Do You Believe in Finding Happiness in Retail Therapy?

When you’re upset or when life throws things in your way, doing something nice for yourself is the best way to feel better. But how about shopping? It is true that there is a close relation between shopping and happiness, but it’s important to keep things under control to avoid shopping addiction.

Why Do We Feel Happier After Some Shopping?

When we feel a little down or upset, it’s usually because we feel like we have lost control of things in our lives. So, when we feel like life takes control of us and what’s happening around us, we feel sad. At times like this, we need to do something nice for ourselves to feel like we have control over our life. And, shopping is one of many ways to feel a sense of control.

Sense of Control in Retail Therapy

Research conducted on this issue focuses on two effects of shopping. First of all, people feel like they have regained some control in their lives after doing some shopping, which makes them feel better. For instance, according to a study conducted at the University of Michigan in 2014 suggests that buying something we like make us feel 40 times stronger and more in control.

The Effect of Sensory Stimulation in Retail Therapy

The second reason why shopping makes us feel happier is that we get visual and sensory pleasure from it. Doing things that stimulate our senses, being exposed to visual and tactile stimuli makes us feel less anxious, which creates a sense of happiness in the short term. The sensory experience provided by retail therapy has a calming and mood-lifting effect on people. So, the feel and smell of something we buy, even absorbing different colors, textures and designs on online stores is enough to makes us get away from out reality and forget the upsetting events and feelings.

You Don’t Have to Buy It to Feel Happy!

What’s more, you don’t even have to purchase something to get the benefits of retail therapy. Window shopping or browsing through online shopping platforms can be enough to make us feel better. Have you ever wondered why you put lots of items in your online shopping cart, only to abandon it without actually buying anything? Because you don’t have to make a purchase to feel better, sometimes it’s enough to put things in your cart or browsing through online stores. 

Besides, making a purchase is not the only step where you release some dopamine and feel better. For instance, waiting for your items to be delivered and tracking them online can make us release dopamine and feel much better. Or, using some coupon codes and saving some money while shopping can make us release dopamine, as well. 

From Retail Therapy to Addiction: What Are The Symptoms?

Although the benefits of shopping are acknowledged by scientists, it’s a good idea to remain cautious. Shopping addiction is much more common than you think, especially in the era of online shopping. But, what are the symptoms of shopping addiction? How do you know if you have crossed the thin line between retail therapy and addiction?

We can talk about an addiction when the shopping behavior gets out of hand, effecting the individual as well as their loved ones. Here are some of the symptoms of shopping addiction: Buying things you don’t need, having issues about the frequency of shopping and the total amount spent, experiencing the negative effects of shopping on family relations as well as career and academic success, and constantly feeling the urge to buy something, etc. Remember, it is always a good idea to remain cautious to prevent shopping from becoming an obsession or compulsive disorder.

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