10 Holiday Gift Ideas for Merrier Mental Health
If you have a friend or loved one who needs a little extra mental health boost this holiday season, we have the perfect gift ideas for you. Whether they live with depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or just the regular holiday blues, we’ve carefully selected a list of gifts that won’t just be something new to wear, a household appliance or tool, but a gift that can truly change their life.
Here are our top 10 picks for gifts that make for merrier mental health.
● Shiatsu Pillow Massager with Heat for Back, Neck, Shoulders Muscle tension is an ugly side effect of many anxiety disorders, and can lead to agonizing muscle pains in the neck and shoulder area. This powerful deep-kneading massager works to relax tight muscles similar to a visit to a local masseur. Programmed with a 20-minute auto shut-off, this heated massager costs $39.95, and is designed to fit perfectly behind the neck or in other body contours of the lower back, calf and thigh areas.
● A Massage Gift Certificate Who doesn’t like a trip to the masseur for a luxurious hour of pampering? A new study shows that beyond the pleasure, massage actually helps to treat anxiety and other mental health disorders like depression by reducing cortisol levels, which decreases anxiety symptoms.
● Relaxation CD In just about any store that sells CDs, you can pick up a relaxation playlist. These CDs can be used in the car during rush hour or at home before bedtime to lower the heart rate and reduce stress.
● Online Guitar Lessons According to Neuropsychologist Daniel Levitin, PhD, there’s “strong evidence” that music can affect our heart rate and our mood, and even improve our immune systems. The gift of music provides a healthy outlet and the opportunity for positive changes for your special someone. Online guitar lessons provide a more cost-effective way to take private lessons, and you get to do it from the comfort of your own home for around $20/month.
● 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do: Take Back Your Power, Embrace Change, Face Your Fears, and Train Your Brain for Happiness and Success Psychotherapist Amy Morin shares her poignant story of becoming a widow at age 26, and how she developed the mental strength to move on. Through “powerful lessons,” Morin encourages readers to overcome life’s challenges by developing healthy habits, exercise and hard work.
● BioSense Pillow from Brookstone Some mental health disorders, like anxiety and depression, can be caused by sleep deprivation, so a good night’s sleep is important. The BioSense Pillow uses memory foam that helps relieve pressure, and includes three natural ingredients to help soothe and neutralize odors: green tea, seed oil, and charcoal.
● Soundspa Machines These sound-making devices, often kept bedside, provide a variety of natural sounds, such as rain, thunder, ocean, babbling brook and white noise, to soothe.
● Heartmath Biofeedback Devices Biofeedback is a mind-body technique that works to help patients influence their autonomic nervous systems. More than 11,000 Heartmath users reported the following mental health benefits: a 50% drop in fatigue, a 46% drop in anxiety, a 60% drop in depression, a 24% improvement in ability to focus, and a 30% improvement in sleep. Heartmath comes in three models, ranging from $129 for the iPad and iPhone app to $299 for a computer-based, multi-user system.
● Yoga DVD Yoga has many mental health benefits, but most notably, it changes your body’s nervous system from a fight-or-flight anxiety response to a rest-and-digest calm response. Yoga’s deep breathing, combined with its stretching movements, takes your body into a more relaxed state. Yoga DVDs cost around $15.
● Weighted Blanket These provide comfort and security for people with PTSD, depression, anxiety and related disorders.
A gift that benefits one’s mental health can have a lasting impact. So as you prepare to share the holiday with your loved ones, show them how much you support their mental health condition with a gift that improves their quality of life. Share it with the gift of your time, and it will be extra special.