How To Do HEALTHY Retail Therapy

Going on a shopping spree with a credit card in hand can leave you burdened with debt and stress. That’s why it’s a big surprise to see many mental health professionals recommending "retail therapy" to deal with pandemic stress. Can shopping be good for your health?

The Benefits of Shopping for Your Mood

The science doesn’t lie. A little retail therapy can be very good for you emotionally and mentally, helping you relax when you need it the most. There are at least four reasons why.

1. You Feel in Control Again

Are difficult situations making you feel like life is careening out of control? It’s a good time for some healthy retail therapy.

Spending time comparing different options, making choices and purchasing items that make you happy gives you a sense of accomplishment. Even if it’s just something small, finding exactly what you wanted (especially if it’s on sale) feels like a huge victory.

2. Retail Therapy Makes You Happy

Shopping makes your brain release a feel-good chemical called dopamine. This is the same “happiness hormone” you get from eating a bowl of chocolate ice cream. The sensation is pleasurable, causing deep satisfaction, relaxation and wellbeing.

3. Shopping Provides a Distraction From Problems

Worrying about problems usually doesn’t serve any purpose. Retail therapy can be a great solution. It's exciting to spend time around colorful advertisements, beautiful pictures, spacious stores and bright lights.

Shopping online is effective, too. Websites can transport you somewhere else for a while. Instead of thinking about work, you can imagine yourself sipping margaritas on a tropical beach.

4. Friends Help You Relax Even More

Teens aren’t the only ones who love hanging out together at the mall. Adults can recharge their batteries by shopping with friends.

You can even have fun “together” from home by texting friends the items you have your eye on for online ordering. Everything from trendy shoes to power tools on sale can do the trick.

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Debt-Free Retail Therapy

You don’t need to click on the “buy” button to get an emotional boost from shopping. It's not the purchase itself that gives people a rush. Just looking at items online is enough to get you going.

Here are some ways to enjoy retail therapy that don’t require spending money:

  • Try on clothes you like and model them in the mirror
  • Look at shoes online that fit your personality
  • Check out the specs for new car models
  • Shop for a new laptop and wishlist it for later on
  • Browse furniture online as a couple
  • Watch home remodeling shows on TV

You don’t need to buy anything! The fun is in the journey, not the destination.

Tips for Healthy Retail Therapy

It's important to avoid turning a relaxing afternoon into a shop-until-you-drop marathon that leaves you exhausted and in debt. Follow these tips:

  • Save up for purchases instead of buying on the spot
  • Use the shopping cart or wishlist online items to set them aside without buying
  • Leave your credit cards at home when going to the mall for retail therapy
  • Set aside a specific amount of money (preferably cash) each month for retail therapy

It’s fun to share your discoveries with friends and family. Try something like this: “Wouldn’t that sectional look amazing in the living room with a tropical blue accent wall?” Or this: “Can you imagine how awesome it would be to take that Jeep on a road trip?”