Is Retail Therapy Really Effective?
Have you ever had a bad day and decided to go shopping at the mall or online to brighten yourself up? Or perhaps, you’ve overheard friends or family members discussing how they turn to shopping to deal with stress or other unpleasant feelings. Yet have you ever questioned whether this ‘retail therapy’ is genuinely good at lifting your spirits or whether it’s simply a band-aid? Are you interested in the underlying science and its possible effects?
It only makes sense to delve into the idea of retail therapy and investigate the research that has been done on its efficacy.
What is Retail Therapy?
Retail therapy refers to the act of shopping as a way to improve one’s mood or alleviate negative emotions. While many people engage in retail therapy as a form of self-care, its effects can vary from person to person.
Shopping as a means of mood enhancement is known as retail therapy. It’s another method some individuals manage stress or other unpleasant feelings. The phrase has been around for some time and is frequently used informally in conversations and the media. So what actually is the subject? Is it effective? How, if at all?
It’s crucial to first realise that retail therapy is not a clinically approved treatment. To comprehend its consequences, however, research has been done on the subject. Retail therapy may temporarily improve your mood, according to some studies; however, other studies have revealed that it may also have unfavorable effects.
For instance, one study discovered that people who went shopping after having a bad experience said they felt happier and less anxious afterwards. (Sheldon and Kasser, 2002). This is probably because going shopping can help one forget about their issues and give them a feeling of power and authority over their surroundings.
Making a purchase can also cause the release of dopamine, a brain chemical linked to pleasure and reward, which can help to temporarily improve your mood.
Yet, a different study discovered that those who indulged in depression shopping also felt guilty and unsatisfied with their purchases (Rosen et al. 1998). This may be the case since excessive expenditure brought on by shopping might result in financial difficulties as well as shame and regret. Shopping can also result in a person’s unhappiness with their things, which can leave them feeling empty and unfulfilled.
Here are some potential effects of retail therapy:
Temporary mood boost: Retail therapy can provide a temporary lift in mood by creating a sense of excitement and anticipation. This is because shopping releases dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure and reward.
Reduced stress: For some people, shopping can be a way to distract themselves from stressful situations and negative emotions. This can provide a temporary sense of relief and reduce stress levels.
Guilt and regret: Impulsive shopping can often lead to feelings of guilt and regret. This is especially true if the shopper overspends or buys items they do not need. These feelings can cancel out any positive effects of retail therapy and even worsen negative emotions.
Financial strain: Retail therapy can lead to the financial strain if the shopper spends beyond their means. This can lead to long-term stress and financial problems.
Environment impact: Constantly engaging in retail therapy can lead to more waste and environmental harm. The fashion industry, in particular, has a significant carbon footprint and contributes to pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, and water waste.
In summary, while retail therapy can provide a temporary lift in mood and reduce stress levels, it can also lead to guilt, regret, financial strain, and harm to the environment. It is important to practice moderation and self-awareness when engaging in retail therapy to avoid negative consequences.