Some folks might hear sensory tools and think about occupational therapy or those with special needs. While these items are important in managing special needs in children, there is a wide variety of sensory tools for adults, too. Many of these are excellent for adults as well and help manage day-to-day anxieties and frustrations. These can range from fidget spinners and items to occupy the hands to essential oil diffusers and unique lights.
There doesn’t need to be anything potentially “wrong” with you to employ calming strategies and sensory tools in your day-to-day life. These items are excellent for all folks in moments of anxiety or stress.
This year has been an anxiety-inducing one, and a lot of folks have spent more time than ever before cooped up and need some ways to let off steam. We’ve rounded up a list of powerful sensory tools for adults, some may surprise you, and others are regular household items that can play a large part in relaxation for some! If you’re curious about how to add an extra dose of calm to your life, check out our list of the best sensory tools for adults.
The Best Sensory Tool for Adults
Our best choice utilizes consistent pressure to promote more energy and help with headache relief. Ever have a brain freeze and pinch that web of skin between your thumb and pointer finger? That’s acupressure at work. There’s a pressure point in that space that helps with headache relief. If you’re suffering from a headache or tension, or if you just want more energy, place the Aculief Wearable Tension Relief on that pressure point, and with some time, you’ll start to feel some relief and blood flow.
The pressure point that Aculief targets is the LI4 pressure point. This pressure point is related to headaches, eye problems, and fever. This product’s design is ergonomic and allows you to go about your day and continue regular activity as usual. The Aculief is available in three colors, so you can choose the option that best matches your style.
For those who enjoy auditory sensory tools, we’ve got an excellent choice for you. This Tibetan Singing Bowl Set was handcrafted and hammered by Nepalese artisans. This bowl is small but can be an exceptional addition to a meditation or yoga practice, both of which are great calming strategies and ways to cope with anxiety and day to day frustrations.
It takes some time to learn to play a Tibetan singing bowl, so be patient when first trying out this product. This bowl is smaller than most others and will take a little learning even if you have prior experience. This gift set comes with a striker, bowl, and cushion, everything you need to start playing right out of the box.
If auditory sensations are proven to help you focus and key in your calming strategy, then this bowl set is an excellent instrument for you.
If you’re anything like this writer, different smells in your home can make a huge difference in comfort and relaxation levels. Lavender and Eucalyptus for relaxation and citrus oils like orange and lime for energy boosts make a massive difference in the home. Smells have strong sensory ties and can evoke different emotions. Adding a diffuser to your home and experimenting with aroma can significantly impact your comfort levels.
This essential oil diffuser comes with a beautiful and elegant tree design, bringing nature to your home. This diffuser also changes colors and has seven LED color options to set the mood in your home, making this product both a smell and visually calming device—an excellent choice for creating a relaxing space in your home. The EQUSUPRO Essential Oil Diffuser is one of the best sensory tools for anxiety and your home.
Fidgeters, rejoice! We’ve got a product for you. Speks Magnetic Balls are a set of, well, magnetic balls. These balls are made for smashing, crushing, molding, shaping, building, and any other constructive or destructive fidgeting tendencies you may have. You can build towers, shapes, endless amorphous blobs; the world is your oyster when you have Speks in hand.
The Speks Magnetic Balls set comes with 512 2.5-mm rare earth magnet balls. They are strong magnets, so breaking off individual magnets and losing them is tricky, but they are malleable enough to become whatever your heart or mind desires. Some of the reviews mention that the colors chip off relatively quickly, so as long as you don’t mind that potential problem, these balls are excellent for those who love to fidget and build. Only people 14 years of age or older should use this product, and be sure to keep it up and away from pets, as it can present a choking hazard.
Building and constructing items can be as therapeutic as destroying them — but it’s hard to find socially appropriate ways to build and destroy.
You might have heard of kinetic sand or moon sand advertised as toys for children, but these are not just for kids anymore. Have you ever seen a tiny sand zen garden on someone’s home office desk? We’ve got an upgrade on that for you. Kinetic Sand Kalm is essentially a miniature sandbox for adults, think desktop size, but filled with kinetic sand for the extra element of fun and calming.
The Kinetic Sand Kalm tray features a sleek design that allows it to blend in effortlessly with any décor in your home or office without being an obvious distraction. The set comes with three tools, a slicer, a rake/rolling ball, and a 2-in-1 scoop and shifter, as well as an instruction guide.
You can play, build, and sculpt to your heart’s content or until your anxiety is calmed, making this an excellent sensory tool or toy for a calming room.
Sometimes the most challenging part about managing stress is that you just don’t know what to do, or maybe you’re so overwhelmed you just can’t remember. Perhaps you have a myriad of excellent techniques, but your brain is so wrapped up in what’s happening — you just don’t know how to pause.
We present the Stress Less Cards for the concrete and physical reminder of how to destress or additional ideas on new calming strategies. These cards are easy to keep on hand and feature reminders and ideas of how to pause, destress, and take a moment for yourself.
The Stress Less card pack features 50 mindfulness and meditation exercises for any situation. If you can’t remember what to do, simply grab a card and do what it says. Alternatively, you can review a few and select your favorite.
These cards fit in a compact case that measures 3.39 inches wide, 5.08 inches long, and just 0.75 inches thick. These pocket-sized cards are easy to take with you anywhere in a bag, pocket, purse, backpack, or briefcase, so you have on-the-go ideas on how to chill out.
Many of the instructions and ideas may seem like small steps, but when anxiety runs amuck in our minds — those little reminders may help when the ideas seem so far away.
Weighted blankets are, without a doubt, the most popular and most often purchased sensory tool for adults. The compression provided by a weighted blanket evokes calming feelings for the wearer as if you’re in a big bear hug. So, naturally, there’s a weighted blanket on our list.
The YnM Weighted Blanket is a favorite of ours due to its size. This blanket measures 60 inches across and 80 inches long, far exceeding the dimensions of standard weighted blankets. This sizing allows taller folks to adequately fit underneath or for multiple folks to use this blanket simultaneously.
The unique seven-layer structure keeps its wearer calm and cool. The segmented baffling allows the glass beads to distribute weight evenly across the surface of the blanket and fit your body contour.
To keep it in ship-shape, we recommend picking up a duvet cover that you can regularly wash, as you should only wash the weighted blanket by hand.
With most things on this list, you may be familiar with therapy brushes in one way or another. If not, take a look at the Wilbarger Therapy Brush.
In a professional occupational therapy setting, these brushes help people with autism, ADHD, and sensory processing disorders respond better to touch stimuli. These brushes mimic a deep pressure massage and offer a chance to adjust to touch stimuli. These brushes have a variety of textures for calming in various ways. In some instances, it may be best to first use therapy brushes under the guidance of an occupational therapist, but it isn’t necessary.
With these brushes, you’ll want to brush the skin with firm pressure in a singular motion, generally downwards. You don’t need to have a sensory processing issue to utilize these brushes. If you like the way you feel and they help calm you down — great, enjoy them! Therapy brushes are great, proven calming aids for both children and adults. This set comes with six brush options in a variety of densities.
One of the most popular sensory toys for adults behind the weighted blanket is the coloring book. No animated characters here; adult coloring books feature more intricate designs to maintain focus and provide relaxation to the person using this book. The ARTEZA Coloring Book for Adults, Floral Designs is an adult coloring book loaded with floral designs, pictures, and ideas for you to color in. This book also makes an excellent gift for any flower enthusiast!
Seventy-two pages of high-quality paper compile this exceptional coloring book. The pages are detachable, so you can gift your works or hang them on your wall as décor. The book itself is 6.4 inches by 6.4 inches, so it’s portable and nests easily into a backpack, purse, or briefcase. This portability allows you to utilize this book anywhere — so you can bring calm with you on the go, no matter where you’re off to.
The next product in our lineup of the best sensory tools for adults is over 50 years old. Alright, the product you get isn’t 50 years old, but the brand and the machine design has stood the test of generations. The Marpac Dohm Classic is the original white noise machine. Marpac invented the fan-based white noise system in 1962, and that same idea is what they are still producing now. Some things stand the test of time, and this machine is one of them.
If you love background noise while you sleep, specifically white noise, then this machine is the choice for you. This fan-based white noise machine has two speed modes and allows you to adjust the volume and tone of your white noise for a perfectly curated sleeping experience.
Unbox it, grab the plug, plug it into your standard wall socket, and turn it on. That’s all you need to do to create an incredible sleeping environment crafted just for you.
Sensory Tools for Adults Buying Guide & FAQ
Features to Look for in Sensory Tools for Adults
Whole Body Sensory Products – Whole-body sensory products can include a variety of things such as bodysuits, loungers, swings, and other items to sit in or on. These items generally provide calming pressure for the whole body for a relaxing and soothing experience. Weighted blankets tend to be the most popular choice in sensory tools for adults. The weight of a lap pad, blanket, or vest provides a soothing sensation reminiscent of a bear hug, and we all know how good that feels at the end of the day.
Small Sensory Items – Small sensory items are excellent handheld sensory devices. These can look like anything from a fidget spinner to a Rubik’s cube. These items can keep the hand or fingers busy and engaged. Generally, these items are highly portable and great for traveling and day to day use. Many of these also fit in a pocket or purse so that they can go with you anywhere. Many of these items make excellent sensory tools for adults.
Noise Sensory Items – Noise sensory toys are often of use for non-verbal children. In the adult world, most noise sensory items help block out or simplify noise and noise pollution. Noise-canceling headphones that allow the wearer to block out other noises can be a powerful tool in productivity and focus. For sleep, a white noise machine or a recording of rain noises may be an excellent way to relax before you snooze!
Sight and Smell Products – For smell sensory products, consider candles, essential oils, incense, or other pleasing and calming aromas. For sight, sensory products, coloring books are always a great option. Coloring books are powerful anxiety calming tools that provide an activity to engage in that is also aesthetically pleasing. A large variety of adult coloring books exist. Additionally, if you’d like to make your home a more calming space, you could opt for various lighting options that better suit your needs. All of these things can be home improvement items or stress relief tools.
Sensory Tools for Adults FAQ
Q: What are sensory tools?
A: Sensory tools are various items that allow for sensory engagement and boost an individual’s ability to focus. These tools can include weighted items for a sense of comfort, fidget toys for keeping hands engaged, or things like balance boards or seats. These items allow those who need it a chance to filter out extraneous sensory information or occupy a distracting hand to promote better focus and engagement on a task, school, or work.
Q: How do sensory tools work?
A: Some folks have difficulties processing sensory information and are often overloaded or need a way to focus excess energy, and a sensory tool allows for a healthy outlet. Sensory tools can be used by children, teenagers, and adults of all neurological states to release excess energy, reduce anxiety, or promote focus. When you allow someone to work with a putty while engaging in conversation, all that thought about what to do with their hands and need for movement is channeled, which allows the person to focus more intently on the discussion at hand. Additionally, if nervousness and anxiety create a need for movement, sensory tools are an excellent option for channeling that.
Q: What are calming strategies?
A: Calming strategies are about how they sound: strategies used to calm down a person. These can include stretching or going for a walk, or utilizing tools such as a fidget spinner, balance board, or stress balls. All these options are valid and customized to the individual. You likely have a calming strategy, whether you know it or not! If you don’t, it’s a valuable thing to have for all people, we all tend to get frustrated sometimes, and a surefire way to calm down is essential. Calming strategies involve sensory calming tools, as well.
Q: How do stress balls help relieve stress?
A: Stress balls require a squeeze and release motion, which helps alleviate tension and thereby reduces stress. Stress balls are also excellent for the muscles of the hands and fingers and can help with carpal tunnel and arthritis symptoms, but it’s okay if you just use this tool for stress relief. The pattern of tensioning and releasing can also regulate breathing, create more relaxed breathing patterns, and reduce stress.