The purpose of your pet rock is to pull your mind out of its anxious ruminating, slow your breathing, and induce a sense of calm. The “pet rock” can actually be any object; it doesn’t have to have googly eyes or wild fur. It doesn’t even have to be a rock. You simply need something that is small enough to fit in a pocket, purse, or backpack; has a texture that is pleasing to you; and is interesting to look at.
When anxiety spikes at work or school, it might be impossible to leave the scene. Or if you do leave, there will quite likely be negative consequences. Yet staying in place can be extremely difficult. Anxiety at work or school can make it difficult to concentrate. Anxious thoughts begin to race through your mind, growing enormous as you pay attention to them. You end up trapped in anxiety and can’t pay attention or work properly. This is when your pet rock or other focus object will help stop anxiety so you can function well.
A focus object is a mindfulness tool. It encourages you to draw your thoughts out of your head and into the present moment. It’s something tangible that you can see and touch. The more interesting it is, the more you have available to examine. Even if it’s plain, though, you can note things like shape, size, weight, and color. You can also feel your object. Is it smooth? Rough? Irregular? Symmetrical? Does it have interesting texture?