We wrap up the last Monday in January with Bubble Wrap Day, a day to pop to your heart’s content. Why do we get such satisfaction from popping bubble wrap? The answer may lie in the healing power of touch. Psychology professor Kathleen Dillon turned to the ancient Greeks for an answer, and she came up with a “fingering piece” or “worry stone,” often a smooth stone carried in
a pocket. Rubbing the stone with one’s fingers
brought about a soothing sense of calm. The same sense of relaxation has been attributed
to Catholic rosary beads and the practice of doing needlework. Keeping our fingers busy,
it seems, has an intensely calming effect. So, too, does popping bubble wrap. When we are stressed, our muscles tense. Tiny actions such as rubbing stones, tapping fingers, wiggling feet, or popping bubble wrap release nervous energy, and with each burst bubble, more tension is released and the happier we get.