Why do endorphins release when we utilize tools like stress balls during stressful moments?


I am guilty of having bad habits such as picking my fingers so I have turned to stress balls when I’m feeling anxious or stressed out. Is there a particular endorphin released? If so, why does this happen with the help of a stress ball.

In: Biology

During anxiety and stress, our body releases hormones that activate our fight or flight response. Notice that fighting or fleeing are both actions that we need to do and our body rewards us for doing those actions by releasing endorphins to cancel out the stress response.

This makes sense back in the days when we needed to fight off large predators. Our ancestors who fought off or fled from the predators tended to survive more than the humans that did nothing.

However, in the modern world, many things that stress us are not easily delt with. Issues like “how will I pay my bills?” or “what should I be doing with my life?” cause the same stress response but there is no easy way or fight or run away from it completely.

That is why taking actions like squeezing a stress ball makes our body feel like we’re doing something in those stressful events to relieve them. It’s also why stressed/angry people find release in breaking things because they have control over those actions. More healthy ways of dealing with stress involve exercising (effectively fleeing) or other physical activities (fighting) to manage stress.