When the burden of stress becomes overwhelming, many flock towards shopping centres and online retail sites in attempts of de-stressing and feeling better… but does retail therapy actually work?
Many young buyers at CF Masonville Place admitted that they are notorious for retail therapy.
Most young buyers say that there are two main reasons that they choose to engage in retail therapy. The first being that when they are experiencing something stressful or overwhelming, they make purchases to improve their mood and to encourage themselves to make it to the end of their difficult task. The second reason being that when they overcome something difficult, they treat themselves as a reward.
Grace Toddrick, an 18 year-old shopper said that she loves buying new things to make herself feel better when she’s going through a tough time. “Usually I buy shoes, makeup, or anything that I have been wanting for a long time, but it can be bad sometimes too. Sometimes you buy something to make you feel better, but if you don’t have a lot of money, or if you’ve spent too much money then you just feel bad and you end up worse than you were before.”
Currently, no studies have proven that retail therapy can improve mental wellness, but researchers A. Selin Atalay and Margaret G. Meloy researched retail therapy and found that it can be an effective tool for those that are “strategically motivated” and tend to use rewards as a way to encourage progress and success.
Alternatively, the findings showed that if an individual was to use retail therapy as a “pick-me-up” or was to sporadically treat themselves instead of using rewards at checkpoints or finish lines, the individual is more likely to feel guilt and regret, which would ultimately put a retail therapy shopper in a much worse mood.
19 year-old James Fischer says he engages in retail therapy quite often but says shoppers need to know when to stop. “I think my most frequent use of retail therapy is buying food. I will admit that whenever I’m feeling down, my first instinct is to go for the comfort food. It usually initially makes me feel better, but I know that if I eat out too often I am wasting my money and not being healthy, so it actually makes me feel worse. I think if you buy yourself something to cheer yourself up, that’s awesome, but if you’re doing it on a regular basis, you know it’s not really helping.”
When choosing to engage in retail therapy, it is always best to set limits for yourself before you intend on shopping and to be respectful of your own timelines and deadlines. Waiting until after you have finished a task for celebratory shopping is always best for your bank account and your motivation levels.