7 Reasons Adults Should Have Stuffed Animals Too

We often think that stuffed animals are just for children, but if you can get them to admit it, many adults have stuffed animals too! A 2018 study shows that 43% of adults have a special stuffed friend, and 84% of men versus 77% of women admit to owning at least one. The most popular stuffed animal for adults is the time-honored teddy bear. But what benefits do these stuffie friends offer their adult owners?

1. Stuffed Animals Bring a Sense of Security

It’s probably not surprising that adults use stuffed animals and loveys in much the same way that children do; they offer a sense of security during times of change. These are referred to as “comfort objects,” or “transitional objects,” and they can help us feel a greater sense of security when moving from one life stage to another, or even from one job or one house to another. According to Margaret Van Ackeren, licensed therapist,  “In most instances, adults sleep with childhood stuffed animals because it brings them a sense of security and reduces negative feelings, such as loneliness and anxiety.” That sense of security is important when things are in flux, helping us navigate change more successfully.

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2. Stuffed Animals Help Ease Loneliness

The modern world can feel lonely and alienating for adults, even when we’re surrounded by people. In fact, there’s evidence that even as we become more and more linked together by the internet, we may be getting lonelier. Humans are social creatures, and we suffer without the company of others. While stuffed animals cannot completely replace the social role that other humans play in our lives, they can help ease feelings of loneliness and alienation, helping us cope with the interconnected and lonely modern world.


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3. Stuffed Animals Improve Mental Health

Live animals have been gaining visibility as a therapeutic tool, but did you know that stuffed animals can help in a lot of the same ways that live animals do? According to one study, stuffed animals helped patients with disorganized attachment styles form secure attachments and even rebuild impaired attachment bonds. Being able to build secure emotional attachments can help people live richer, happier lives. According to Dr. Aniko Dunn, stuffed animals are “... recommended in psychotherapy and for people suffering from PTSD, bipolar and other mental disorders.”  What an incredible gift!

4. Stuffed Animals Can Help Us Grieve

Stuffed animals can represent a connection to a loved one that has passed, giving us a path through the grieving process and easing the feeling of loss that accompanies the death of someone close to us. In fact, you can order Memory Bears, a stuffed teddy bear sewn with the clothing of your deceased friend or family member, in order to connect you more firmly to your memories of that person. You can grieve with a stuffed animal without worrying about judgement of censure, and they offer a constant source of comfort.


5. Stuffed Animals Help Us Heal From Trauma

Stuffed animals are used in some kinds of therapy! Stuffed animals can be useful in some kinds of “re-parenting,” in which a trauma survivor learns to care for and love the stuffed animal (and eventually themselves) to recover from traumatic experiences in childhood. This can increase happiness and self-esteem in the trauma sufferer, and decrease feelings of self-loathing. According to Rose M. Barlow, Professor of Psychology at Boise State University, “Animals, live or stuffed, can aid therapy for both children and adults by providing a way to experience and express emotions, a feeling of unconditional support, and grounding.” She extends this to those who are healing from trauma resulting from childhood neglect or abuse.

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6. Stuffed Animals Remind us of Childhood

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Nostalgia is a psychological state of “pleasant remembering.” While memories of the past can be troubling, those that feel nostalgic typically make us happier, and result in better self-esteem. Pleasant memories of the past can make us feel more connected to our families and friends, and can provide a sense of continuity to a life that may seem chaotic. Nostalgia can even ease existential fears, like the fear of death. According to Dr. Christine Batcho, Professor of Psychology at LeMoyne College, nostalgia can help us deal with times of change. She says, “... it's comforting to have a nostalgic feeling for the past that reminds us that although we don't know what the future is going to bring, what we do know is that we know who we have been and who we really are.” What better vessel for nostalgia than a childhood stuffed animal or lovey? These may bring memories of parents, of playtime with siblings, of snuggling and of safety. Stuffed animals give us a way to indulge in those feelings when we need them most.

7. Stuffed Animals Reduce Stress

We know from various studies that interacting with animals reduces stress. In fact, something as simple as petting a companion animal, like a dog or cat, causes measurable reduction in levels of cortisol, a stress hormone. Cortisol can cause a number of physiological problems, including weight gain and increasing the likelihood of coronary disease. But did you know that touching a soft stuffed animal can have similar cortisol reducing effects? Touching stuffed animals helps to relieve stress, keeping us happier and healthier. In fact, stuffed animals specifically for stress and anxiety exist! Weighted stuffed animals and aromatherapeutic stuffed animals are designed to help relieve stress, giving a double dose of comfort from your stuffed pals.

In order to make sure even adults can find the stuffed animal friend that's perfect for them, we've curated a group of stuffed animals that are perfect for grown-ups!


March 4

Hey all!
I am a volunteer knitter. So… I did a search 👀 about stuffed animals 🧸. Should I make them? And….What they mean to people. I’m afraid I never had one and needed to do some researching.

Thanks for sharing for now I know what to make kids for Christmas gifts. It will be knitted but I don’t think it will matter.

Much happiness and be safe

Brenda March 06, 2023

Thank you for this post. For someone who has extreme difficulty to be vulnerable/cry, it brings me comfort understanding it is okay to hold onto my teddy bear. Iceland, New Zealand, Singapore, UK, Belgium, Malaysia -my bear has been there everywhere I go. Transitioning through my 23-25 years of age has not been the easiest. I’m forever grateful to have my bear whom I feel safe crying to.

Afrina February 20, 2023
I am 18 years old and my fiancé has been living with me since I was 151/2 from problems in his home. He criticizes me a lot about my habit of sleeping with my bear that I’ve had since I was born. So I decided to look up if maybe there was a reason why I seem to need to still almost every night. I have anxiety and more than likely undiagnosed PTSD from a very bad relationship from when I was 13-14. It gave me a lot of comfort knowing there’s others like me and this is a reason for it.
Megan February 16, 2023

I am 57 and suffer from PTSD OCD Depression Anxiety Hyper Awareness low self esteem.

Teddy Sweet Bear was found in a Charity shop. She was forlorn and broken mentally.
When I picked her up she could not look me in the eye for the shame she carried.
I brought her home bathed her dressed her and gave her a name knowing it would define her character.
I feature her on Face Book and she is loved by others.
Recently I asked myself “could I love Teddy Sweet Bear and have her with me with out FaceBook?”
I answered “yes” but why was my next question to myself?”
BEARcause she’s a part of me!

Christine February 16, 2023

I’m a 40 year old female sleeping with “Spot…Spotr” a white beagle from Ikea for 15-20 years now. For some reason I can’t sleep without him, Even after being cuddly with my man I still prefer having Spot by my side to . It makes me lonely every time I feel him losing his loafness. I sooo love my Spotr🐶

Sumptuous January 09, 2023

I am glad to come to this site. I have a stuffed animal named Mr Bear for 21 years. He has been my good buddy as he follows me through different life stages and changes. I recently brought him to Penang Malaysia for my trip and realised he had accompanied me to Penang with my parents 20 years ago.

Karen Chng January 09, 2023

I love you all. Hugs, love and light ❤️🧸

Rogerio Casella January 09, 2023

I used to sleep with lots of stuffed horses growing up, but hadn’t in years. Recently I have suffered from an incredibly difficult and severe bout of OCD and anxiety, and bought a stuffed unicorn at Target just because I thought it was so cute. That stuffed unicorn has honestly brought me so much unexpected comfort in this tough time, and I definitely believe there is therapeutic power in having plush friends. 🥰

Annie January 09, 2023

I am 55 going on 56 and cuddle my Tiger every night ! I talk to “him” and kiss to feel I not alone
I went through a horrible menopause post surgery with so much anxiety and thinking I was dying in the night, I wanted something to cuddle
When I get anxiety (living alone) I like to know I have something to cuddle and then do breathing and know that all is well … keep it in the now 🙏🏼🥰

JaYne January 09, 2023

I’m 19 and I have PTSD (I survived three devastating earthquakes and also lived in a very unstable family). I suffer from anxiety as well – that began just as I started uni, I study Biotechnology and it’s been very stressful. My stuffed catfish Kimi helps a lot. I even carry her with me on uni as she is relatively small and I immediately feel better.

Dalia November 08, 2022

I’m 27 years old, and I’ve pretty much always had a stuffie. My favorite when I was younger was a dog named Wolfie and now the one I reach for at night is a manatee named Barbara (cheers to you if you caught that Veggie Tales reference). There were sometimes in my twenties I thought I would get judged when people saw them, but usually I would end up finding out they had stuffies of their own. Now, I just embrace it. I’m also thinking of starting to carry one in my bag with me when I go out. I noticed a huge difference in my social anxiety at a Halloween party when I needed up having one with me as a part of a costume.

Dani October 31, 2022

Hello! I’m Sierra. I’m a woman with Asperger’s Syndrome, anxiety and depressive disorders that will be turning 30 this November 2022. I’ve been sleeping with plushes since I was about twelve years old. I’ve had tons of plushes of my favorite characters from different things- Pokémon, InuYasha, Astro Boy, Death Note… currently, I sleep either with Walt Disney’s Goofy or Ralph from “Wreck-It Ralph” and I’m getting a custom plush made of Beetlejuice from “Beetlejuice: The Animated Series”. I grew up in the anime and gaming community, where it’s common for people to have plushes or body pillows but it’s still really nice to see some people who may not be from that background saying that they have stuffed plushes to hug as well. :)

Sierra October 31, 2022

Such a great article 😃.
I’m 45f, severe PTSD from real trauma (tortured and attempted murder at 21, not just a bad haircut)
My teddy is also 45, is shaggy as hell, but he’s been there for everything, including giving birth otherwise alone and spinal surgery.
My Bazzle Bear didn’t get too old to want to cuddle his Mum lol.

I just feel so much better about a habit, I considered to be at best a bit disturbing, when I read these stats and other stories.
Thank You everyone for sharing your teddy truth 🧸

Cat October 09, 2022

Thank you so much for this lovely and informative article! I am 28 and have a stuffed animal bunny named Buns (a jellycat baby) and she means the world to me. I went through something incredibly traumatic for around 1 and a half years and since then she’s been a constant source of comfort and happiness. I will always have her with me, I love her.

Anonymous September 26, 2022

I so appreciate this article. I moved 11 years ago from NYC to Italy. I brought my stuffed “Cat in the Hat” but he wasn’t cuddly and so worn that I’m afraid of wearing him out even more. I did have a Winnie the Pooh when young and I loved him but he was a bit too big to travel to Italy so he remained home and I assume, is gone. This past Spring, I asked my husband for a new Winnie and though not identical, is wonderful. I go to sleep with him in my arms and switch him for a Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer, small, that my husband gave me as a post Christmas gift. I go to sleep with I’ve or the other though find them elsewhere in the morning. I was wondering if I was repressed or seeking my childhood, at my age, clinging to a security blanket, or similar. Now I find I’m not. Granted, I’ve been through several traumas but nothing involving abuse or parental toxicity. To read, now, that there are benefits to having a Winnie, or other, is marvelous! To see I’m not alone! Marvelous! If 40% admit to it I must believe that the number is even higher and for more men then women? That surely says something about the expectations put on us all but men, I believe, more so. Doesn’t matter. I’m just glad I’m not alone out there and am tickled and not alone in my “100 acre wood”! I embrace you all!

Gary September 26, 2022

Hello my name is Kerry and I was born with ADHD and Autism and I’m 27 yrs old, I’ve always slept with a stuffed animal, I remember owning a Spyro the Dragon plush throughout my childhood and even to this day I still have a Spyro the Dragon plush… I also have character plushies of Sonic the Hedgehog, Pokémon, SpongeBob, the Smurfs and a Lincoln Loud plush from the Loud House… I actually won both my Sonic the Hedgehog and Lincoln Loud plushies from a claw machine in the same grocery store…

Kerry Daniel Vondra September 07, 2022

I’m so glad I found this article. I’m 40 yrs old and I thought I was weird or not normal for loving to snuggle with my black stuffed cat I named Midnight. ♥️🐱
As a little girl I’ve always loved my stuffed animals but as I grew into adulthood it was “ childish” and “immature” to try and keep holding on to such things. My whole life I’ve been attracted to stuffed animals, at a store if I see some on display I have to stop myself from running up to it and grabbing the one I would take home lol. I was constantly worried what other adults would think seeing a grown woman hug a stuffed animal in public. Especially since I don’t have kids, it’d probably UP the creep factor on me, lol! But recently after going through a lot of personal stress, anxiety, and trauma, I broke down and decided to buy a plushie of my very own and I’m SO HAPPY I did!! 🥰 I feel so comforted and stress-free when I cuddle with my Midnight. So to anyone who might be scared or unsure about using a stuffed animal as an adult…don’t be!! Life is too short to be worried about what others may or may not think of you. Enjoy your plushies and happy cuddling!

Tiffany September 07, 2022

After domestic abuse followed by a very toxic relationship, I finally fell in love with some one sweet and lovely, only for them to say they didn’t want a relationship after things progressed. My heart chakra blocked and felt dead and cold. My daughter gave me her gaint unicorn cuddly toy and I swear cuddling him has healed me! I love him always comforting, loving, listens to me never gives me any grief, he is perfect 😆 looking into training as a cuddle therapist now as I can see the healing power in it!

Natalie June 27, 2022

I think it’s completely normal, we are social animals. We are built to be in relationships and live in packs. And, when we are alone it’s totally normal to seek connection and self soothe through a teddy bear.

Lauren June 22, 2022

I’m 20 and I’ve been sleeping with the same Teddy I’ve had since I was a baby. I have many other plushies too. I have depression, BPD, and get scared of the dark at night. I love reading all of these sweet comments about stuffed animals!

Slyth June 22, 2022

I am 48 years old and I have migrated to U.S few years ago. I was feeling so depressed because of the struggled to adapt to new environment. My husband bought me a stuffed polar bear that really comfort me, feel sense of security and most importantly, feel happier again. 🙂

Vivian Loh June 22, 2022

Thank you for a lovely article which confirms everything I’ve intuitively known all my life. A combination of abusive family and SPD resulted in a lifelong battle with anxiety and depression, for the most part on my own. There simply were no people able to provide consistent emotional support. My mom did her best, but struggled with similar issues from abuse in her childhood and marriage. So my stuffed animals became friends, playmates, honorary family members. I still have them and, along with my dogs, they still help me feel more peaceful and secure.

puppies&sheepies&bearsohmy June 03, 2022

My two daughters 7 and 8 years, kept feeling sorry for me that I didn’t have my own teddy, that they would keep lending me theirs. I really enjoyed sleeping with them and bit the bullet and bought my own. It’s been two weeks now and I absolutely love him! I’m 42 yo, my husband initially gave me a strange look but accepted it. I snuggle my teddy every night and I know my teddy will always be there for me.

Christina June 03, 2022

I’m 21,a junior in college and I still have my plush doll named Grape. I don’t understand why I’m so attached to her. I would always take her everywhere I had to stay the night and even on long car rides when I was young. My mom tried to have me “retire” her and to just have her sit on my dresser while I had a new doll. I refused…
I never understood why Im so attached. At least now I know it has something to do with security.

Samantha May 12, 2022

I’ve always loved cuddly toys, but during 2020 when no one could have any human contact I spent much more of my time cuddling and talking to them. Even now we can have human contact I find more comfort in them then in most real people 😅

Kit April 27, 2022

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