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What does the squishy trend reveal about us?

Strange, smooshable animals are here to reveal an incredible, heart-wrenching need that’s rooted deep in our psyche.

Just like any other writer, I am susceptible to all sorts of distractions while I write. Snacks, chores, Instagram, Facebook, email… every procrastination reason known to man can pull me away from what I should do.

Luckily, I found a new trick that helps me to remain focused while working on my articles, one that closes the door to procrastination. So, what is this new recipe for supreme productivity? Is it a new drug? A meal? An app? Nope, it’s a huge foam unicorn that you can squeeze as much as you want, and that regains its original shape afterward. It’s a squishy.

If you haven’t heard of them before, squishies are foam toys that come in all sorts of sizes and shapes. You can get a fruit, a baked good, a panda face and many others. Most are scented, and they smell like sweets. These immensely satisfying toys are about to become the next big toy craze. Forget all about fidget spinners. New kids are in town.

When it comes to advertising, marketers present these as stress and anxiety relief toys. But, after I picked mine up, and squished it for a while, I’ve come to an entirely different conclusion. Squishies can help us ease our feeling of loneliness in this era deprived of touch.

Hashtag #squishy has over two million posts on Instagram and YouTube. Photos, videos, reviews – squishies are all over the Internet.

 

But why do these little toys thrill us so much?

Well, some linked their effect to the famous “cloth mother, wire mother” experiment from the 60’s. One group of baby monkeys got a wire “mother” shape, while others got a cloth one. The ones who got soft mother replacements were more social and developed better than the wire mother group. This theory affected child-raising at the time, as it provided proof that we all need warm, affectionate contact in order to develop.

I’m not saying that squishies are a replacement for real human touch. However, their adorable looks and soft texture provide an amazing feeling of reassurance. A lot of kids who went off to camp asked for their squishies on the visiting day. Squishies combine the comfort of a plush toy with the cool factor of a trendy toy and activity.

So, it’s no wonder adults are going crazy for these toys – myself included. Sure, there’s no replacement for a hug, but a comfort object can help us feel better.

That means that everyone can get their own comforting little toy, and still be cool. Yes, it’s embarrassing for kids to bring their stuffed toys to camp, and it would be even more embarrassing if an adult were to bring theirs to work. However, a cool, trendy, smooshable unicorn isn’t embarrassing – it’s an interesting conversation starter that can get you closer to your colleagues.

There’s a good reason to get your own aggressively cute squishy and enjoy it. You can get your squishy in toy stores or online, and they will always be there, ready to be squished.

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