retail is not therapy

We think shopping and buying new things, gadgets and clothes for ourselves makes us feel better as we face the challenges of everyday life. But the reality is that ‘retail therapy’ does not exist.

Therapy is meant to bring us long-term happiness and heal us. But shopping is far from it. When we buy something new it gives us a high, but that feeling is limited to a very short period of time. Once that feeling subsides, we again reach our initial ground state and soon find ourselves back online or in store looking for something new and cool to buy.

Compulsive and mindless shopping is akin to self-medicating ourselves; it can lead to an invisible addiction that can go undiagnosed for a long time. Not only can it have repercussions on our finances, but if not kept in check, it can affect our relationships as well.

Thanks to Amazon and other marketplaces, the friction between wanting and buying has become non-existent today. Retail is a few clicks away.

We need to get out of this retail rut and confront the main reasons that drive our compulsive shopping behaviors — our inability to deal with stress, depression and anxiety (to put it bluntly). In order to find relief from these negative emotions and get rid of boredom, people buy impulsively to feel good in the moment.

The momentary thrills of purchases blind the compulsive shoppers amongst us. Deals, offers, reward points and discounts add fuel to the fire. Even though we feel accomplished when we buy stuff, the sad truth is that most of us often regret having purchased these items and pieces of clothing altogether and they soon join our involuntary junk collection at our homes.

Before it gets worse, we need to let go of our compulsive and impulsive shopping habits. We have to stop buying stuff for the sake of buying, and only spend money to get something that we truly need, not because it is available at a bargain price. Most importantly, we need to find healthier avenues to take care of our well-being that are elevating and not harsh on our pockets.

With the rise of the minimalism movement, there are many resources available these days that can help us get us started in the journey of conscious spending and living a more meaningful and intentional life with less.

Because this shift will demand a change in our behaviors and habits, getting rid of our spending patterns is not easy, but when we realize that spending less is not only a great strategy for the long-term, but also is a beneficial tactic to ensure peace of mind in the present, choosing a life of limited, mindful and intentional purchases will be a no-brainer.