Today’s topic is #2 on our “bad habit” list in the Behavior Exchange Challenge. Retail Therapy! How many of us can say buying something new and shiny really perks us up. The problem with Retail Therapy isn’t in buying yourself a little something to chase away the blues, the problem is when it becomes obsessive behavior….just like an addiction to drugs, alcohol or even cigarettes.
When the going gets tough, the tough go shopping….He who dies with the most toys wins. Sound familiar?
Carolyn Gregorie of The Huffington Post writes…
1 in 3 Americans shop to deal with anxiety. Is this Retail Therapy or a shopping addiction?
Forget meditation and yoga: For many stressed-out Americans, the best remedy for a stressful day at work or the sting of a painful breakup is the smell of brand-new clothing, the feel of a silk dress and the sound of a credit card being swiped. If you turn to retail therapy in times of anxiety, you’re not alone — according to a recent survey, nearly one in three recently stressed Americans (which accounts for 91 percentof the general population) shops to deal with stress.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the survey — an online poll of over 1,000 U.S. adults commissioned by the Huffington Post — found that women were twice as likely as men to use retail therapy as a way to cope with stress (40 percent vs. 19 percent). And in turn, men were more than twice as likely as women (34 percent vs. 16 percent) to say that they had never shopped out of stress and would never consider doing so in the future.
But gender aside, there is one trait many “stress-shoppers” have in common: They tend to seek distracting, temporary fixes to alleviate their stress. HuffPost’s survey found that those who shop to deal with anxiety (versus those who do not) were also…
- 46 percent more likely to exercise to cope with stress
- 86 percent more likely to eat to cope with stress
- 76 percent more likely to worry about their weight
Psychology Today’s Article; A Field Guide To The Shopaholic talks about the difference between Retail Therapy and Shopaholics.
True shopaholics develop retail habits that put other areas of their lives in peril, explains psychologist April Lane Benson, Ph.D., author of To Buy or Not to Buy. “They’re put on probation at work because they’re caught shopping online, or they’re working two or three jobs to pay off their credit cards,” she says. “Their personal lives are in a shambles because of the secrecy and the humiliation.” Their relationships may also suffer, as shopaholics often get into spats with loved ones about their spending sprees.
The group of people referred to as the Retail Therapy shoppers…
This group loves retail therapy—going on spending sprees directly to alleviate bad feelings. “Shopping brings me out of a depressed mood,” says Dee Burrell, an author and professional consultant from Jenkintown, Pennsylvania, who considers herself an emotional shopaholic.
Any way you look at it, it’s clear this is one of the habits that truly happy people don’t engage in. What do you think? Are you a shopaholic? Are you as happy as you could be?