Whether you’re fielding a deluge of emails or worrying about finances, you feel like your anxieties are multiplying by the day. And trust us, you’re not alone. According to a new poll by anxiety tracking app AQ, the pressures of contemporary life are affecting us more than ever. “Tensions like bankxiety, stress over the cost of living; pingxiety from endless messages on our devices are making us feel feel more overwhelmed,” explains neuropsychologist Shaun Nanavati, PhD, Chief Science Officer of AQ. “We’re also wrestling with more bodyxiety, or insecurity about the way we look — often from comparisons on social media — and planxiety sparked by too many to-dos or over extending ourselves.”
We’re experiencing an uptick in worry because our nervous system isn’t equipped to address so many modern stressors, says psychiatrist Ellen Vora, MD, author of The Anatomy of Anxiety. “We evolved in communities of 100 to 200 people, and our brain is calibrated to absorb smaller doses of information,” she says. “But between our devices and the constant bad news cycle, we’re hyper aware of everything wrong in the world, and it damages mental health.”
The good news is you can break your worry cycle and enjoy more peace of mind. “The takeaway of our findings is that it’s not you, it’s your environment,” says Nanavati. “Anxiety isn’t static — there’s an ebb and flow to it throughout the day — and once you’re aware of your triggers, you can do something about them.”
Luckily, a new, portable solution has emerged that does just that: it grounds you in the moment to relieve these new stressors. The best part? You can always have one “on hand.”
The clever solution for new anxieties: Fidget rings
Bling that beats stress? Sounds almost too good to be true! Fidget rings (aka anxiety rings) are jewelry with beads or moving parts that you spin with your finger to calm frayed nerves and boost mindfulness in the moment.
No matter the kind of new anxiety — bankxiety, bodyxiety, planxiety, pingxiety — you’re facing, this trendy tool melts stress in the moment. It’s also a great sign of just how far we’ve come in de-stigmatizing mental health, observes Chivonna Childs PhD, psychologist and clinical assistant professor at Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine.
“While we used to feel like we had to hide our anxiety or depression, these rings let us say, ‘I’m anxious right now, and that’s okay. I have this tool that will help me through this moment.’ And I personally love that that they’re portable, fun and pretty,” she says. After all, why shouldn’t self-care be fashionable?
Fidget rings are a natural outgrowth of historical prayer techniques
They may be the hot new self-care tool on the block, but the roots of fidget rings stretch back thousands of years. Tibetan Buddhists, for example, used spinning cylinders or prayer wheels in their mediation practices to melt worries. By providing a physical outlet to pent up anxiety, prayer beads and rosary beads that work in similar ways.
From ancient monks to modern moguls: “[Entrepreneur and record executive] Russel Simmons, is a Buddhist and he always has prayer beads — if you watch him, sometimes he’ll twist, rub or count them,” observes Childs.
She points out that while this isn’t exactly the same as a fidget ring, the concept is strikingly similar: We can use the soothing power of touch and rhythmic movement to calm stress in the moment. That’s something that any knitter can confirm!
How does a fidget ring work?
When your mind is reeling from worries, a fidget ring gives you a steady focal point that anchors you in the moment, explains Childs. In fact, researchers at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill found that fidget rings decreased anxiety by 24 percent.
“You can just run your finger over the band or beads in a stressful work meeting, for instance,” says Childs. And the fact that this soothing, tactile experience is literally at your fingertips gives the rings a leg up on fidget spinners.
While a spinner is something external you hold in your hand, “a fidget ring is literally on you — you can empower yourself in yourself because you’re grounded in your body,” Childs explains. This added dimension makes anxiety rings more personal, more intimate, and arguably more effective than other “fidget fads.”
The 15 best fidget rings
It isn’t enough for jewelry to calm your nerves — it needs to express your personality. From delicate minimalism to show stopping maximalism, we rounded up a few options that’ll fit your style as much as your self-care goals.
Here are 15 functional and fashionable styles for you and your loved ones:
We all need a kind word now and again — even from ourselves! This rotating sterling silver ring has the words “I am enough, I am worthy, I am loved” etched on the outside of the spinning band, with the words “I am strong” on the inside. As you spin it, repeat the words to yourself and feel calm wash over you.
You know what they say: cubic zirconia is a girl’s best friend! This sparkling platinum-plated fidget ring won’t just quell anxiety with every turn of its interlocking design, it’ll lift your spirits with the most time-honored of all mood-boosters: good old-fashioned sparkle.
This thick, stylish ring with gold spinning bands with small hearts will make you feel as beautiful as it is. The two-tone effect helps it look much more luxe than its modest price point. Just spin the circles to help stop the “worry wheel” in your mind and show yourself some love.
Between the aftermath of pandemic-induced school shutdowns and, well, the everyday angst of being a young person, the teen in your life might be a bit stressed these days. To help her relax, consider gifting her with this colorful bead-spinning ring. She’ll love the trendy stackable design, and the delicate proportions are perfect for smaller hands.
To add a little sunshine to your day, this adorable three-tone ring is the perfect way to brighten your mood. Bonus: Like being out in nature, anxiety rings are shown to improve focus, allowing you to pinpoint specific baby steps that will help feel more peaceful and productive.
The perfect chunky statement ring for everyday wear, on the middle or index finger and even as a thumb ring. Made of hammered 925 Sterling Silver (Stamped) with five spinning bands made of silver, brass and copper that helps it meld with all your other jewelry.
When you need a little dash of magic in your day, slide this spinner on and feel transported to the world of Harry Potter. It makes a great gift for a young fan — or a pretty addition to your own collection. And it may inspire you to partake in a bit of good-natured, joyful mischief.
One of the biggest anxiety busters is definitely cuddles with our adorable furry friends, but when they aren’t around, this ring can have a similar effect. Simply spin the hearts and paws and remember the unconditional love of your pet for an instant dose of peace.
Pairing a relaxing nature motif with the benefits of fidget spinning, this flower-and-bee ring is a marriage made in heaven. Taking a break from your phone to play with your fidget ring gently weans your brain off this constant stimulation by giving you something else to concentrate on. Just roll your finger over the bloom to cue calm fast.
For a beautiful, scrolling beaded bliss, slip on this lovely ring. Just roll the beads around the band for instant peace of mind. Its gentle motion will relax you so that you can daydream and let your mind wander.
Guys get anxious too, and this burnished, stainless steel ring with geometric designs is a great way to add texture and movement to ground him in the moment. It’s also safe to shower, swim and work out with it on so he can have it on hand all the time!
Slip on this dainty birthstone ring to bring you health, luck and happiness. The stone at the top of the ring is rotatable to help you relax and the ring is adjustable for a comfortable fit. It serves as a reminder that you’re one of a kind, while bringing you peace of mind.
Perfect for women of faith, this spinner ring features a thin sterling silver band bedecked with dainty silver crosses and dots that spin atop a wider band of hammered sterling silver. You can spin it while in prayer or use it as reminder that God is always with you.
For a calming and constant reminder of your faith, this stainless steel two tone men’s ring has the Lord’s Prayer etched on the spinning band. Simply rotate it and recite, then let go and let God.
For a different spinning experience, this ring uses two gears so when one wheel is rotated, it spins the other. It’s an incredible tool for focus and the inlaid crystals give it a mesmerizing glimmer.
No matter the new anxieties you’re facing, just take a deep breath, spin your ring, return to the moment and feel peace wash over you.
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A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.
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