Can shopping help anxiety?

Posted on October 16, 2014

Although shopping is not the conventional type of therapy, it does have positive emotional effects on individuals, hence why shopping is so popular. Psychologists have found that people tend to shop the most leading up to big life transitions. The shopping process, the purchases and the preparation for this new phase in life allow for more control over the situation, which in turn eases anxiety. Often these type of purchases outweigh the actual need of the product.

Many times, shopping relieves stress and anxiety, which can be useful for several individuals. Studies have shown that there are clear benefits to retail therapy. For example, a study conducted by Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health found retail therapy in moderation to be beneficial, citing that regular shopping was connected to longer life spans.

If your retail therapy habits are moderate in nature, your credit isn't an issue, and it does not affect your daily functioning, more power to you. Enjoy those shopping moments that decrease stress and anxiety. However, if not shopping causes you anxiety, you are spending just to spend and it's causing a financial disruption, retail therapy may have more of a negative effect than a positive one.

If you find yourself compulsively shopping, addicted to the "buying high" regardless of the purchase, you may need to seek professional assistance. Recently, the psychological community has identified Compulsive Buying Disorder (CBD) as a possible diagnosis. CBD refers to the chronic purchasing of unneeded or unwanted things, which disrupts daily functioning. If the above description seems to fit, reaching out to your physician and/or a mental health provider is necessary.

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Source material from Huffington Post