The outdoors can be frighteningly cold at this time of year, presenting itself as sometimes an unbearable option to venture out for a change of scenery, fresh air and to help obliterate feelings of sadness and stress. But all is not lost when there is a warm, well-lit atmosphere with its pastry aromas, creme donut displays, festive decor and music flooding the local shopping center not too far from you. Retail therapy is most likely a more attractive, relaxation technique to encounter when you are feeling blue in the winter time, and you shouldn’t necessarily always try to fight that urge.
There is so much more to retail therapy than just purchasing things (although sometimes buying something within your means is good too). Which is why using the act of shopping for self-help can be beneficial in helping you to reduce stress. Below are a few of the many pleasures of shopping and why a little bit of retail therapy can go a long way in giving you a taste of sanity.
Retail therapy doesn’t necessarily have to include buying something. Simply viewing a beautiful festive display, creative artwork or a well put together outfit on a mannequin can fill you with positive thoughts by viewing what is aesthetically pleasing to the eye. Browsing and getting lost in aisles of crafts, records or funny Christmas jumpers can be like a form of escapism. You can concentrate on seeing and toying with different objects whether testing out a new game, feeling a furry teddy or flicking through a book, allowing your mind to wander away and take a break from life’s stresses, strains and winter blues.
If you mainly work in solitude, live alone or perhaps have moved to a new city by yourself, loneliness coupled with dreary weather leading up to Christmas could be what’s making you feel a little blue. Because of this, you might be craving what’s described by Kit Yarrow from Psychology Today as a social connection. Maybe you just want to be around life, human interaction, maybe to exchange small talk with a shop assistant over the counter or to people-watch while sipping a cup of tea at a cafe. For some, merely being amongst other people is enough to reduce one’s stress levels, in helping them to feel less isolated and disconnected from people at what is supposed to be a festive and joyful time of the year.
A distinctive part of shopping whether in-store or online, is the satisfaction people receive from the visualization process of getting excited about a particular product which they link to an event they either hope to happen or will aim to make happen. For example, you may visit a jewelers’ and gaze at the range of shiny trinkets and treasures beneath the pane of glass, perhaps even fantasize proposing or being proposed to by your partner with a Ritani diamond ring. By setting goals and focusing on achieving our aspirations we can begin to think positively about the future. In turn, this can help alter your mindset when you are feeling trapped in a low state of mind.
In spite of all of the retail therapy pleasures, there are some negative effects of shopping. This occurs when purchasing items you can’t afford in order achieve an impulse buyers high. Once the high fades, some people feel the need to repeat the purchasing process to reach the same high. And this can leave them in debt and with an addiction to purchasing. If you feel you exhibit this behavior, it may be best to seek help.
By considering these other elements that come along with shopping, it can be seen that retail therapy is a very affective way to ease stress, anxiety and have a much more enjoyable holiday.