Last updated on 8 October 2017

Fidgeting is the act of moving about restlessly.[1] Fidgeting may be a result of nervousness, agitation, boredom or a combination of these. It may be a result of genes and is often an unconscious act. Fidgeting may involve playing with one's fingers, hair, or items of clothing. A common act of fidgeting is to bounce one's leg repeatedly. Rings are another common focus of fidgeting; variations include ring spinning, twirling or rolling along a table. Parents often consider fidgeting to be a bad habit, especially in schoolchildren.

Research by Dr. Karen Pine and colleagues at the University of Hertfordshire funded by the Economic and Social Research Council found that children that were allowed to fidget with their hands performed better in memory and learning tests.[2]

Fidgeting is considered a nervous habit, though it does have some underlying benefits. People who fidget regularly tend to weigh less than people who do not fidget because they burn more calories than those who remain still. It has been reported that fidgeting burns around an extra 350 calories a day. [3]

Fidgeting can also be a medical sign, as seen in hyperthyroidism.[4] Hyperthyroid patients may be restless, become agitated easily, display fine tremors, and have trouble concentrating.[4]

There are several devices that aim to aid fidgeting, including fidget cubes, fidget spinners, and fidget pens. These "fidget toys" are typically intended to help students with autism or ADHD focus better,[5][6] and come with a variety of buttons and switches that the user can play with.[7]

Diamond engagement ring on woman hand 6313.jpg
A ring such as a wedding or engagement ring is a common focus of fidgeting.
Working out the financial skills 150723-M-TH981-008.jpg
Shaking a pen while thinking is a common way of fidgeting.

See also


  1. ^ "Bad Habits and Fidgeting At School". Retrieved 2009-10-02.
  2. ^ "UK | Education | Fidgeting children 'learn more'". BBC News. 2005-04-12. Retrieved 2009-10-02.
  3. ^ Stein, Rob (2005-01-28). "Fidgeting Helps Separate the Lean From the Obese, Study Finds". Retrieved 2009-10-02.
  4. ^ a b Harris, Philip E.; Bouloux, Pierre-Marc G. (2014). Endocrinology in Clinical Practice (2nd ed.). CRC Press. p. 259. ISBN 9781841849522.
  5. ^ Hallowell, Edward (2016). "Fidgeting — It’s Not Just for Kids". ADDitude Magazine.
  6. ^ Marner, Kay (2011). "What Makes a Good Fidget?". ADDitude Magazine.
  7. ^ Dormehl, Luke (8 March 2017). "Are fidget toys legitimately good for your brain, or pseudoscientific snake oil?". Digital Trends.

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