Are you a victim of Retail Therapy?

This post was written by Ashley Berges

Are you a victim of Retail Therapy?How much therapy do you buy?

How much therapy do you buy? 

When we experience tough emotional times in our lives, people deal with these emotions in completely different ways.  Some people compartmentalize their issues, others go into a deep depression, some turn to alcohol to numb the hurt feelings, others take it out on everyone around them, and some choose retail therapy as a way to heal the hurt and fill the emotional void.


Retail therapy is the practice of shopping to improve one’s mood or emotional disposition and is commonly seen during periods of depression or transition.  For the most part, we have all been victims to retail therapy with mixed results.  Some people experience a high that seems to get them out of their funk and renders them some adrenaline and hope.  However, this feeling usually doesn’t last long, and usually ends prior to getting the item home.


How much therapy do you buy?  Credit card debt is a by-product of retail therapy.  Because the void is not filled with retail therapy, more and more buying must take place with very certain outcomes.  Either the person realizes this type of therapy is not helping/working and puts an end to the cycle because of their realization.  Or, the person doesn’t completely realize they are practicing retail therapy.  Because many don’t realize they are buying to fill an emotional void, they may continue doing it for a greater length of time.  This situation can cause more problems and eventually causes the individual to go into debt or bankruptcy.  This state of mind causes more emotional problems and can lead to acute depression.



How to identify if you are participating in retail therapy:How much therapy do you buy?


  1. The shopping trip wasn’t planned
  2. You have no specific items to purchase
  3. You buy items in which you have little or no use for
  4. You buy items (completely) out of your price range
  5. Generally after purchasing you have buyer’s remorse
  6. With regards to shoes, you may bring them home, look at them, and put them back in the box in fear of wearing them
  7. These items are completely different than what you would usually choose
  8. You allow sales people to talk you into items you would never buy
  9. You buy more of an item than needed, instead of 1 you buy 2 or 3
  10. 10.   You hide the purchases from members of your household
  11. 11.   You feel ashamed for the purchases and eventually feel more of a void than you did prior to the purchase.
  12. 12.   You don’t use or wear the item but you aren’t ready to take it back to the store for a refund either.
  13. During holidays you partake more often than other times (holidays are more stressful on most people)

14. You see a pattern, after every relationship breakup or fight with your partner/spouse you find yourself shopping.

How much therapy do you buy?

How to REVERSE retail therapy after it has taken place:


  1. If you haven’t used or worn the item, take it back to the store and get a refund.  Do not worry what the sales person will think of you, it doesn’t matter!
  2. If you have already used the item, understand you can’t return it and accept the fact you bought this and use this item as a daily reminder to check yourself before you buy.
  3. If the item bothers you and you can’t return it, give it to someone who needs it.  Giving something like this to charity and or a needy person/friend can go far to restore your self-respect and remove guilt.  When we give to an individual who needs our help, we move into another feeling and thought process immediately.  It is virtually impossible to feel sorry for yourself when you are helping someone in need.


How much therapy do you buy?

How to NOT give into retail therapy:


  1. Go a different route.  Instead of buying items when you are feeling the need to supplicate something in your life choose to help others.  You can help others by volunteering for an organization and helping in various capacities.  When you help others, you use another part of your brain and you think about others instead of thinking about your current problems/issues.
  2. Go workout.  Working out helps you to get your mind off the issues at hand.  In the beginning, the workout may feel like work and difficult to get into it, that’s normal…stick with it.  Doing cardiovascular activities like: treadmill, elliptical, stationary bike, outdoors biking, running, etc.  These types of cardiovascular work will raise your spirits.  After a certain amount of time, determined by your body, you will have a surge of endorphins that brings mental peace and a healthy level of euphoria.  Besides the endorphins, you are doing something healthy and constructive for yourself.  You are making yourself stronger in more ways than one and it does not come at a high price tag at the mall.
  3. Go spend time with friends.  Instead of buying items to feel better, surround yourself with your real and true friends.  When we surround ourselves with our true friends, we are at peace and we aren’t trying to be something or someone we are not.  You can also talk to your friends about what is going on in your life.  If you are feeling the need to spend, let your friends know, and let them help to hold you accountable.


How much therapy do you buy?

You can do this!  Removing retail therapy from your life will create more personal freedom and peace in your life.

IF you have questions or comments, you can comment on this site and I will read/answer them.  Or you can email me with the email provided on this site.


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