Photo credits: Micheile Visual Stories via Unsplash
A pair of red bottoms is the perfect replacement for a therapist. Money can buy happiness if saving money starts now. Many live by the motto, “money can’t buy happiness,” to convince themselves that materialistic items do not equal fulfillment. This popular motto, however, is incorrect. Shopping is essential to human happiness, made possible by saving money. Whether it is for groceries or a new designer bag, shopping is crucial for satisfaction. Through savings, when the need comes for retail therapy, one can comfortably shop without the guilt of being unstable in terms of finance.
Shopping is one of the most effective stress relievers: it acts as a distraction from the difficulties that individuals could be experiencing in life. Dr. Scott Bea, a clinical psychologist, explains that the smell of something new, the bright lights and the colorful displays combine to create an imaginative sensory experience that can remove us from our own reality. By putting energy into something other than life’s anxieties, one’s focus will be diverted to a more pleasant activity. Shopping also relieves stress by adding a sense of control. Life is full of uncontrollable things, forcing individuals to find control in the smallest of things. According to a 2014 University of Michigan study, shopping for things you enjoy is up to 40 times more effective in providing a sense of control than not shopping.
Not only does shopping act as a stress reliever, but it also lifts one’s mood. According to a study by Brunel University, shopping has effects on the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain responsible for pleasure. The study also found that dopamine, the “feel-good” hormone, was released when shopping. Dopamine is an important chemical in the brain that influences many things. This hormone regulates sleep, controls attention and memory, increases goal-oriented behavior, and stabilizes mood. Dopamine is even used to treat life-threatening health issues such as low blood pressure, poor cardiac output, poor blood flow to vital organs and septic shock. Low levels of this “feel-good” hormone have been linked to depression and reduced motivation. There are multiple links between shopping and the release of different hormones, making it a beneficial experience for the individual.
Shopping isn’t just good for your mental health; it also has a positive impact on an individual’s physical health. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 19.3% of American adults exercise daily. This information contributes to the ongoing problem of obesity in America. Between 2017 and 2018, 42.4% of American adults were considered obese. Believe it or not, shopping can help combat this. According to a study conducted by a popular department store in the UK, the average shopper lost up to 400 calories from a day of shopping. Through physical activities such as trying on clothes and walking around a shopping mall, shopping combats obesity, as exercise is important for weight control and management.
While shopping has many positive effects, constant shopping could lead to a shopping addiction. Signs of an addiction include financial difficulties due to shopping, difficulty resisting buying unneeded items, and problems at home or work due to out-of-control spending. To prevent a shopping addiction, do not buy more than can be afforded, and take a week to consider whether the item wanted is truly needed.
Start saving money now to shop your problems away. Try putting $20 into savings from each paycheck. Treating yourself is important. Shopping may require funds, but so does therapy. Why not use that money to buy something you like?
Madigan McGrath is a second-year Media and Culture student concentrating in Media Production, with minors in Spanish and Digital Marketing.