I Tried A Weighted Stress Pillow To Help Me Focus & Relax

It's small but weirdly comforting.

A review of the Quiet Mind Mini Squeeze weighted stress ball.
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Typically, when I think of a stress ball I imagine the yellow smiley-face ones from the ‘90s — you know, the kitschy kind you’d get in a goodie bag or find on your parent’s desk. What I don’t imagine is a plush square pillow in a chic earth tone shade, like the kind from Quiet Mind — but I’m 100% here for this upgrade.

The brand’s Mini Squeeze is part weighted pillow and part stress ball, and it’s said to help with lack of focus, restlessness, bad sleep, and even anxiety. All you have to do is squeeze it and just like that you’ll release pent-up tension. You can also rest it on yourself, like on your chest or your lap, whenever you need to relax. Similar to a weighted blanket, the added pressure will help you feel comforted and grounded.

These days, there are so many apps and gadgets that measure your stress levels and tools to help you relax, but there’s something so nice about going back to basics. A stress ball may be simple, but it might be just what you need to de-stress — no USB required.

Here’s my honest review of what it was like to try the Mini Squeeze from Quiet Mind.

Fast Facts

  • Price: $64.00
  • Best for: Stress relief, a moment of Zen
  • My rating: 4/5
  • What I like: Comforting, portable
  • What I don't like: Expensive, slightly too big

What To Know About The Mini Squeeze

Just like a weighted blanket, a weighted pillow is meant to apply pressure and comfort your body. Instead of lying under a blanket, however, you can rest a pillow on your lap, hug it while you nap, or squeeze it while you watch TV.

Quiet Mind has various sizes of weighted pillows, including the smallest one called the Mini Squeeze which works more like a stress ball. Coming in at 1.5 pounds, it’s heavy enough to provide the benefits of a bigger weighted pillow, but still light enough to tote throughout the day.

The pillows from Quiet Mind are backed by science. According to the brand, they work by kickstarting a process called “deep pressure stimulation,” or DPS, which boosts your mood, reduces feelings of stress and anxiety, and helps you fall asleep faster.

When you hold a weighted pillow or rest it on your chest, the pressure helps your body release mood-boosting serotonin, calming dopamine, and sleep-inducing melatonin by reducing cortisol, the stress hormone. Hugging a pillow can also stimulate oxytocin, often called the “cuddle hormone.” Combined, these benefits can help you chill and get out of fight-or-flight.

The brand recommends squeezing the pillow between your hands to release stress, focus at work, or stay present. Squeezing the pillow helps release muscle tension, and it’s also a nice tactile experience to help you cope with anxiety or restlessness.

It comes in an array of cute colors, too: blueberry, agave green, cashew (tan), and chili oil (red).

How To Use The Mini Squeeze

While some of the pillows from Quiet Mind are big enough for a full-body cuddle, the Mini Squeeze is only six inches by six inches and thus a little closer to a good, old-fashioned stress ball in size. For me, it’s the perfect size to grab with both hands.

The pillow is filled with eco-friendly recycled glass beads for weight and polyurethane foam for cushioning. When you squeeze it, you can feel the beads compress. According to the brand, the beads absorb your restless energy so you can fidget less and focus more.

You can let the pillow hang out on your lap for some DPS, leave it on your desk for a mid-day squeeze, or bring it with you on a train or a plane for a dose of comfort. Hold it, squeeze it, knead it, press it, or lie back with it on your chest.

My Experience

It doesn’t seem like a weighted pillow that weighs less than two pounds would do much for your well-being, and yet here I am with the Mini Squeeze resting on my thighs as I write this, and I have to say it is oddly comforting.

I’ve been keeping it on my desk during the day to squeeze or plop on my lap for some of that aforementioned pressure therapy. I’m a big fan of weighted blankets — I’d live under one if I could — but this pillow is an excellent secondary option when I need to be upright and active.

Whenever I’m feeling strained, I’ll squeeze it and it really does channel that stressed energy out of my body. And when my hands are busy typing, that’s when I’ll leave it on my legs, so its weight can do the work for me.

I’ve also been keeping the Mini Squeeze by my bed at night. It’s so comfy to pop it on my chest while I’m reading or scrolling TikTok before falling asleep. It’s the tiniest bit of pressure, but it does seem grounding.

The Takeaway

As someone who could always use a little more stress relief, I’m happy to keep the Mini Squeeze on my desk for moments of mid-day stress. I think it’s just a little bit too big to be a true stress ball — part of me really wants to squish it in my palms — but it works as a sort of pillow/stress ball hybrid.

The design is also really nice. I got mine in chili oil red, and it looks so cute amongst my other earth-tone blankets and pillows. If you’re looking for something to truly cuddle, I’d recommend going up a size or two and treating yourself to a bigger weighted pillow.

Studies referenced:

Eron, K. (2020). Weighted Blanket Use: A Systematic Review. Am J Occup Ther. doi: 10.5014/ajot.2020.037358.

Haynes, AC. (2022). A calming hug: Design and validation of a tactile aid to ease anxiety. PLoS One. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0259838.