Fidget spinners might be old news by now, but I’m just discovering them for the first time and I’m surprised by how much I like them.
The story goes like this: My wife just ordered a refurbished phone off Amazon and the sender included a free fidget spinner in the package as a gift. And it’s not a crappy one! It’s hefty, it’s comfortable, it’s smooth, and it spins like silk.
Thank you, mystery package sender, who gave me this unexpectedly awesome gift!
I always rolled my eyes at the concept of a fidget spinner, writing it off as “just another fad” born and perpetuated by the young kids of today, and as a ploy by toy makers to sell another useless product to the masses.
But now that I’ve handled one for real, I can see that these things became a fad for a reason. They serve a real purpose, and I’m glad I have one now.
What Exactly Is a Fidget Spinner?
A fidget spinner is a disc-shaped toy with a ball bearing center. (I say “disc-shaped,” but really it’s more like a triangle with weighted ends. See photo below.)
It’s small enough that you can hold in a pincer grip between thumb and middle finger, and you use your index finger to spin it.
Because of the ball bearing center, it spins really easily and keeps going for a long time, and it produces a satisfying feeling when you get it going.
The Purpose of a Fidget Spinner
Allegedly, the fidget spinner exists as a way to expend excess mental energy, which can manifest as anxiety, nervousness, or even stress.
Some even claim that fidget spinners can help improve concentration and mental performance in children with anxiety or attention disorders, although there are no studies that prove fidget spinners are effective as a treatment for such conditions.
I, personally, find that my fidget spinner does help me to expend excess mental energy, or at least redirect some of that energy away.
I’m one of those people with restless leg syndrome, which means I constantly shake my leg without realizing it. The only way I can describe it is that I have a constant itch or ache somewhere in my muscles, and it produces an irresistable urge to shake my legs because that’s the only way to relieve the sensation. If I try to ignore it, the sensation intensifies.
Well, for some reason, that urge disappears when I’m using a fidget spinner. Don’t ask me why. All I know is that it does.
Obviously, I can’t use the fidget spinner when both hands are occupied, which means I still have restless legs when I’m doing work or playing games.
But when I’m just surfing the web or checking something on my phone or watching videos, I can do so while fidget spinning—and strangely enough, it does help me to focus more on whatever I’m doing. The act of fidget spinning itself is mindless and requires no attention. It’s pure muscle memory at this point.
In a lot of ways, playing with a fidget spinner is a lot like squeezing a stress ball, or spam-clicking a pen, or twirling a ring on your finger, but a lot more satisfying. It does help expend excess mental energy, and it has become part of my daily routine.
Getting Started With Your Own Fidget Spinner
This basic fidget spinner is made of metal so it feels good and hefty, plus it spins well (allegedly up to 5 minutes) and it looks great when spinning. The multiple colors really help it stand out from single-color alternatives.
This fidget spinner by Teamgee, which comes in Desert Eagle and Gun Black colors, has a night lumination effect that products a cool visual when used at night.
In addition to that, this one is made of smooth iron and spins for up to 6-8 minutes, which is far longer than any plastic or brass fidget spinner otherwise.
Want a collection of fidget spinners that you can rotate between? If you easily get bored of spinning the same thing over and over, this affordable 7-pack of stainless steel fidget spinners is perfect. They’re slick and spin up to 3-5 minutes.