Shopping Therapy


Over the recent Easter break I had the opportunity to go shopping with my dad at the outlet malls at Rookwood. I wanted to buy some spring clothes and I had some pocket money to spend because of the recent job I picked up delivering flowers.

Nikes I purchased

Eventually we ended up in the Nike store. I was wandering around the shop when a shoe caught my eye. This beautiful pair of pink and white Nike Dunks stopped me dead in my tracks. After some consideration, I decided that the one-hundred-and-forty-dollar price tag was worth it if I could bring these shoes home.

Even though my purchase came at a hefty price, an amazing feeling passed over me. I felt so excited and fulfilled. I could not help but wonder why buying these shoes made me feel so good.

It turns out having these feelings after a purchase is common. Buying new things releases dopamine. The purist and eventual purchase of an item hits the buyer with feelings of happiness, power, and freedom.

The term shopping therapy refers to someone who buys goods just to make themselves feel better. This usually occurs when one falls into a depressive or anxious state and most of the time only lasts for short amounts of time. The items bought during this period are referred to as “comfort buys”.

Shopping therapy can be beneficial. It can help us reinstate a sense of control in our lives and can also be used to ease feelings of sadness through instant gratification. The interesting thing is you don’t always need to buy something to see the positive effects of shopping therapy. Sometimes the mental journey is enough for the brain to be stimulated.

On the other side of the coin though, is shopping addiction. The scientific term for a shopaholic is oniomania witch literally means insanity. A shopaholic is a compulsive buyer. Someone who is always thinking about their next purchase and has trouble controlling their urges to purchase things. Their habits can lead to debt and financial ruin. This is usually caused by feelings of stress and anxiety. These can be the same feelings that trigger shopping therapy. The main difference is that shopping therapy lasts for a short period of time and shopaholics deal with it as an ongoing issue. It can be as additive as cocaine.

There is a fine line to walk when it comes to using shopping therapy positively. It is so easy to become a shopaholic when buying things gives off such good feelings. I find it so interesting how much of an effect purchases can control our mood. The rush of the buy can be beneficial to many because of the positive feelings that come with it.

For some though, it is better for them to regulate themselves when it comes to buying unessential items. Stay sharp.