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Day 2 Behavior Exchange Challenge ~ Retail Therapy

Day 2 Behavior Exchange Challenge ~ Retail Therapy

Bad Habit #2 ~ Retail Therapy

file00035788270When the going gets tough, the tough go shopping.  He who dies with the most toys wins.  Sound familiar?

The Center on Education & Healing Quotes Huffington Post Author, Carolyn Gregoire;

One In Three Recently Stressed Americans Shops To Deal With Anxiety and she humorously calls it “Retail Therapy”!

Are you kidding me?  It would be more appropriate to call it a “Retail Therapy Game of denial; call a rose by it’s name – they are addicted to shopping.

In 2009 I warned that “Addiction” is NOT about drugs and alcohol; it’s any obsessive and compulsive behavior and my website page showed the various addictions.

Psychology Today writer, Elizabeth Svoboda writes;

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.

We know using Retail Therapy is one of the the bad habits that unhappy people have – according to the article that spawned our challenge this July.  22 Habits of Unhappy People.  How many of us have secretly identified with these phrases;  When the going gets tough, the tough go shopping & He who dies with the most toys wins.  Undeniably, there is an adrenaline rush when you get something new and shiny.

Whether a true shopaholic – out of control and addicted to the high of shopping; or a person who uses retail therapy to ward off or escape from dealing with the blues, stress, anxiety and life in general; both focus on finding a port in the emotional storm that looks to fix internal issues from the outside. The only way to deal with emotions is to deal with them. A new pair of shoes won’t soothe your psyche. You have to go inside yourself to fix what hurts.

Lee AldrichLee’s Challenge:

Well…I really do hate shopping. And I would usually rather pull out my own toenails than step foot in a mall. If I’m there, I’m on a mission: get in, find what I need, get the hell out. Makes me shudder just to think about it. I do, however, understand why people use retail therapy to cope. ‘Cause there’s one area that I could slip into that bad habit….

I’m a gardener. And I’ve yet to find a greenhouse, plant store, gardening center or on-line gardening sites that I can’t find LOTS of plants, shrubs or trees that I’d like to take home with me. This is the closest you will ever see me with a wide-eyed-kid-in-a-candy-store look on my face. Just being surrounded by new, unique and fabulous growing things sends my spirit soaring. I really could spend many, many dollars in a short amount of time. However, I’m a bit more practical and pragmatic….just where, exactly, would I put them all if I DID buy to my hearts content?

Nope, retail therapy is not one of my coping strategies. I’ve got other issues! ; )

Barbara JoyBarbara’s Challenge:

I used to resort to retail therapy years ago, but a shift in my thinking occurred when, due to my husbands job, we were forced to sell our home and move out of state.  We lost so much money on our home, we knew we would be renters until A) the market stabilized and B) we were in a place we knew we’d be staying for at least 10 years.  That was almost 10 years ago.  The act of downsizing was a lesson learned well in that things are just things…we had to find the art and comfort in living minimally, living simply & now, as a result, we are living debt free.  I am extremely happy to have only 1 pair of “go to” jeans!

I do remember a time in the early 70’s when I was first married, we were so young and still in school and the only TV we had was a 13″ black & white TV.  I know my affinity for buying large screen TV’s for every room of the house stems from that dreaded feeling I used to have back in the early 70’s ….I thought I’d never see a time when I could afford a new color TV.  Every time we buy a new TV I think back to that little Black & White set top….

Awareness!  The first step of solving your own problems!

My new resolution is and has been for some time now one that is working quite well for me.  How do I know it’s working.  I’m much happier now!

Before each purchase I use my three question rule…

  1. Do I need it or want it?
  2. If I was pulling cash out of my wallet would I still buy it?
  3. What will my life be like if I don’t buy it?

This doesn’t apply to any Apple Product by the way.   I NEED those!


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  1. I’ve been trying to deny my recent foray into retail therapy with the thought that I need this or I want this but I remember in my 20s when I no concept of my addictions – I would go on shopping sprees. Spent thousands of dollars (plastic!) and then cry when the bills came in. I didn’t even remember what I spent it on because it was small stuff. I was stuffing my feelings this way instead of eating or binge drinking or sex. Thanks for the heads up that I need to get my head out of the sand and work the steps yet again.
    Carolyn Moore recently posted…Alone On PurposeMy Profile

    • Barbara Coleman

      4 July

      The days of no credit card bills are so very nice! It was a hard habit to break, but now when I need a little retail therapy it’s all by cash….and I have it ;-). BTW, Your piece alone on purpose was great!

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