Does Retail Therapy Really Help in Overcoming Depression?

Top 5 items purchased!
Do you hit the mall or click around on etsy after having a bad day at work? Do you feel elevated when you buy yourself the latest pair of stilettos? Let’s not go into buying, let’s first talk about stuff like window shopping and online scrolling. Does that help in cheering your mood? Retail therapy, as we call it, does hold a bad reputation, or shall we say, remains a debatable topic forever. But does it deserve the stigma? It doesn’t, is what the recent study done by the University of Michigan
Shopping Has Its Perks!
online shopping
Relaxation, Rejuvenation, and Escape
These are sure to top the list when we talk of benefits. Those pissed with their monotonous routines often go shopping, spending some me-time. Shopping online during the break hours work like a mini-vacation. So much so, window shopping or scrolling through the items you wanna buy, works as a stress-buster.
Social Connection and Entertainment
We humans tend to get attracted to a store that has more customers. We meet people, we make friends. In fact, we sort of develop a connect with people who like the same brand as us. Purchased an item … loved it … visited it’s site … liked it’s Facebook page is the usual cycle we follow. And we end up attending the store sponsored party, where we again meet people. The point is, we as humans, find it therapeutic to meet and converse with other like-minded people.
mental preparation
Source of mental preparation
If you purchase a new outfit, you start visualizing yourself in that dress; in a way, visualizing your new life. Visualization reduces anxiety and helps boost performance. May be, this is what athletes prefer.
Boosts self-esteem
Shopping, virtual or real, can render a sense of control and works as a positive distraction
Makes anger less intense. There’s something about shopping that pacifies you, relaxes you, making you forget the reason you were pissed.
Studies That Support Retail Therapy
According to a survey done by TNS Global and Ebates,

A total of 51.8% of Americans engage in retail therapy.9% of people go for shopping after having a bad day at work, 14.6% shop after they’ve heard a bad news, and 12.2% after a tiff with a loved one.4 in 10 women agreed to the fact that shopping uplifts their mood.

In the research done by the British Psychological Society, about 62% of shoppers went to purchase something for cheering themselves up. That shopping belittles sadness was found out in a research done by the University of Michigan.
Recent Study on Retail Therapy
This study was conducted by the University of Michigan Ross School of Business―two professors, Scott Rick and Katherine Burson and a PhD candidate, Beatriz Pereira. The following experiments were performed.
In one experiment, 45 female undergraduates were asked to watch a clip related to a bullying incident. All the participants were asked to rate their moods and emotions before and after the movie. They were given the option of buying a snack, and 44% chose to buy it. The study found out that buyers were significantly less sad than those who didn’t buy.
In the second experiment, 100 adults were asked to watch a depressing clip. Then, the subjects were randomly assigned to simulating shopping scenarios―getting to choose the products and add them to their shopping cart or browse them. At the end, the choosers group were found to be happier than those who just browsed.
The gist is, shopping does help in assuaging sad emotions and making buying decisions boosts your spirits. People who shopped were 3 times happier than those who browsed.
When Does Retail Therapy Fail?
San Francisco therapist, Peggy Wynne says, “We all enjoy a little retail therapy now and then. In small manageable doses, it can soothe the soul. Shopping isn’t a problem when it’s done in moderation, just like moderate use of alcohol.” She explains that the theory of shopping becomes a problem when the line’s been crossed.
Rebecca Bloomwood, the character from Confessions of a Shopaholic, states, “When I shop, the world gets better, and the world is better. But then it’s not, and I need to do it again.”Shopping is hell addictive. It is compulsive! Once you do it, you feel the need to do some more. And later, it may follow with the guilt of overspending.
So, retail therapy does help overcome depression, only if you keep a check on your budget. After all this, we say, a little browsing now and then doesn’t harm.