Adults With Stuffed Animals Psychology (2022 Updated)

Adults With Stuffed Animals Psychology (2022 Updated)

While stuffed animals might be more geared towards children, a recent survey had shown that 43 percent of grownups admitted to still owning soft toys from when they were kids. 

Here’s what psychology has to say about adults with stuffed toys. 

What Psychology Says About Adults With Stuffed Animals 

What Psychology Says About Adults With Stuffed Animals

Psychologists see nothing wrong with adults owning stuffed animals. During childhood, teddy bears and soft blankets act as transitional objects to help when a child transitions from dependence to independence. This is most commonly used during the night when the child is forced to sleep alone or separate from their mom. They turn to this comfort object during sleep. 

Clinical psychologist and pediatrician Donald Winnicott coined the term “transitional object,” which can be referred to as comfort objects that can ease our separation anxiety and help us feel less lonely. [1

Why It Isn’t Weird

If you are an adult with an attachment to soft toys, know that you’re not alone. Around four in ten adults still sleep with a stuffed animal from their childhood, with a large percentage coming from the millennial age group.

In fact, out of the 43 percent of the 2,000 respondents, 84 percent of men own at least one stuffed animal, compared to the 77 percent of women who still keep them in bed. 

8 Benefits Of Stuffed Animals For Adults 

1. To Find Comfort

To Find Comfort

Because our stuffed friends had provided comfort when we were a child, our brains and psyche are hard-wired to recognize them as sources of comfort, even well into adulthood. They can be comforting, especially when times seem difficult. 

2. To Sleep Better

Sometimes, there is nothing more to sleeping with a teddy than it feels soft. Some grownups still sleep with them out of habit, much like you would a pillow. On the other hand, some absolutely cannot fall asleep without their stuffed companions around. 

So if your reason for sleeping with a stuffed animal in bed is because they help you get a good night’s sleep, psychologists see no problem with that — in fact, whatever helps you fall asleep faster is always a plus (except for alcohol and drugs)! But is it weird to sleep with stuffed animals?

3. To Improve Mental Health

To Improve Mental Health

Stuffed animals help improve one’s mental health, and even psychologists agree. Dr. Aniko Dunn, licensed Psy. D., highly recommends them for people suffering from bipolar, PTSD, and other mental health conditions. 

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4. To Help Ease Loneliness

Teddy bears have been linked with easing loneliness in kids, which can carry over to adulthood. After all, humans are social creatures, and they will seek anything that will make them feel less lonely. 

While our stuffed friends will never be able to replace actual human contact, they can still help ease the anxiety that comes with lonely nights. Here's a list of the best stuffed animals for anxiety.

5. To Have Security

To Have Security

A doll or stuffed friend can bring security, especially if we have made this correlation with it during our childhood. 

We often have a life upheaval at this age — whether it be moving away for college, a new job, or leaving home altogether — so it’s natural to cling on to any matter that gives support and relieves anxiety. It makes sense that this object would be a teddy bear. 

6. To Help Heal From Trauma

A stuffed animal can heal deep-seated trauma from the past, which not a lot of people know about. They can be useful for “re-parenting,” wherein the trauma survivor can use them to recover from traumatic experiences in childhood, especially when they have gone through neglect or abuse. 

The child can learn to love and care for the teddy bear unconditionally and, in turn, themselves. The teddy bear will provide them an outlet for expressing loving emotions and boost their low self-esteem.  

7. To Remind Them Of Childhood

 To Remind Them Of Childhood

We can often feel as though they’re just aimlessly going through life. Cuddling with a stuffed animal can invoke a sense of nostalgia, whether memories of our parents and siblings or snuggling and safety, which can provide continuity and support to our present selves. 

Furthermore, feelings of nostalgia typically make us happier. 

8. To Reduce Stress

Animals can reduce feelings of stress, whether they’re stuffed or alive. Petting an animal can reduce our body’s cortisol levels. So go ahead and give your favorite teddy bear a pet or squeeze — your body will thank you for it! 

Studies have shown that high cortisol levels in the body contribute to weight gain and the likelihood of coronary disease. 

Is There A Stigma On Having A Stuffed Animal? 

Is There A Stigma On Having A Stuffed Animal?

It depends. As a full-grown adult, you may be worried about the stigma surrounding your attachment to plush toys, seeing as how they’re more geared towards children. 

If you’re not convinced that it's perfectly acceptable, remember that 43 percent of respondents openly admitted to still having childhood teddies. 

Of course, you still have to consider the stuffed animal’s representation in your life. Are you finding it difficult to form deeper relationships with other people, and instead seek comfort from your teddy bear? Is your attachment to the soft toys laced with shame? Those are a few things you want to watch out for. 

FAQs 

Is it normal for adults to be emotionally attached to stuffed animals?

Yes, it’s perfectly normal for adults to be emotionally attached to stuffed animals, especially if they were used as transitional objects during their childhood. As transitional objects, they provided safety and comfort, which could improve the well-being of your psychological state as an adult. 

Is it weird for adult men to sleep with stuffed animals?

No, it’s not weird for adult men to sleep with stuffed animals! The same survey mentioned above revealed that out of the 43 percent who admitted they were sleeping with weighted stuffed animals in bed, 84 percent of them were men. 

In Conclusion 

If you’re wondering what psychology says about sleeping with a teddy bear, understand that it’s not a bad thing. Many psychologists even encourage it! 

If they provide safety and comfort, they highly encourage you to maintain that bond. 

However, if the stuffed animal is taking away from your quality of life or there is plenty of anxiety surrounding your attachment to the stuffed animal, maybe it’s time to reassess your relationship — there may be some deep-seated trauma that needs to be healed first. 

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Reference: 

  1. https://www.goodtherapy.org/famous-psychologists/donald-winnicott.html

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