpal tunnel relief as well.
Gaiam offers full-color illustrated instructions to help you along and the size of the balls fits most hands nicely.
Best Design: Paladone Rubiks Cube Stress Ball
This is a great squeeze ball for those who prefer to dodge stress by directing their thoughts elsewhere, away from whatever — or whoever — is giving them fits at the moment. No, it’s not actually playable, but it’s very squeezable and it’s a great conversation starter. That alone can take your mind right off whatever’s bothering you.
The Rubiks Cube Stress Ball might not be something you’d want to grab while you’re in the middle of an important conversation or business meeting, but it’s perfect if you just want to breathe for a few minutes at your desk. It’s square — of course — and comfortably fits just about any size hand.
Best for Wearability: StringyBall Stress Ball on a String
Technically, yes, you can wind up and swing these stress balls by their strings, sort of like a weapon. But you won’t feel the need to after you give one a good squeeze. The strings are actually straps that you can secure around your wrist so the ball is always there within easy grabbing distance — and so it can’t roll away from you in the middle of a business meeting.
Another nice touch is the instruction booklet that comes with this three-pack, complete with 12 different hand exercises to achieve a therapeutic effect. The balls are color-coded for firmness and the exercises tell you which ball to use to achieve your particular goals. They’re hypoallergenic, and best of all, they’re washable … just in case you work up a sweat.
Most Long-Lasting: Handstands Cyber Gel Stress Ball
The Handstands stress ball is also ergonomic and it’s well-suited to protracted squeezing, thanks to its medium firmness and resistance. The gel core tucked inside a fabric exterior is non-toxic, so you don’t have to worry if your pet decides to tear into it. Gel is also considered superior to sand or foam because it holds up better and longer and it won’t absorb as much heat from your palm.
And why stop with your hands? The shape and content of these balls make them perfect for rolling under your bare feet, too, to ease calf strain after a long day. The Cyber Gel ball comes in a variety of colors from neon bright to black in case you’d like to surreptitiously use it in the workplace.
Best Smelling: Lavender Luvies Stress Balls
Stress balls can get smelly after continuous use, but not this one. Lavender Luvies — which are sold in a three pack — emit a particularly soothing lavender sprig aroma that will add a whole new layer of relaxation to your day. In fact, the lightweight ball can even help relieve tension headaches.
The handcrafted balls don't use any oils or perfumes — but actual French lavender. The scent is long lasting, and you don't have to worry about overuse; the more you squeeze the ball, the more scent it actually releases. Since Lavender Luvies are sold in three packs, they're perfecting for gifting to co-workers and clients as well. Other than purple, available sets include a "serenity" pack and a "Let it Go" pack.