Shoppers are defined by many different classes of men and women around the world. Some women are considered shopaholics, letting the need for new clothes and high heels overwhelm their other priorities. Some men are obsessed with fancy ties, watches, or dress shoes, collecting way more than anyone would ever deem necessary. While shopping too much can quickly lead to disaster, here is proof why shopping in moderation is actually very beneficial to your mental and physical health. It’s called retail therapy, and here’s how it works:

Imagine you’re broke from using your paycheck to pay your rent, buy groceries, and fill up your gas tank. You stay in on the weekends, give yourself at-home manicures, and cook your own meals to save money on going out and spending. After weeks or months of doing this, something inside of you just gets worn down. You need a lift. Something new. Something special, just for you. So you head to the TJ Maxx down the road and buy yourself a new camouflage jacket for the fall ($20 marked down from $60), three off-the-shoulder blouses (each under $15), and three pairs of yoga shorts (each under $15). You walk away spending less than $100 and you relish in the joy of unpacking your new goodies at home and putting them into your closet. It’s a guilt-free splurge, but it does wonders.


Preparing For Life Events

Visualizing how you will use, cook with, wear, or carry a new purchased item is the same thing as visualizing a part of your new life. A new you. Even athletes visualize results, in order to boost their performance and stay motivated. Shopping helps you prepare mentally for life events that you are experiencing, such as getting married or having a baby. You buy things the baby will need, stuff for the nursery, but you’re also buying to prepare yourself for your new title: a mother.

Boosting Good Mood

A study published in the Journal of Psychology and Marketing states that, “retail therapy has lasting positive impacts on mood.” This means that going shopping every now and then not only boosts your mood in the moment, as a temporary high, it also has long-term effects of increasing your mood. Nothing feels quite as good as locating a great find in a bargain store or spoiling yourself on a perfume or purse you’ve been wanting for months. You get an instant sense of satisfaction, followed by excitement. Shoppers are known for visualizing their new purchase being used, which helps them create a positive self-image and a reason to love themselves.

A Mental Vacation

Retail therapy, especially in the form of online shopping, is an excellent way to give your mind a little vacation. Say you’re stuck at home with a newborn baby and you can’t make it to the mall to buy yourself a dress for your sister’s upcoming birthday get together. You can log online and browse through hundreds of fashionable choices on Bloomingdale’s or Nordstrom, and have something shipped to you by the end of the week. This option gives you the freedom to relax, have a glass of wine, prop your feet up on the couch, and still get to participate in the lovely act of shopping, without leaving your home. Plus, since there are no lines or pushy shoppers around you, you can take your time and make an afternoon out of it. The enjoyment is mostly in the browsing itself. You can see all of your options at once, instead of having to weed through endless racks.  

Gaining Control

Retail therapy is also a great exercise for those who need to be in control. You control where you go and what you buy, so at a time when you feel like you’re losing all control over other circumstances in your life, choosing your purchases, and just choosing to purchase in general, are ways to gain some control. Careful though, shopping for control can lead to an addiction! It shouldn’t become a regular habit, but it’s okay every once in a while when your life feels like it’s in a downward spiral. Don’t use it to slap a Band-Aid on your problems, though.

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