The goal of a stress-relief gift is not to help someone avoid stress altogether but to keep stressors from spiraling out of control and affecting overall health.
Caroline Leaf, Ph.D., a neuroscientist, mental health expert, and author of Cleaning Up Your Mental Mess, explains that during times of stress, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by emotions. “Sometimes, in these moments, it can be almost impossible to think clearly or do the emotional work needed to get out of the toxic stress spiral, which is why decompression activities can be so helpful.”
Decompressing, Leaf explains, involves giving ourselves permission to step back and take a breather. In doing so, we build space between our triggers and our reactions, which we can use to analyze what it is we’re really feeling. “Once we acknowledge these feelings, we can validate them and give them a space rather than try to suppress or ignore them,” she continues.
You don’t need any fancy gadgets to start to decompress: Simply slowing down your breath or moving your body can help get you into a more relaxed state. However, Leaf notes that a number of products can help expedite the process for the loved ones in your life.
The key, she says, is looking for a stress-relief tool that allows your giftee to get back in touch with their mind and body. Think a creative outlet like drawing that directs their attention away from stress, or a tactile product that feels great on their skin and helps bring their body back to baseline.