When you were younger, did you ever find yourself unconsciously rubbing the corners and tips of your pillows? Especially if it was your ‘bantal busuk’! Don’t deny, all of us
have had a bantal busuk okay?! If you say yes to all of the above, then you’re not alone in this.
In general, playing, moving, or fiddling with something – especially when it’s purposeless or out of nervousness – is a behaviour known as ‘twiddling’. It can include anything from playing with our fingers and toes, to fiddling with objects and playing with fabrics, tags and corners of pillows. That’s how the term ‘twiddle your thumbs’ came to be!
So why do we do this?
There are many theories as to why people like to twiddle the corners of their pillow. The most common explanation is that it’s a comforting habit that started in our childhood that we’ve carried into adulthood. Toddlers tend to explore through sensory play (it’s a certified technique of learning in the Montessori curriculum!) that helps with their development. This means engaging in activities that involve all five senses – touch, sight, smell, taste and sound. This is where the habit of twiddling stems from. For most toddlers, touch is one of the most sensitive of the five sense that is also used as a physical form of comfort for them to self-soothe. Hence the
need use of bantal busuks. Think of it more along the lines of a ‘safety blanket’ thing, except with a pillow or other things like fabrics, tags or even soft toys.
It’s a form of ‘stimming’ aka to sooth yourself
Another theory is that twiddling is a form of ‘stimming’, or self-stimulation behaviour. Stimming occurs when an individual is in a situation or environment that is over-stimulating and is used as a way to calm down. It’s basically a coping mechanism that everyone has.
Could be a symptom of OCD behaviour
No, it’s not just cleanliness that they obsess about. OCD refers to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder which is when a person has uncontrollable, recurring thoughts (obsessive) and behaviours (compulsive) that they feel an urge to repeat over and over again. We’re not referring to how obsessed you are to that latest Coldplay song that you can’t get out of your head. This obsession and compulsion more often than not leads to a disruption in your daily routine and can cause a person extreme anxiety if not carried out ‘the right way’. That being said, OCD is a legit mental disorder kay? So don’t la simply say you got OCD all.
Is it something to be worried about?
Most likely, no. More often than not, it’s probably just a ‘bad’ childhood habit that we’ve grown too old to curb. Old habits die hard right?
Can I stop the habit?
Of course you can! You just have to make a conscious effort to realise that you’re doing it in the first place. When you catch yourself doing it, just stop. *cue MC Hammer’s Can’t Touch This*
But all jokes aside, here are some ways you can remedy your bad habits:
- Fine yourself every time you do it
- Understand what triggers you to start doing it
- Give your future self reminders to stop your bad habit
- Give yourself a motivation talk and coach yourself out of it (it may sound funny but it works okay?)
- Change the way you think and feel about your bad habit
These ways might not work for everyone so find what’s best for you and stick to that. Before you know it, you’ll stop rubbing those pillow tips in no time (only if you want lah)! Of course, we also don’t advise throwing all your pillows away in order for you to stop.
In short, there may be several theories as to why some of us rub pillow tips as well as fidget and twiddle with other things but we really just do it because it makes us feel good. As long as you’re not hurting anyone or yourself, then why not right?
And for those of you who have read this article and are thinking ‘eyer, why would you ever rub the tips of your pillows?’, let’s just say you’re really the weird one in this situation. Because really, why would you not?! *rubs pillow tips*