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How to make your own stress squeeze toy, (or how that stuff you learn from tv science shows can be truly useful).

Tools and Materials:

Step 1.

Pour very hot water into the empty gatorade bottle. Empty the bottle quickly and slip balloon into bottle and fit the mouth of the balloon over the mouth of the bottle, so the bottle mouth holds the balloon open and makes a seal and the balloon is dangling inside the bottle.

As the steam inside the bottle cools, the air pressure inside the bottle will decrease, it will try to draw air into the bottle through the mouth, but the balloon is in the way, so it will artificially expand the balloon inside the bottle, making a nice easy cavity for us to pour baking soda into.

Step 2.

Take the syphon and pour a reasonable amount of baking soda in it. Slowly pour the baking soda into the balloon until you have a good amount in there. It may take several syphon loads. You're just going to have to eyeball it.

Step 3.

Now, to remove the balloon from the bottle. Pour a few milliliters of water (maybe 10 to 15 drops) into the balloon to form a seal over the top of the baking soda so when you break the seal between the balloon and the bottle, the baking soda won't come exploding out of the balloon and covering every available surface.

Quickly pinch the neck of the balloon (there's no telling how long the seal will last) and then slowly work the balloon out of the bottle. Once you have it out, work all the remaining air out of the balloon while still retaining a firm grip on the neck. Tie a firm knot around the neck of the balloon, snip off the excess and you have just made your very own stress ball.

Double bag the balloon if you are feeling paranoid. I had one such balloon explode on me at work, all over my clothes and desk and keyboard and it sucked.

I will take you a few tries to get it just right, but, keep trying. It is very worth it.

It took me about 10 tries following different instructions I found on the internet to work out this method. The gatorade bottle is my original idea. I guess watching Mr. Wizard all those years paid off...

Or, somewhat less messy and involved:

Take a balloon. Blow it up and deflate it once to stretch it out. Stick a funnel in the end of the balloon and pour poppy seeds in. (or rice or any grain - the smaller the better it feels on your fingers, but then larger grains sound a bit like you're breaking someone's neck, so I guess it all depends on what kind of stress you're looking to relieve.) You might have to push a bit, but they're discrete enough and heavy enough that this isn't a serious problem. When balloon is full enough for your taste, tie it off. Tada!

If you want a perfectly round one, you need three balloons, but it's even easier. Cut the ends off of the balloons. Fill one with poppy seeds or the grain of your choice. Pull one of the other balloons over the opening (try to keep air out), so that the bottom of the second balloon covers the opening of the first, filled balloon. Then pull the third balloon over the opening of the second, as a final seal and fail-safe. Tada!


Unsui fiddles around with the mouse making errant movements with the pointer, by all means accomplishing nothing but increasing his level of stress. His hands nudge against a pliant and interesting round form; whatever could it be? Its round shape is instantly appealing and he coddles it in his hand, tosses it around a bit, squeezes it to test its resistance. Perfect. It is the epitome of relief. Suddenly work isn't so bad. It's downright pleasant.

A stress ball is one of those office necessities that must adorn any complete desk. The flexing of muscles releases tension, and the Zen-tastic focus but not quite focus eases the flow of thought through the brain. I take a second as I write this to pick mine up. The sturdy gel construction

forms a calm in the palm
of my hand without demand
no restraint and no complaint
it allows my typing fingers to feint
at freeform thought and freeform flow
and now all I need is the ball to glow.

Stress Balls come in a variety of forms and colors
  • Chinese Stress Ball
  • Gel Stress Ball
  • Foam Stress Ball
  • Clay Stress Ball
  • Sand Stress Ball
  • The Caricature-of-your-Boss's-Head Stress Ball

Stress is a deadly killer. Be sure to get a hold of your very own stress ball today before you fall prey to its subtle danger!

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