The holiday season is right around the corner and it will be here before you know it! Although this year may look a bit different due to the pandemic, many undoubtedly will still find ways to visit with family, spend time rekindling old friendships, and live in the moment. However, as always, this season is sure to bring forth an intense flurry of advertising, large marketing plans, and endless commercials all with the goal of getting you to spend money.
To many, shopping feels good. It’s no surprise... In fact, it's normal to feel a certain ‘high’ after making a purchase for yourself. Perhaps it stems from a primal instinct that tells us that owning more things will make us happier, but that's not the case.
After a terrible week of work, a breakup, or even just a bad day, “retail therapy” can bring a sense of control and happiness to your life. This is a fleeting, temporary feeling, but it DOES make you feel good in the moment. This is exactly the reason to stay weary of your shopping habits and understand the very real dangers of retail therapy.
Why Retail Therapy Makes us Happier:
Life can get crazy. Sometimes it seems like days, months, or even years aren’t going our way! We all experience times where everything seems to be out of control and chaotic. Well.. shopping does distract us from this terrible feeling.
Studies have shown that because choices are inherent to shopping, such as choosing whether to buy and where to shop, retail therapy may restore a sense of control and therefore reduces sadness. Although demonstrated by science, this fact shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. Going to your favorite stores, picking out your favorite items, is fun and if done properly, can be a great activity if done in healthy amounts. However, what if your spending got out of control?
Dangers of Retail Therapy:
For a small percentage of the world, money may seem like a bottomless pit. No price too high, grab anything you want. For most, however, a balance of spending and saving is absolutely necessary. Life is expensive. Mortgage payments, rent, groceries, electric, water, etc. the list goes on and on. Without paying these costs, our lives could spiral out of control. Especially if we have partners or children relying on us.
Just as it is with drugs and alcohol, each person has a different relationship with shopping. Some may never do it, some hate it, others love it, and some people can’t get enough of it.
This is when shopping becomes a true problem. What if your shopping and spending habits started to get out of control? You could easily fall into debt, lose a house, a car, and strain relationships with people around you.
While some people may need professional help with treating an addiction to shopping, it is best to understand the dangers to be better equip yourself with ways to prevent falling into a bad relationship with shopping.
How to Avoid Falling into Retail Therapy:
Shopping is not inherently bad, not at all! But how you view shopping may be creating more problems in your life than it is fixing!
Before you allow it to control your life, you have the power to take control!
Here are a few tips we have on avoiding an addiction to shopping:
- Create and stick to a budget - Know what you can spend for your financial stability and honor your budget.
- Find other activities that bring you joy - Read a book, learn an instrument, go to the gym, take a walk.
- Be present in nature
Find your Happiness
Yes, shopping can make you feel happy, but it will not bring you happiness! We recommend trying to find other outlets to bring happiness to your life! Read a book, look at old photos, practice yoga, go outside - find something that makes you happy and gives you joy!
Have any ideas for other ways to find happiness on hard days? Comment below to share!