Let’s Go Shopping: The Science Behind Retail Therapy

If you’ve never spent time and money shopping after being down in the dumps for a really long time, you’ve clearly missed out on the most ecstatic, content feeling anyone can ever experience in the world.

While the word retail therapy has been flung around casually for a really long time, it wasn’t until it caught the attention of researchers who tried to make sense of why shopping for things – anything – can make you feel better about yourself and your life, that someone took the concept seriously. Before the advent of in-depth research on retail therapy, the idea was associated solely with women and their need to spend money on useless things, making it the butt of many (sexist) jokes; fortunately for womankind, researchers found out that it isn’t just a pesky habit that only women are afflicted by. The magic of retail therapy is for everyone. Hurray!

Apart from the obvious fact that going on a shopping spree gives you a sense of productivity for trying to sort out your life, it’s interesting to note that even shopping online, from the comfort of your room, can bring about the same feelings and emotions without you even having to move around! In a study conducted by Selin Atalay and Margaret Meloy, which was published in the Journal of Psychology and Marketing,

Atalay and Meloy discovered that 62% of the shoppers from their sample, admitted to buying things to cheer themselves up and the other 28% shopped to celebrate any happy event of their life.

Can’t imagine how spending money would make you feel happy? Think of it like this, whenever our life undergoes a radical change, we usually prepare ourselves by buying new things that will be better suited to the change. This purchasing prompts our mind to envision how we’ll use these newly bought products which in turn helps us accept the change to some degree.

Buying new things also distracts our mind from whatever seems to bother us by helping channel all our mental energy into styling and fulfilling our aesthetics. This is not only guaranteed to cheer you up but is an excellent distraction from stress and tension.

Recent surveys reveal that for many people online shopping is a form of relaxation and helps them relieve everyday stress in a healthy way. Even just scrolling through a list of items that you might want to buy in the future has the power to relax you simply because it makes you forget about your current situation and stress.

However, moderation is key! If you find yourself spending exorbitant amounts of money and running to a mall after every minor inconvenience then it’s time you realize that you might have a problem.

Like all other things, retail therapy is only therapeutic as long as it isn’t disrupting your daily routine or functioning, the moment it changes into something damaging, it’s time to consult a psychologist on the best possible ways to deal with your problem.

So buckle up and enjoy shopping season to the fullest! It’s time to treat yourself.

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