I have to admit that I have experienced a certain sense of happiness after going shopping. The last time it happened was when my girlfriend and me decided to take one afternoon off our hectic work schedule to go to out outlet mall. For those few hours, we laughed, engaged in girl-talk, and of course, we tried on a lot of clothes. It was so fun because it’s not something that we both normally do.
When I came home, I noticed that as I unpacked, I had a certain sense of fulfillment. The colours of the clothing items I purchased made me smile. The fact that we were shopping at an outlet mall and managed to get amazing deals, made me smile even more.
It made me wonder if there was any evidence to show that shopping brings about a feeling of delight. My research proved that it did.
Although it’s true that the evidence points in both directions, meaning that too much shopping can be a sign of depression, I found some interesting facts. In a paper entitled “The Benefits for Retail Therapy: Making Purchase Decisions Reduces Residual Sadness” in the Journal of Consumer Psychology, professors from the University of Michigan explain that shopping can actually reduce sadness.
Sadness is strongly associated with a sense of not being in control. Thus, shopping, by restoring control over one’s personal situation can reduce sadness and actually make us feel happy.
In the study’s experiment, two groups of shoppers were formed: the “browsers” and the “choosers”. The result was that 79 percent of the choosers felt more in control while choosing, compared with 2 percent of the “browsers.” The “choosers” were also three times less sad.
This does not include the type of shopping that occurs on the week before Christmas, where everyone is running around frantically in a mall. That’s totally stressful. This is the type of shopping where one chooses where and when to go and has a fantastic time.
So, when you’re feeling a bit down, and if you can afford it, maybe change up your routine by shopping for some fun fashion clothing, home decor, or whatever you fancy! Wishing you delight in whatever you do.
Renia Pruchnicki lives in Toronto, Canada and is a vegan fashion designer. In 2001 she started a company called Truth, which is a line of vegan belts made in Canada. She has a passion for sustainability, healthy living and fashion. She loves to express her creativity wherever she can.