Retail Therapy Is A Real Thing That Can Make You Happier

Republished with permission from Musely an Evio Community Partner

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Sometimes, you just need a little bit of retail therapy.

It certainly makes me feel good when I’m having a terrible day. It’s comforting to be able to treat yourself to something nice or special.

Shopping, it turns out, can be a great coping mechanism. According to psychotherapist Amy Morin, even imagining ourselves wearing a new outfit or using a new product can give us a temporary mood boost. Shopping gives us a sense of control, a way of taking the reins in our otherwise chaotic life. Shopping also can be a way to socialize. You might shop with friends or family, or simply use it as a way to get out of your house.

A 2011 study suggested that retail therapy can actually be effective at improving your mood. But it also suggests you’re more likely to impulsively spend when you’re in a bad mood. Not only are you more likely to spend money when you otherwise wouldn’t have, the mood boost is usually temporary. Treating yourself to retail therapy can even cause you to feel worse and give you more stress. You might rack up a huge credit card bill or get caught in a cycle of buying things, being unsatisfied, and then buying things again to try to alleviate your negative feelings.

So shopping is definitely not a replacement for actual therapy. If you’re turning to shopping for reasons like anxiety or loneliness, find another activity that won’t wreak as much havoc on your credit score such as reading or exercising. You might even want to book yourself a therapy session.

But if you want to go shopping as a reward after a long day of work, go for it. Just make sure you aren’t avoiding something you seriously need to address or spending more than you can afford.