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Get Unwrapped with 3 Perfect Gifts to Help Anxiety

By Natasha Tracy  •   January 9, 2023

Get Unwrapped with 3 Perfect Gifts to Help Anxiety

Anxiety is something we all can experience from time to time and perhaps, even more during the holidays. However, some people experience high anxiety very frequently and sometime those people are diagnosed with anxiety disorders. If you have a loved one with an anxiety disorder, or even just someone who tends to be anxious, consider one of the following gits. They’re specifically designed to calm anxiety in your loved one.

What Is Anxiety? What Is an Anxiety Disorder?

Anxiety is a very normal human emotion that everyone experiences. According to the American Psychological Association, anxiety is characterized by feelings of tension and worried thoughts, and it can even raise blood pressure. And while everyone feels this way from time to time, people with anxiety disorders take these feelings to a new level.

People with anxiety disorders experience excessive worry and fear to the point where it affects everyday activities like work and socializing. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), anxiety disorders include, but are not limited to:

• Separation anxiety disorder

• Selective mutism

• Specific phobia

• Social anxiety disorder (social phobia)

• Panic disorder

Agoraphobia (fear and avoidance of places or situations that might cause you to panic and make you feel trapped, helpless or embarrassed)

• Generalized anxiety disorder

Help for Anxiety

While the gifts on this list are great for people with high anxiety, certainly none of them is a substitute for professional help. Anxiety, up to an including anxiety disorders, should be assessed by a professional like a psychologist or psychiatrist. Anxiety is often treated with behavioral therapy or cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) which can be offered by a therapist. Medications are also an option in the case of anxiety disorders. Selective-serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants are commonly used to treat anxiety disorders. Medications used to treat anxiety include:

Paroxetine (Paxil)

Escitalopram (Lexapro)

Sertraline (Zoloft)

Fluoxetine (Prozac)

Fluvoxamine (Luvox)

Medications should always be used under the guidance of a mental health professional.

1. An indulgent gift for a person with anxiety – a weighted blanket

Weighted blankets have become all the rage over the last few years so you can find them from all manner of retailers small and large. The reason they are so popular is because they do, indeed, calm anxiety in the user. These blankets are weighted with some kind of bead or sand or sometimes the material itself is particularly heavy and this can provide the user with a full-body hug. And not only can a weighted blanket relieve anxiety, but it can also even help some people sleep better.

How to Buy a Weighted Blanket for an Anxiety Loved One

When selecting a weighted blanket to buy as a gift, consider whether your loved one sleeps with a partner. You may wish to buy a weighted blanket that covers the whole bed, or you may wish to get a weighted blanket that is more of a throw blanket designed for one. Also, you’ll need to consider just how heavy your weighted blanket is. A weighted blanket should be about 10 percent of the user’s body weight – much more than that and it can be more uncomfortable than restful.

Additionally, consider the material of the weighted blanket. A cotton or polyester blanket will trap more heat (maybe a good choice for a person that runs cold) whereas Tencel (a type of rayon made from wood) or bamboo may be more lightweight and cooling (something to seriously consider under a heavy blanket, where it can often feel very warm).

Finally, think about what kind of material makes the blanket heavy. You might find plastic, glass, steel beads, grains, beans, or even sand. Some blankets use the material of the blanket itself for weight. For those concerned about heat retention, glass may be best as it tends to stay a bit cooler; it does tend to be more expensive, however. Whatever the internal material is, even distribution is critical as heavy blankets don’t work if all the filling falls onto one side or end.

Heavy blankets range in price from around $50 for a small, lighter blanket to $500 or even more for a king-size, extra heavy blanket.

According to the Sleep Foundation, a great overall heavy blanket is the Cotton Napper by Bearaby. It is a knitted weighted blanket available in 10 (not currently available), 15, 20, and 25 lbs versions priced between $249-279.

For all of the Sleep Foundation’s recommendations for heavy blankets, see here.

2. An everyday use gift for the person with anxiety – Calm Strips

You might not have heard of Calm Strips, but they have been featured on ABC’s Shark Tank, NBC, and CBS for a reason – they’re weird, but they work. They are small stickers with special textures designed to increase calm during the day for anyone, simply by rubbing the sticker. They make a great gift for those with high anxiety. It’s basically an everyday tool that fights anxiety at-will.

Calm Strips were invented by Michael Malkin, someone who has dealt with social anxiety and situational anxiety all his life. He found what grounded him was touch. And while things like fidget spinners might work for some, he found them clunky and cumbersome, not to mention, not a great look in the office. Calm strips were designed to offer the right tactile sensation to reduce anxiety while still being discreet.

According to the folks at Calm Strips:

“Calm Strips are similar to stickers, but have a special reusable adhesive and two unique surface textures to choose from. Rubbing, scratching, or picking at your Calm Strips are great ways to help reduce fidgeting, increase focus, and regulate restless energy.”

Not only do calm strips work for those many with anxiety, but they’re also said to work for fidgeters and members of the body-focused repetitive behaviors, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and Autistic communities.

Calm Strips have a special, reusable adhesive that sticks to smooth, flat surfaces like a cell phone case, desk, or bedframe. They’re even perfect for kids because they don’t stick to skin or paper.

To get this perfect gift for a person with anxiety, see here for all the available colors, shapes, and sizes.

3. A gratitude journal is a great gift for someone with anxiety

Some people think that you have to be a writer to journal, but nothing could be farther from the truth. Journalling is about writing whatever comes into your head – not proving how “good” you are as a writer. And what’s more, journaling that focuses on gratitude has been shown to help ease those anxious thoughts. Multiple studies have shown that focusing on gratitude (a feeling of thanks or appreciation) is a free, simple, and effective way to protect against anxiety.

According to Najma Khorrami M.P.H. of Psychology Today, focusing on gratitude can help in the following ways:

1. Gratitude lets you better understand yourself so you can take it easy.

2. Gratitude helps reduce unbeneficial self-talk.

3. Gratitude helps reduce anxiety in youth.

Studies also show that journalling itself is good for you. It makes sense, then that a gratitude journal is a perfect gift for a person with high anxiety.

Choosing a Gratitude Journal for a Person with Anxiety

There are many types of gratitude journals out there, so it can seem overwhelming when it comes time to picking one. Consider these things when picking a gratitude journal:

• Should the journal focus on gratitude specifically and walk someone through the process of focussing on gratitude or is a more general journal with greater flexibility desired?

• What kind of journal would match the personality of the giftee? Would they like flowers and kittens or are straight lines and bold colors more their thing?

• Who authored the journal? If the gratitude journal walks you through a process of journalling, does the author have credentials? Is the author an expert?

Mary K. Tatum, MS, LMHC of Verywell Mind offers a list of recommended gratitude journals here.

When Giving a Gift to a Person with High Anxiety

Perhaps the most important gift you can give to a person with high anxiety is the reassurance of your friendship. Those with anxiety may sometime doubt how much you care because of their anxiety but you being there for them and reaffirming how much you care is a gift beyond measure.

Sources

• Agoraphobia - Symptoms and causes. (2017, November 18). Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/agoraphobia/symptoms-causes/syc-20355987

• Anxiety. (n.d.). American Psychological Association. https://www.apa.org/topics/anxiety

• Bailey, E. (2013, November 18). Relieving Anxiety Through Gratitude Journaling. HealthCentral. Retrieved December 12, 2022, from https://www.healthcentral.com/article/relieving-anxiety-through-gratitude-journaling

• Bhatt, N. V., MD. (2022a, February 1). Anxiety Disorders Medication: Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors, Serotonin And Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors, Atypical Antidepressants, Tricyclic Antidepressants, Benzodiazepines, Antianxiety Agents, Anticonvulsant, Antihypertensive Agent, Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitor (MAOI), Antipsychotic Agent. https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/286227-medication

• Bhatt, N. V., MD. (2022, February 1). Anxiety Disorders Treatment & Management: Approach Considerations, Pharmacotherapy for Anxiety and Panic Disorders, Psychotherapy for Anxiety and Panic Disorders. https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/286227-treatment

• Khorrami, N. (2020, July 20). Gratitude Helps Curb Anxiety. Psychology Today. Retrieved December 12, 2022, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/comfort-gratitude/202007/gratitude-helps-curb-anxiety

• The 9 Best Anxiety Journals of 2022, According to an Expert. (2022, February 26). Verywell Mind. https://www.verywellmind.com/best-journals-for-anxiety-5114382

• Zahid, M. (2022, December 8). Best Weighted Blankets of 2022. Sleep Foundation. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/best-weighted-blankets

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Disclaimer:

The purpose of the above content is to raise awareness only and does not advocate treatment or diagnosis. This information should not be substituted for your physician's consultation and it should not indicate that use of the drug is safe and suitable for you or your (pet). Seek professional medical advice and treatment if you have any questions or concerns.
 
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