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CHRISTCHURCH MAIL, JUNE 20, 2013
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Soul soothing: They don't call it retail therapy for
nothing. Shopping can actually make you happy,
studies have found.
In small, manageable doses it can
soothe the soul. Shopping isn't a
problem when it's done in
moderation, just like moderate use
-- Peggy Wynne,
San Francisco therapist
Treating yourself to some retail therapy apparently
has a lasting positive impact on mood and leaves few
if any negative emotional side-effects, say United
Researchers conducted hundreds of interviews at
shopping centres, and also asked shoppers to keep
diaries of their buying habits, moods and any
purchases they regretted.
A total of 62 per cent said they had bought
something to cheer themselves up, while 28 per cent
said they had indulged as a form of celebration.
Those who said they were in a bad mood on their
way in to a shop were more likely to impulse buy.
The study, published in the Journal of Psychology
and Marketing, in the US, concluded: ''Retail therapy
purchases were overwhelmingly beneficial, leading to
mood boosts and no regrets or guilt''.
The study did sound a cautionary note, saying that
findings should be interpreted with care because the
survey was self-selecting, because participants in a
good mood were more likely to respond. Only one of
those interviewed regretted splurging.
Renowned San Francisco therapist Peggy Wynne,
who is known to personally appreciate the mood-
boosting quality of a great pair of shoes, says that we
all enjoy a little retail therapy now and then.
''In small, manageable doses it can soothe the soul.
Shopping isn't a problem when it's done in
moderation, just like moderate use of alcohol.''
Of course, it's possible to overdo consumption, in
terms of drinking or shopping, or any number of
other things for that matter. Shopping can be a rich
source of mental preparation.
As people shop, they're naturally visualising how
they'll use the products being considered, and in
doing so they're also visualising their new life.
And as many great athletes will attest, visualisation
is a performance booster and an anxiety reducer.
It's no wonder, then, that two of the most
shopping-intensive times of our lives are also two of
life's greatest transitions: marriage and having a baby.
We go shopping, and visualise the future, as a
means of preparation for these big transitions. These
activities help people feel more in control and less
anxious about the unknowns lying ahead.
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