Masterchef Judge Jock Zonfrillo Explains Why He Carries “Worry Beads” During the Show
If there’s one thing to know about Masterchef fans, it’s that they are passionate viewers with an intense eye for detail, and this season is no exception.
A few weeks ago, viewers honed in on judge Jock Zonfrillo, specifically, on the beads he was holding, and took it to the Facebook fan groups for discussion. Everyone wanted to know: what was he holding, and why?! Lucky for us, Zonfrillo posted an Instagram video explaining what worry beads are, and how they help him.
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“I got a BILLION messages last night asking ‘what are those beads that you’re carrying?’” Zonfrillo began, holding them up. “Here they are, they’re worry beads.”
“When I’m feeling anxious or a little bit stressed… I flick through them… and the more anxious and worried I get, the faster I do it,” he explained.
The Masterchef judge went on to say that while he has “lots of different types of worry beads”, the ones that viewers spotted on the show are extra special. Gifted to him by Nicola Formby, the widow of the late Adrian Gill, who was a famous restaurant critic.
“They were Adrian’s worry beads, so they’re very special to me,” he shared. “I love them. These are always in my pocket.”
Worry beads–or “komboloi”–originated in Greece and date back thousands of years. Unlike a rosary, they have no religious or ceremonial ties, but they have plenty of uses. Like Zonfrillo, many people use them to relax during times of stress, but they’re also believed to guard against bad luck, and, depending on the materials used, as a symbol of power and social prestige. Or, if you’re in Greece on holiday, they also make a great tourist trinket.
As for how they help with stress, having something physical to hold and fidget with can help ground you in moments of anxiety and overwhelm.
Melbourne-based psychologist Briony Leo told Body + Soul that “having something tactile or sensory to do helps to ground and focus them. They give us something else to focus on and are a systematic, calming, soothing activity,” she explained.
“Often these activities shift our attention away from our thoughts and feelings, and direct our awareness to something else. It doesn’t necessarily solve the source of the stress or anxiety, but it helps us to cope with it in a better way.”