“When the going gets tough, the tough go shopping”
A survey conducted by TNS Global found that more than half of Americans, 64% of them women, engage in “retail therapy”—the act of shopping for yourself in order to feel better. They women said that they purchased something to cheer themselves up or as a form of celebration.
We all enjoy retail therapy now and then, it does seem to soothe the soul, I know I do. Shopping isn’t a problem unless of course you overdo it. If your lying and hiding your purchases or feeling guilt or shame about shopping then maybe shopping has gotten out of hand.
According to an essay I read by Kit Yarrow, psychology department chair at Golden Gate University and named Outstanding Scholar for her research on consumer behavior, there are some benefits to shopping when done in moderation.
Easing Transitions: Shopping can be a rich source of mental preparation. When people shop, they’re naturally visualizing how they’ll use the products being considered, and in doing so they’re also visualizing their new life.
Dressing for Success: “Retail purchases can be helpful if the product inspires self-confidence and a sense of mastery.” Turns out that dressing appropriately not only increases our confidence, but may even help us perform better. People do actually judge a book by its cover — or in this case, judge a person by what they wear. Buying a special outfit to wear or just browsing and purchasing can help us to anticipate, imagine, and mentally prepare ourselves for new situations.
Boosting Creativity: Shopping is great for creative inspiration. I find myself often needing to get out and shop just to see what's new and available that gives me ideas and stimulates my imagination.
Relaxation and Escape: The benefits of “retail therapy,” can provide escape, entertainment and rejuvenation. Window shopping, online scrolling or looking through racks can be a mental refresher — like a mini vacation, without any packing or planning. And online shopping is relatively mindless and relaxing and can often end without anything being purchased. Plus short breaks can actually improve performance and decision-making.
Social Connection: People have gone to the marketplace to connect with other people for ages. The cure for emotional distress is human connection. We need to be with others whether that takes place over dinner, at home, or at the mall, it’s therapeutic. When I travel my first day out is usually shopping at a local market so I can get a feel for the place and the people.