Money can’t buy you happiness, but studies show a new pair of shoes might do the trick. A recent study published in Psychology and Marketing claims buying yourself a treat when you’re down can improve your mood. To prove it, survey results showed 82 percent of study participants were totally happy post-purchase and almost no one had buyer’s remorse. The positive effects of treating yourself to something new could be just what the doctor ordered. Before you hit the mall, here are some healthy and effective ways to make retail therapy work for you.
Retail therapy doesn’t have to mean a full-fledged shopping spree. The simple act of treating yourself to a Wetzel’s Pretzel while you window shop can be enough. For some, retail therapy is less about the actual material items and more about a feeling of connection with others. When you’re feeling down, the mall or your favorite boutique acts as a sanctuary. It’s where you’ll find others who share similar interests in a comfortable setting. Even if you walk out empty handed, engaging with like-minded individuals in an upbeat environment will leave you feeling refreshed.
The science behind retail therapy could lie in the decision making process more than the actual items purchased. In a retail therapy study, researchers at the University of Michigan found that when it comes to alleviating sadness, actively choosing between products is essential, even if those choices are hypothetical. Making decisions can help regain a sense of control. During a pleasant experience like shopping, our minds are subconsciously making decisions by simply browsing through racks. Try it out, click here to decide which Michael Kors top goes best with your new pants. Even if you don’t buy anything, the visual act of looking at items — whether in store or online — and deciding what you like is therapeutic.
Out with the Old
Feeling down about about a breakup? Sad about a recent job loss? New clothing or home decor items act as a symbol of new beginnings. A way to trick the mind into moving forward and putting the past in the donations bin. When we shop, our minds tend to visualize how the item in question will be used in our lives. For example, that gorgeous new suit could be the confidence-boosting piece that lands you your dream job. Suddenly, you’ve gone from sad to optimistic about what the future holds for your career.
Keep in mind, retail therapy is about “treating” yourself to something new. Maxing out your credit card would be considered a shopping binge resulting in reverse effects. If you’re on a tight budget or spending causes you to have more anxiety and stress, try an alternative method of “shopping.” The University of Michigan study also concluded that people who simply imagine that they are buying have less sadness, suggesting that imaginary shopping may have some of the restorative benefits we see in real shopping. For the ultimate shopping escape that won’t cost you a penny, turn to Pinterest. This social sharing site allows you to browse beautiful images of things you love. You can then pin (save) the items on your board and start a dream collection of stylish pieces without spending a dime.