I love having a large stuffed animal to cuddle with! My daughter has a giant stuffed dog she keeps to comfort her and for her anxiety. It replaces her pillow at night on her bed.
I sometimes used her giant stuffed dog as a resource to cuddle with when I need some support. My favorite thing about her giant stuffed dog is how soft the entire dog is. I like to pet the dog sometimes help center myself and almost use it like a worry stone sometimes.
I want to talk to you about having a giant stuffed toy for anxiety. It helped my daughter through the big move from Alaska to Colorado in 2017. My mom got her the giant stuffed dog that summer we moved. It has been her resource ever since. My daughter named her Bubba.
Here are my top six reasons for having a giant stuffed animal for coping with anxiety.
1. Like bringing back the love you had when you were younger
I remember when I was being cuddled by my grandma when I was growing up. She was so centering for me, and I remember her loving me very much. It’s almost as if the stuffed dog can bring back her love for me, even though she passed 25 years ago.
I also remember sitting next to my dad as we did math problems together. It was deeply reassuring. When I sit next to the dog, it reminds me of sitting next to my dad as he taught me math.
2. Feelings of safety
Hugging the stuffed dog gives me feelings of safety. It gives me the sensations of secure attachment. That is, the people who are closest to me actually want to take care of me. The second is that I am worthy of my grandmother’s and dad’s attention and love.
These feelings of safety are necessary to have healthy relationships in the world. Without having these feelings of psychological safety, I go into trauma repetition compulsion and used to have repetitive patterns of avoidance in my close relationships with my husband and kids. But through therapy and the large stuffed dog, I’ve slowly moved to having safe, secure relationships.
3. Stress Management
The lack of safety and security can manifest itself into stress and anxiety. I remember being incredibly stressed out when I was at work and I wasn’t feeling safe and secure in myself. I also had trouble recalling facts and my short-term memory was affected.
However, when I cuddle with the large stuffed dog, I feel my stress levels go down. When I couple this with breathing exercises, I regain a sense of relaxation and ease.
Bubba also helps Athena with handling her stress. Sometimes when she needs to take a break from homework, she goes to her room to cuddle with the large stuffed dog.
4. Helps my daughter to go to sleep better
Bubba helps my daughter go to sleep at night. The dog keeps her warm and cozy. It keeps her calm at night.
Bubba is good to cuddle with at night and get comfort from. If she is having bad dreams, it’s good to get comfort from the large stuffed dog.
Also, Bubba helps my daughter stay warm when she snuggles with the dog.
5. Add a few drops of lavender essential oil
I find that adding three or four drops of lavender essential oil to Bubba is another way to help my daughter and I calm down. Lavender essential oil helps by eliminating nervous tension and is a natural pain reliever.
Lavender essential oil also helps induce sleep. I place a few drops on Bubba before Athena sleeps on her at night. It has been shown in studies that when lavender oil replaces sleep medication in elderly patients, there is an increase of sleep regularity.
6. Bubba represents hope
It’s kind of weird that a stuffed animal can represent hope. But for me, Bubba represents the fact that I’m getting better in my healing journey. I used to cuddle with that large stuffed dog and not feel anything at all. I’m letting myself feel the love that my father and grandmother had for me.
I’m letting myself feel the stress melt away by cuddling for stuffed animal; I’m letting myself know it’s okay to do that.
I’m letting my daughter find her own resources and find her own ways of coping with life by finding a safety net in Bubba. She has found her own way of psychological safety. That is a great way to inoculate her against stress and the ups and downs of life.
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