Gifts for Someone With Social Anxiety Disorder

Ten Ideas for Gifts for Someone With Anxiety

When choosing gifts for someone with social anxiety disorder (SAD), your decision will likely be influenced by how well you know the person. What might be appropriate for a close friend or family member may not suit a coworker.

Below are some gift suggestions. In general, look for items that help to increase confidence, reduce stress and anxiety, or bring you and the other person closer.

1

Self-help books for anxiety can be good gifts.
Getty / Cultura RM Exclusive/Natalie Faye

Book ideas might include self-help, true stories about SAD, or fictional accounts. Whether or not a book is an appropriate gift will depend on how open the recipient is about having the disorder.

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2
Clothing

Help someone feel confident with a new outfit.
Getty / Mary Ellen McQuay

A new outfit can sometimes give confidence a boost. Choose something a little bolder than what the person might normally wear. If you aren't comfortable choosing a clothing item, instead give a gift certificate to a clothing store.

3
Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy is a gift that can be helpful for anxiety.
Getty / WLADIMIR BULGAR

Give the gift of scent: lavender is a popular essential oil used as part of aromatherapy. Lavender has been shown to help reduce anxiety and stress.

4
Exercise DVDs

Choose an exercise DVD for your friend with anxiety.
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Physical exercise in the form of yoga and tai chi can help to reduce stress and anxiety. Consider giving an exercise DVD that features one of these forms of exercise to a person with social anxiety disorder.

5

Journaling can help to release anxiety.
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An empty journal is a nice gift for a person whom you find hard to buy for. Journals can be used in many ways, and may encourage the person with social anxiety disorder to write down his or her feelings in a way that aids in processing them.

Someone going through cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) for social anxiety disorder might even use the journal to help record negative thoughts and how they were dealt with. This could also be done as part of a self-help program for anxiety.

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6
Tickets

Give the gift of an experience to someone with social anxiety disorder.
Tickets to an event can be a good gift for someone with social anxiety disorder. Getty / Science Photo Library / KTS Design

Buying for someone you know well? Consider giving tickets to the theater or a concert and then go with that person. Ticket gifts are an easy way to make plans with someone who might otherwise find an excuse not to go. Just be sure to check with someone who knows the person to make sure you are not double-booking their schedule.

7
Stress Ball

A stress ball can make a great gift.
A stress ball can help to relieve anxiety. Getty / WestEnd61

The stress ball is a potential gift idea for a coworker with social anxiety disorder. Squeezing a stress ball might help to alleviate anxiety that would otherwise build up throughout the work day.

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Chamomile Tea

Give chamomile tea as a gift for someone with social anxiety.
Chamomile tea can soothe social anxiety. Getty / Tetra Images

If the person on your list is a tea drinker, consider giving a gift basket with chamomile teas.

In general, there hasn't been enough research on how exactly chamomile works to help calm you down. However, a couple of initial studies in 2009 and 2012 showed that it may be helpful for depression and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). More research is needed to determine its effects for social anxiety disorder.

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Stress Relief Games

Crosswords and Sudoku books are stress relievers.
Getty / Alicia Llop

Games that require concentration and thought can help to take the mind off of anxiety. Crossword or Sudoku books are a great stocking stuffer or gift for a coworker. Point out how you've used similar books in the past or enjoyed playing these type of games; you might find a common ground to start a conversation.

10
Relaxation CDs

Listen to a relaxation CD to unwind.
Getty / Lawrence Manning

You have probably heard of general relaxation CDs that feature sounds of the rainforest or ocean. Relaxation CDs for social anxiety disorder might also include those promoting hypnotherapy, guided imagery, progressive muscle relaxation, or calming music. These methods are often incorporated along with therapy to help people with anxiety learn to slow down their breathing and heart rate.

 

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A Word From Verywell

Choose gifts that show thoughtfulness and respect for the person's anxiety. The best gift will show you care and understand what that person is experiencing—but that you also hope for a time when the anxiety the person feels is lessened (and perhaps hope to help him or her along that path). 

Sources:

Amsterdam JD, Li Y, Soeller I, Rockwell K, Mao JJ, Shults J. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of oral Matricaria recutita (chamomile) extract therapy for generalized anxiety disorderJ Clin Psychopharmacol. 2009;29(4):378-382. 

Amsterdam JD, Shults J, Soeller I, Mao JJ, Rockwell K, Newberg AB. Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) may provide antidepressant activity in anxious, depressed humans: an exploratory study. Altern Ther Health Med. 2012;18(5):44-49.

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