When buying a plushie for yourself, do you buy it with a certain intention in mind? Or because it's a cute toy that'll make you happy?
Have you ever wondered why you're so calm when you squish your favorite plushie?
We reached out to experts who answered these questions for us.
✨Not just a toy
Joburg-based psychologist, Tsholofelo Jood, says that plushies are not just a cute toy: they are way more than that.
She explained how the plushie allows you to explore receiving support outside the bounds of your relationship with the outside world. Security and safety is imbued in this object, and so it becomes more than a mere toy. There is an emotional connection with the plushie.
Studies suggest when we cuddle anything soft and comforting, it releases oxytocin.
This is a hormone that leaves us feeling calm and soothed.
We're hardwired to be more drawn toward soft and cuddly things, and this applies to both kids and adults.
For adults, many still have stuffed toys from their childhood days, and it is very common for adults to fall in love and buy plushies after many years of not having any. Some may feel embarrassed about this when there is absolutely no need to be.
Anything can hold symbolic and sentimental meaning to us - whether it is a rock or a necklace or a soft toy.
It is often not so much the actual object that is special to us, but what we like expressing, how we feel, and what makes us feel special.
Plushies also encourage children to be nurturing, which would also be the case if they cuddled with baby dolls.
The instinct to be gentle and caring is innate in children who are cared for gently. When they cuddle their stuffiest plush toy it is often an enacting of this instinct.
Many kids will make beds for their soft plushies, "feed" them and host pretend tea parties for them.
Lastly, when a child is dysregulated (tired, afraid or overstimulated), the softness of a teddy can serve as an effective soothing aid.
Plushies are not only healthy and good for your mental health, they are for all ages and genders. Loving plushies is normal and having your very own cuddle buddy can make you happier.
It’s okay, at any age, to cuddle a plushie when you're feeling down, or to collect them just because they are super cute! Loving a plushie and wanting to sleep cuddling one is not only not weird but much more comfortable and calming.
If you are looking for a new friend you can browse our online collection on best cuddle buddies for plushie lovers.