Free Press Journal

Adults, don’t dump your teddy bear


Sneha Singh discovers why you should always remain friends with your fluffy buddy

When was the last time you hugged a teddy bear? It’s probably hard to recollect, right? But there was a time when that special toy meant the world to you. Just like Christopher Robin had Pooh, you too have had somebody who was soft, fluffy and lovable. During the childhood years, your favourite teddy bear was your only companion, who hung out with you through good times and bad. On the occasion of World Teddy Bear Day today, we let you know that your cute little teddy is more than a bunch of cotton and fur. Read on about the lesser-known benefits of having a teddy, even for grown-ups…

Bear for the blues

Work burdens coupled with family responsibilities can lead to depression and anxiety. But fret not, because you have got your bear beside you! It is proven that stuffed toys and especially teddy bears can help alleviate anxiety and depression in people. Dr. Y. A. Matcheswalla, renowned senior psychiatrist asserts, “Simply having a stuffed toy does not relieve anxiety and is not largely recommended. However, a teddy bear is made in a way that the patient can hug it. Thus, a teddy bear can decrease loneliness; it is ‘hug therapy’ that works.”

Cosy companion

When you have nobody, you have your teddy bear! Your cuddly teddy can also be your close buddy with no complaints, and no demands. Dealing with a break-up or grieving over the loss of a loved one, gives rise to aloofness. You tend to isolate yourself socially and the feeling of loneliness may eat up your peace of mind. Sagar Mundada, consultant psychiatrist at Healthspring says, “Given that isolation increases stress and cortisol production, and petting dogs reduces blood pressure, researchers suggest that touching a teddy bear might make you not just happier but healthier too.” A teddy bear mimics the feel of human touch and hence, psychiatrists these days recommend talking and touching teddy bears to ward-off the negative effects of loneliness.

Life saviour

According to a study conducted by the University of Amsterdam, touching something comforting, even if inanimate like a teddy bear, can help those with low self-esteem with their existential/ life worries. People with low self-esteem have higher suicidal tendencies. When people tag their lives as meaningless, they struggle with their own mortality and they seem to question their own existence. In such cases, teddy bears may come in handy for people who feel worthless. The healing effect of a teddy bear helps individuals suffering from low esteem and gives their life a meaning.

Parents, take note

Working parents have no other choice, but to leave their kids either at home with the babysitter or at day-care centres. Sometimes being away from parents, especially the mother, leaves a negative effect on a child’s mental well-being and they become prone to depression, and anxiety. It also strains the relationship with parents. In a situation like this, a teddy bear can help soothe the kid’s pain and fear of separation from the parents as it becomes the ‘transitional object’, a comfort object which reminds the child of the mother. Dr Mundada explains, “The transitional object may be conceived of in three ways: as typifying a phase in a child’s development; as a defence against separation anxiety; and, lastly, as a neutral sphere in which experience is not challenged and the teddy bear acts as a transitional object”. Next time, if you are going to have a long day at work, don’t forget to give your child his/ her favourite teddy bear.

Perfect sleep partner

We can understand the struggle of sleeping with a partner who snores. But if you have nobody but a teddy bear beside you in bed, you are more likely to sleep like a baby. Not just this, people who have fears or who wake up in the middle of the night due to nightmares, can have better sleep with their teddy bear by their side. Your warm, fuzzy friend won’t disturb your night’s sleep. Go ahead and snooze off with your teddy bear if you are looking for a partner who is silent, warm and cosy!