Why fidget spinners are everywhere
In a time when tech is absorbing every minute of our time and sanity, this low-tech gadget (that looks like it’s pulled from a Hitchcock film) is hypnotizing us back into calm.
And whether you’ve seen one online or IRL, these palm-sized devices are also shaping up to be the selfie sticks of summer 2017—equally as ubiquitous and polarizing. (Start asking friends and co-workers how they feel about these propeller-like objects that you hold between two fingers, flicking the circular “blades” to make them twirl, and prepare for all the feels.)
But do they work? There hasn’t been any research on the effectiveness of spinners, specifically. But studies do indicate fidgeting in general my help increase neurotransmitters that promote focus—if you’ve ever found yourself tapping your foot or repeatedly clicking a pen when in the midst of a big project, that’ll probably sound familiar.
And say your problem isn’t a lack of attention but the opposite. The gadgets can also be used to take a mental time-out between tasks. “When you’re feeling overwhelmed and your brain is too frazzled to keep working, you could use the spinner for a minute as a brain-clearing exercise,” says psychologist and mindfulness expert Erin Olivo, PhD. “It’s repetitive and requires no thinking, so it’s a good [way] to settle back into work.” Hey, if it can help me tackle my post-holiday to-do list, I’m willing to give it a whirl.