If you've been spinning or clicking small pieces of plastic a lot lately, you're not alone. Fidget spinners and other fidget toys are incredibly popular, and are often sold with claims that they "reduce anxiety" or are "perfect for ADHD." Is there any truth to that?
This article in Scientific American goes into some of the research on the topic. There are promising results showing that fidgeting helps some people reach their optimal level of arousal, which can facilitate performance on cognitive demanding tasks.
We naturally regulate our arousal with other habits, like putting on headphones to block out noise, bouncing our feet, or Googling pictures of cats, so it's not like these toys are new miracle cures for serious anxiety. Still, they can provide some low-cost fun, and may be another tool to help some people focus and better use their brains.