Having a child with disabilities can be rough. It can be detrimental to their mental health or make them feel self-conscious and alone. If the child is very small, this is a tough situation as it probably won’t be easy to adjust to in the beginning. Whether your child is very small or in the later stages of childhood, getting them a stuffed animal may help. Surprisingly, the quaint creatures stitched together in cotton, plush or other soft fabrics, gives a sense of self to those suffering from a major case of the blues. In terms of stress, plus toys also offer a way to relieve stress; whether that toy is a giant whale stuffed animal, or an inter dimensional creature just looking for its way home.

Studies have shown, cuddling with stuffed animals can be used as treatment to treat stress and depression, among other mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder and dissociative identity disorder, but shouldn’t be substituted for medical treatment. Its effects are most useful in minor situations, although, it’s not guaranteed to affect everyone the same way. Some may not enjoy cuddling with a stuffed plush toy. However, for some, it grounds them to the reality of their situation. At times where their life may seem like its falling apart, it helps the cuddling person to realize that things may not be as bad as they appear.

Tests were done with stuffed dogs and the children in Israel that experienced war trauma. The study was conducted by giving children stuffed dog toys. Children chosen were those that had issues coping with the situations they dealt, so they can move on with a normal life. The original idea was the stuffed animal would simply cheer them up. The children were told that the animals were now in their care, which is a form of therapy called surrogate therapy. This type of therapy involves having a child believe that it must take care of a plush toy. This allows them to separate themselves from the situation and relate to the toy (surrogate) they are given.

After the experiment was over, parents reported that most of the children that were suffering from separation fears, stress, aggression, nightmares and excessive crying, among other issues, found relief. Either the symptoms were greatly reduced, or the symptoms disappeared altogether. This has led researches to believe that stuffed animals can be used to cure other kinds of mental issues. In 2014, they began research on whether similar effects can be found in children of divorce or children going through a major life crisis like homelessness.

In conclusion, cuddling with stuffed animals can have very positive effects on the psyche. When cuddling them, it provides a sense of security and companionship. They may provide an outlet where children can rant about their day and let off steam, as well as helping them cope with loneliness. The effects of cuddling with stuffed animals have recently been studied among adults as well as children. So, if you’re feeling stressed out about life, try hugging a stuffed animal. More often than not, it will make you feel better.