In moments of discomfort, is there an item you reach for that puts you at ease? A recent trend on TikTok is showcasing how several Gen Z creators rely on a “comfort” necklace for this exact reason.
Rocking a simple chain with a pendant or two isn’t anything new, but more Gen Z TikTok users are taking to the platform to bring attention to theirs. In each video, a young creator touches their necklace for comfort anytime they feel “nervous or scared.”
As of reporting, #comfortnecklace has more than 4.9 million views on TikTok.
What is a comfort necklace?
Psychologist Amelia Thompson recently told In The Know by Yahoo that necklaces hold a substantial combination of sensory and sentimental aspects that can provide reassurance and familiarity. The trend, Thompson explained, utilizes core principles of cognitive behavioral therapy.
“The ‘comfort necklace’ trend among Gen Zers aligns with the key pillars of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) which focuses on how our thoughts (cognition), feelings, and behaviors interact,” she writes via email. “Often, people are advised to use grounding objects as a form of ‘self-soothing’. Grounding objects are those that help someone to stay connected to the present moment.”
The sensory stimulation of a comfort necklace, for instance, can help relieve symptoms of anxiety, according to Thompson.
“On one hand, sensory stimulation, like playing with a necklace, can help divert the brain’s attention from an anxious state,” Thompson adds. “On the other hand, an item of sentimental value can evoke positive memories or feelings, furthering this effect.”
Thompson also suggested that the act of playing with comfort necklaces could also be a coping mechanism that was developed in response to the uncertainty during the coronavirus pandemic.
A survey conducted by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that Gen Z-ers were the most likely to say that the pandemic negatively affected their mental health, per the Washington Post.
“This trend can be a form of self-regulation, especially during a time of increased isolation and uncertainty due to the ongoing pandemic. The chosen necklaces serve as tokens of comfort, providing a sense of security and helping them manage their anxiety and enhance their mood,” she explains.
Because of its self-soothing properties, Thompson also posits that comfort necklaces present Gen Z-ers with their own way of dealing with stress and anxiety “without any taboo or stigma attached.”
“It’s worth noticing that this trend might also be Gen Z’s active attempt to cope with anxiety without being pathologized,” she adds. “While professional services and medication are sometimes necessary, having these kinds of self-organized methods are also important. They are paving a way for coping and promoting mental health in ways that feel authentic to them.”
Still, seeking professional help should be prioritized to further develop a support system, adds Raul Haro, a marriage and family therapist.
“It is important to note that these necklaces should not be used solely as a coping mechanism or to replace professional mental health treatment because each person’s needs are unique and require personalized support,” he tells In The Know by Yahoo in an email. “Seeking professional help and developing a strong support network can help people manage their emotions and improve their overall well-being.”
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