At a previous job I had on 5th avenue in New York City, I would cheer myself up on bad days by going out on my lunch hour and buying myself little gifts. Whether it was a pretty new top, a killer pair of shoes, or a delicious pastry from a well-known bakery. When I came home later that night with my new purchases in hand, my husband would give me a look that said “Ok, just this once since you were having a bad day,” as if I should feel guilty for my little splurges. But I never did feel guilty about spending money I should have been saving. I felt better! And a recent study of retail therapy may explain why.
According to the study published last year in the journal Psychology & Marketing, retail therapy is an effective way of improving one’s mood. A whopping 82 percent of study participants reported feeling totally happy after indulging in some shopping.
The study also revealed that, while using retail therapy to improve one’s mood does lead to more impulsive buying, we don’t lose all restraint to the point of making purchases we’ll regret later. Very few study participants reported feeling remorse over their purchases. Researchers believe that this is because we strategically spend only as much as will make us happy and not lead to buyer’s remorse as a way to ensure we obtain the goal of improved moods.
What’s more is that, thanks to this internal safeguard against going too far in our shopping sprees, the happiness that retail therapy brings us is a lasting one.
So next time the world’s got you down, loosen up those purse strings just a little and purchase a mood booster in the form of clothing, makeup, electronics, food, or whatever it is that makes you happy. Just keep it within reason!
Sources: huffingtonpost.com and onlinelibrary.wiley.com