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Adults With Stuffed Animals: 4 Benefits


Uncover the psychology as to why adults love stuffed animals and how it impacts emotional and mental health. Discover Kins & Snugglers at Slumberkins.

No matter how old we get, there are some parts of our inner child we never let go. Deep down, there’s always a part of us that can’t help but marvel at the stars, delight in play, and seek comfort in the familiar. 

One such comfort that has gained extra attention lately is the phenomenon of adults with stuffed animals. Psychology statistics don’t lie—while we often associate stuffed animals with childhood, these plush companions have found a place in the hearts and homes of some 43% of adults.

If that number surprises you, you're not alone. Many wonder why stuffed animals continue to hold such appeal, even for grown-ups. And while the reasons are as varied as the individuals who cherish them, there are some common threads that tie this fluffy phenomenon together. 

Unpacking the Appeal Behind Adults with Stuffed Animals

Much of the psychology behind stuffed animals traces back to our early childhood memories. In psychological terms, these fluffy friends are known as “transitional objects” or comfort objects. For adults, the effects of a stuffed animal are largely the same as when we were children:

  • Decreased anxiety
  • Reduced fear in people with low self-esteem
  • Improved motivation, socialization, and relaxation

Multiple studies agree—stuffed animals offer a sense of comfort, security, and support that transcends age. Specifically, we see the benefits of comfort objects for adults manifest in four areas.

#1. Psychological Comfort and Well-Being 

For many adults, the gentle fluff and huggable softness of a teddy bear or an otter stuffed animal acts as a bridge to childhood memories and experiences. These loveable companions hold strong sentimental value and can evoke powerful reactions:

  • Emotional attachment and security – Navigating the complexities of adult life can be challenging, and a cherished comfort object serves as a steadfast confidant that provides emotional support. Just as when dealing with the many new experiences of childhood, this bond is particularly powerful during times of change or uncertainty.
  • Reduced stress and anxiety – The act of holding or cuddling a stuffed animal or plush toy can stimulate the release of oxytocin, the "feel-good" hormone that promotes a sense of calm and well-being. In moments of distress, a stuffed animal can provide a tangible anchor of emotional comfort.

Our Kins offer a unique form of psychological support, promoting overall well-being and emotional resilience in the lives of adults.

#2. Nostalgia and Childhood Connections 

Beyond their role as comforters, a transitional object can act as a tiny keeper of our past, linking present experiences with the rosy hues of childhood. 

Symbolism and Sentiment

For many of us, our favorite stuffed animal is more than fluff-filled fabric—it’s a symbol of cherished memories and connections to loved ones. These plush toys can embody the essence of a time when life felt safer and more predictable.

Therapeutic Value of Nostalgia

Nostalgia, that bittersweet feeling often triggered by particular sights or smells from our past, continues to fascinate psychologists even today. Researchers agree that nostalgia tends to emerge as a therapeutic response—most often when we face difficulties, worries, or anxieties. 

By reconnecting us with the joys and comforts of our early years of being a young child, cherished stuffed animals provide solace and an important reminder: you are strong, and you can be happy, even in the face of adult responsibilities and stresses.

#3. Coping Mechanisms and Mental Health 

As mental health becomes a more openly discussed aspect of adult life, the role of stuffed animals as coping mechanisms comes into clearer focus, offering support for a range of emotional challenges:

  • Anxiety and depression – One study demonstrated a direct link between anxiety and the desire for human touch—a desire that, the study shows, was met with an increased use of teddy bears.
  • Loneliness and isolation – The nostalgia that a stuffed companion evokes is proven to be a crucial antidote to loneliness. These feelings are often compounded after the loss of a loved one or when traveling to unfamiliar places.

In these situations and many others, a plush animal emerges as more than just a toy—but as a genuine tool to support mental health and emotional regulation.

#4. Social Acceptance 

Recent years have seen a shift in societal attitudes toward mental health and emotional well-being. As part of this broader cultural awakening, the idea of adults with stuffed animals has become increasingly normalized and celebrated.

Ultimately, this social acceptance represents a heartening step towards a more honest, emotionally authentic society. Everyone is free to find solace in the things that bring them comfort—stuffed animals and all.

Let Loose Your Inner Kid with Slumberkins

Whether as a tool for managing anxiety, a source of comfort during times of loss, or a nostalgic reminder of happy times, stuffed animals offer a unique and powerful form of support for adult mental health.

In a world that often encourages us to "grow up" and leave childish things behind, the abundance of research and personal experiences share a unified message: stuffed animals are for adults, too. 

In fact, many adults use Slumberkins for therapeutic use in supporting their own inner child healing. The affirmations make it easy to remind yourself of the deep messages that you may have missed during childhood such as you are worthy, you are loveable, and you are never alone. 

At Slumberkins, we believe that everyone deserves a soft, cuddly friend to turn to in times of need. That’s why our carefully crafted stuffed animals are designed with love and care to provide the perfect balance of comfort and companionship. 

Whether you're looking for a new bedtime buddy, a travel companion, or just a reminder of the magic of childhood, Slumberkins has the perfect plush pal for you.

Because in the end, aren’t we all just big kids at heart? 


Sources: 


New York Post. We never stop cuddling our teddy bears — even as adults. https://nypost.com/2018/03/01/we-never-stop-cuddling-our-teddy-bears-even-as-adults/


Time. How Cuddly Comfort Objects May Help Adults with Anxiety. https://time.com/6165265/stuffed-animals-anxiety-adults/


Research Gate. Embodied Terror Management: Interpersonal Touch Alleviates Existential Concerns Among Individuals With Low Self-Esteem. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/258282530_Embodied_Terror_Management_Interpersonal_Touch_Alleviates_Existential_Concerns_Among_Individuals_With_Low_Self-Esteem


The Campus. Stuffed animals are necessary. https://alleghenycampus.com/21825/opinion/stuffed-animals-are-necessary/


Medical News Today. Why do we need nostalgia? https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/why-do-we-need-nostalgia#What-are-the-benefits-of-nostalgia?

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