10 Awesome Gifts for Improving Mental Health and Happiness

written by Natasha Tracy B.Sc - Dec 17, 2018

Photo Credit: Children
Photo Credit: Children's Choir Makes A Great Gift at Seniors Residence, by @CPOHealth

Knowing what to gift during the holiday season can be a challenge. Do you get something fun and fanciful? Do you get something practical for around-the-house? What kind of sweater does your aunt like anyway? And no matter how hard we try, sometimes we get it wrong. Sometimes the fun gift is just clutter. Sometimes the practical gift just gathers dust. Sometimes the sweater is out-of-fashion.

Gifts for a Person’s Mental Health

But there is one thing that everyone wants no matter who they are, and that’s better mental health. Or, to put it another way, everyone wants to feel better and happier in their day-to-day lives – and that’s what good mental health is all about.

Top 10 Mental Health-Related Gifts

Below are 10 suggestions to give to others to improve their mental health and happiness.

1. Books

– Learning about mental health is critical in succeeding in improving mental health. Look for books by those who are experienced in the field of mental health or who have academic qualifications. Read the reviews on a site like Amazon to find out the impact a book can have on the lives of others. Books on mindfulness and mindfulness meditation are popular right now and can help those who experience excess stress and anxiety. Many people also find books with quotes inspirational.

2. Subscriptions

– If you know a person in your life is interested in an aspect of mental health, you could get them a subscription to a magazine or website on that topic. You could also offer to pay the subscription fee for an app for the year. For example, yoga can improve a person’s sense of calm and wellbeing so offer your loved one a subscription to an app that guides a yoga practice.

3. Exercise accessories

– Mental health isn’t just in your head, in order to feel mentally healthy you need to feel physically healthy too and exercise helps improve mental health. Give your loved one simple exercise gear that won’t be intimidating for them to use. A fitness tracker, a gift certificate to an athletics store or a Pilates mat might be good choices.

4. A water bottle

– People often don’t consider hydration when they think mental health but they should. Hydration greatly affects our physical health but it affects our mental health too. Dehydration can negatively impact cognitive abilities and memory. Many of us are chronically dehydrated and don’t even know it. So, get your loved one a beautiful water bottle to encourage water drinking throughout the day. Choose glass or another non-porous material that won’t collect bacteria and make sure you it can be put in the dishwasher for proper cleaning.

5. De-stressing tools

– Some things just naturally calm the nervous system and bring about a sense of peace so make someone you care about a de-stressing toolbox. Include things like camomile tea, lavender and eucalyptus essential oils, ginger ale (to calm an anxious stomach), a talisman, a dreamcatcher, soothing music, a massage wand or a cooling eye mask.

6. A self-care package

– We hear about “self-care” (a healthy relationship with the self) for mental health all the time but how do we encourage people to actually do it? Try putting together a package for your loved one that will encourage positive activities with the self. This package could include things like bath bombs, slippers, cozy pjs, a scented candle, some fancy chocolate, a magazine subscription, an easy-reading book, hand cream, or a Netflix subscription. Put it all in a basket with a bow and you have the perfect way of helping someone else’s mental health.

7. Laughter

Laughter can be a great medicine for a person’s mental health3 so why not give tickets to a comedy show or suggest watching the latest streaming comedy special together?

8. Personal coupons

– If you can’t give something that costs money, that’s okay, you can still help someone’s mental health by giving the gift of your time. For example, if your loved one has kids, give them two-hour babysitting coupons. If your loved one is having a hard time keep up with the housework, give them a coupon for vacuuming, dusting, etc. Give coupons for rides and doing personal errands for your loved ones. Anything you do to take the load off another person can increase mental health. Coupons for things like “an unlimited vent session” or “a girls night out” are great too.

9. An offer to paying for therapy

– Obviously this is a big-ticket item, but if you can afford to pay for someone to see a therapist and that’s what the person wants, then why not do it? Therapy can be the best thing for a person’s mental health and quality of life but is out of reach for so many. If you can help here, do it.

10. A gift to charity

– If you’re completely stymied, sometimes the best gift you can give someone is the gift to a charity in their name. Many mental health charities have programs, especially around the holidays, where you can make a donation for a specific aspect of mental health treatment in someone else’s name. Consider something like contributing to the sponsoring of an inpatient pet therapy program. This is a great way of spreading positive mental health and happiness both to the person who receives help from the charity and your loved one.

If the Person on Your List Has a Mental Illness

A quick note here: If the person on your list has a mental health concern that you’re aware of, you can tailor the gift to that illness. For example, if the person has a mental illness, a memoir about a person with that illness can be extremely inspirational. A subscription to a magazine devoted to that illness is a thoughtful gift too as it can bring them hope all year long. Also, check out creative offerings (like art) from mental illness charities or people living with that mental illness.

The Best Gift for Mental Health

And while any of the above gifts can help encourage good mental health, the most important thing you can give another person is you: your time, your thoughts and your words. Saying, “I love you and I care about you unconditionally,” will improve the mental health of you both.



1. Rosenbaum, S et al, “Physical Activity Interventions for People with Mental Illness: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. Sep. 2014.

2. Cian, C et al, “Influences of Variations in Body Hydration on Cognitive Function: Effect of Hyperhydration, Heat Stress, and Exercise-Induced Dehydration.” Journal of Psychophysiology. 2000.

3. Galloway, G, Cropley, A, “Benefits of Humor for Mental Health: Empirical Findings and Directions for Further Research.” International Journal of Humor Research. Jan. 1999.

4. Kolovos, S et al, “Effect of Psychotherapy for Depression on Quality of Life: Meta-Analysis.” The British Journal of Psychiatry: The Journal of Mental Science. Dec. 2016.

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