Have you heard of Kawaii Squishies?
Like an adorable update to the classic stress ball, Squishies are a soft toy made for squeezing. Unlike the classic stress ball, Squishies feel irresistibly soft and are addictive to hold. Described as “slow rising stress relief”, the toy slowly inflates back to its orginal shape while also giving off a light scent.
In therapy we practice “5 senses soothing”, a mindful awareness technique that promotes emotional regulation and relaxation. By focusing on the present moment– what we see, hear, feel, taste, and smell– we experience a shift into a calmer physiological state. This is a powerful tool that works to soothe both kids and adults affected by stress, anxiety, or trauma. Engaging the five senses is also a quick way to help a child (or parent!) recover from a meltdown by first distraction and second shifting into a calmer, happier state. You don’t need a prop to engage your senses in the present moment, but having powerful visual, smell, or object certainly helps.
That’s why when one of these Kawaii (“cute” in Japanese pop culture) squishies made its way into my counseling office last week, I was delighted. The toy is colorful and cute, pliable and soft to the touch, and lightly scented. That’s three senses right there! It is also mesmerizing to watch flatten and inflate — another relaxing element. I enjoyed playing with it so much that I knew I needed to get a few for my office and home. They are small enough to stick in your bag and keep on hand as a fidget toy for yourself or your child. With all the various sizes and styles, I think they would make great stocking stuffers too.