Given the regimented nature of our daily routine, it’s unsurprising that people – particularly those working in an office environment – can suffer from lapses in concentration from time to time. The human body is historically not accustomed to sitting in front of a desk and staring at a computer screen for eight hours a day, five days a week, yet that’s the situation that many people now find themselves in.
When productivity levels do drop, the individual in question may be reprimanded or reminded of their duties during working hours. However, maintaining such high levels of concentration for extended periods of time is not a natural attribute with which we are all blessed, meaning that most people require some kind of workaround or hack to reset their tired mind and allow them to refocus with renewed clarity.
How Stress Balls Help Productivity
Stress balls can provide exactly such a welcome relief from the drudgery and monotony of the modern workplace. By occupying your hands and a small but not insignificant portion of your mind, stress balls can fulfil the purpose for which they were designed and help to lift productivity while working. Here are five more detailed reasons why they should comprise an integral component of any office desk setup:
1) Distraction from work
Small acts of procrastination such as checking personal emails, scrolling through social media or chatting with co-workers might not be as damaging to office efficiency as previously assumed, according to a recent study from the University of Illinois. The researchers found that brief diversions can help to distract fatigued minds from the task at hand for a short period, allowing them to view them with a fresh lens after the fact. Stress balls can serve this very purpose.
2) Channelled aggression
The stress ball was first dreamt up in the 1980s by a TV writer named Alex Carswell, who launched a marker pen at a framed photo of his mother after an angry telephone exchange with his boss. The glass in the photo frame was broken, but so too was Carswell’s sense of indignation and he realised that he was onto something – and so the humble stress ball was born. By keeping one by your computer, you can channel frustrations and aggressions into a harmless outlet, allowing you to get on with your work unimpeded by unwanted emotions.
3) Decreased anxiety
Which situation would you find more stressful: a particularly angst-ridden afternoon in the office or going under the knife in an operating theatre? While some people might claim they’d prefer the latter to the former, surgery is surely a more daunting prospect than the daily grind… but stress balls even have the solution to that ordeal. According to a British study from the University of Surrey, patients suffered reduced levels of anxiety during operations when they were allowed to handle a stress ball. Is there anything it can’t do?
4) Focused attention
As well as reducing stress levels and releasing feelings of frustration and aggravation, stress balls can also help to sharpen the focus of attention. So says another study from the USA, which followed 29 sixth-graders over a 10-week period (three weeks without stress relievers, seven weeks with them) and noted marked improvements in their overall attentiveness, attitude towards learning, writing abilities and peer interaction, with fewer incidents of classroom disruption. If it works for fidgety adolescents, it surely works for overworked grown-ups, as well.
5) Convenient and compact
Small enough to fit inside the palm of your hand, stress balls can perch unobtrusively on the edge of your desk or nestle nicely inside a drawer within easy reach whenever they are needed. In this way, they can declutter your thoughts without adding to the clutter in your office. Since the old proverb says that a tidy room and a tidy mind go hand in hand, stress balls are keeping up their end of the bargain at both sides of it.
6) Portable respite
As well as conferring all of the above benefits on its owner while they are at the desk, stress balls are also small enough, light enough and malleable enough to be easily stowed in a bag or even crammed into a pocket. That way, they can offer stress relief in a myriad of different situations and settings. Given that the office is far from the only place that feelings of annoyance or irritation can surface, that kind of portable stress relief can be instrumental in keeping your mind free of the little things that don’t matter, so it’s ready to tackle the big ones which do when they arise.