Shopping 101: The Science behind Retail Therapy

For many of us, shopping is more than just an errand or a weekend must-do. Others consider it as a therapeutic task that gives them the luxury and satisfaction after a hectic week at work. Most of us, especially women, even find some relief from shopping. Well, this is not a myth as science has something to say about it. Learn them here.

“For some, shopping is an art; for others, it’s a sport. It can be a vice and it can be a cause. Some love it. Some hate it. Rarely is someone indifferent.” Pamela Klaffke

 Yes, retail therapy works!

retail therapy

Let’s face it; most women tend to call shopping as their ‘stress reliever.’ Perhaps, it is the benefits of shopping that can be associated with its psychological rewards. Shopping gives the shoppers some sense of pride and satisfaction for being able to buy what they need while they fulfill their wants. Likewise, shopping also gives everyone that beautiful ‘retail therapy afterglow.’

The science behind this is the ‘love hormone.’ The positive sensation we all get from shopping actually stems from the hormone and a neurotransmitter called oxytocin. This is produced mainly in the brain. When it is released, we feel a deeper sense of social connection, bonding, trust, generosity, and overall happiness.

Generally, oxytocin has been classified as the “tend and befriend” response. It’s opposite is the “fight or flight” response that is associated with hormones such as cortisol. Therefore, since many of us are exposed to lots of inevitable stressors at home and at work, we need to learn balance. Thanks to oxytocin for doing the trick!

 Money can buy happiness

Yes, you’ve read it right. If you think money can’t buy happiness, try shopping.  Buying exactly what you want brings you joy and satisfaction.Hence, the popular saying that money can’t buy happiness may not be right.

Many psychologists believe that money provides an opportunity to be happy. More so, spending your money wisely gives you not just pleasure but most importantly, joy. This conforms with the findings of a recent study conducted by Cambridge University. In the study, 625 people took a personality test. Their responses matched anonymously with their bank transaction data over a period of six months. Thus, approximately 60 spending categories were matched to the following five personality traits:

  • openness to experience (artistic versus traditional);
  • conscientiousness (self-controlled vs. easygoing);
  • extraversion (outgoing vs. reserved);
  • agreeableness (compassionate vs competitive); and,
  • neuroticism (prone to stress vs. stable).

The researchers led by Ph.D. candidate Sandra Matz, along with Joe Gladstone and Dr. David Stillwell, revealed that people who spent more money on purchases that matched their personality were found happier.

“Our findings suggest that spending money on products that help us express who we are as individuals could turn out to be as impottant to our well-being as finding the right job, the right neighborhood or even the right friends and partners,” Matz said.

“Whoever said money can’t buy happiness simply didn’t know where to go shopping.”  ~Bo Derek

 Online shopping also makes you feel goodOnline Shopping

In addition to convenience, online shopping offers many ways of satisfying your “cravings” and making you feel happy. Without the need to go out in the rush of mall shopping, adding stuff to your virtual shopping cart lets you get what you need or desire in just a few clicks.

Since it prioritizes customer’s preferences, online stores give you wider options to choose. It also offers discounts, through vouchers and promo codes, that would surely make you hit that “buy” or “add to cart” button. Some do not even charge shipping or delivery costs.

 Kick your stress and anxiety blues without hurting your pocket

Since you tag shopping as your ultimate stress reliever, you have to learn the best ways to save your time and money. Being a wise and frugal shopper does the trick of not living beyond your means, going out of a budget, or being broke.

Congrats, you now have an excuse! Learning all these things justifies your desire to spend on some “extras.” Boosting your love hormones, giving yourself a treat, and relieving your stress can be some of your endless alibis for hanging out and shopping!

Well, we agree with the saying that “shopping is the only therapy worth paying for.” Let us know your thoughts by leaving a message in the comment section.

“I always say shopping is cheaper than a psychiatrist.”  ~Tammy Faye Bakker

Happy shopping, folks!

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