It is not uncommon to go shopping or browse the internet when we feel sad or depressed about something.  Sometimes known as retail therapy.  Shopping with the sole purpose of cheering one self up.  Some people tend to think this is a negative thing.  Though some studies are showing that people who shop every single day live longer.  This study was not linked to what people bought, but more that they got out and did something physically as well as was out in the community and socializing with other people. 

Shopping may actually be more positive for your health than you know.  Especially if done in moderation, without putting your finances in disarray.  Shopping can boost your brain power, lift mood, and burn calories if you are getting out of the house and walking.  Window shopping can even have positive benefits to your health.  If you have the self control to window shop it helps get you out and moving while walking, helps with weight loss, can be a stress reliever, and a mood enhancer.  


Health Benefits Of Shopping

Burns Calories

If you are walking at a large shopping mall where you are toting heavy bags and walking in between stores you can burn up to 400 calories during your shopping trip.  People who shop on a regular basis have been shown to have a decreased risk of cardiovascular diseases due to the walking that is involved with a shopping trip.  

Use Health Surgeon’s Calories Burned Calculator to discover how many calories you are burning doing over 100 different activities.

Works Your Brain

Shopping can also help sharpen your mental muscle.  Making a list can help your mental health.  Calculating a budget, checking clearance prices, and calculating actual cost of products all are using your brain while shopping.  This helps keep your mind more focused.  This kind of mental exercise for your brain can help prevent dementia by focusing your mental acuity.  Online shopping and scrolling can be done almost mindlessly.  This can give your brain a needed mental break if you are overworked, or overstressed about something. 

Relieves Stress

Relieving stress can also be a benefit of shopping.  If you go shopping with someone, a family member or best friend can help relieve your stress.  Even if you go shopping independently, shopping is considered a social activity because you are out of the house and interacting with other shoppers, or sales associates.  Being with other people can help your stress hormone, cortisol, lower.  Being out in society while strolling around looking through the stores can also help distract you from feeling stress or sadness.  Online shopping can be a distraction as well. 

Releases Dopamine

Shopping can be a huge mood lifter.  This does not limit just to the shopping experience.  Dopamine can be released even in the process of budgeting and saving up for something you have been wanting badly.  Even anticipating what you will find in the store can release dopamine.  Dopamine is the chemical released in the brain of the feeling of being rewarded.  It helps with behavior, cognition, mood, attention, and working memory.  When you shop online you can get a release of dopamine after buying something, when you are waiting for your package to arrive. 

When you find a good deal or a perfect thrift find then your body releases endorphins.  These are the feel good chemicals in your brain.  Endorphins help your body refocus your mind on body movements.  Shopping can give you an overall sense of achievement.  Whether that is buying something you have been saving for, or happening upon a sale item that is just too good to be true. 

Helps You Feel In Control

Buying one thing gives you the feeling 40 times more of feeling in control of your surroundings than someone who doesn’t shop at all.  Shopping can give you a sense of control over your life.  Shopping forces you to make decisions.  It can also help lessen anxiety.  This is especially true in people who are planning on what to buy for registries or big purchases.  


Warnings:  Out of Control Shopping

Retail therapy and shopping can become a problem.  There are some warning signs to look out for if your retail shopping is doing more harm than good for your health.  If your shopping is causing you money problems you  may need to evaluate your spending.  Creating yourself a budget for your retail therapy, and learning to stick with it can be helpful.  Some people find that swiping their card or paying with an online app doesn’t feel like spending real money.  Switch to cash.  Many people have a harder time handing over a twenty dollar bill than swiping their card.  

Addiction can happen with shopping as well.  It may be funny to deem yourself as a Shopaholic because it seems like a silly term, but it can definitely affect some people.  5.8% of Americans have a shopping addiction or compulsion.  Shopping addictions may run in families that have anxiety, mood, or substance abuse disorders as well.  Difficulty resisting buying unneeded items, spending a lot of time or thinking and researching unneeded items, choosing to shop over everything else, having financial troubles due to uncontrolled shopping, or having trouble with your family or work because you are so preoccupied with shopping and spending.  These are all signs that you may have a more serious shopping problem. 

If you feel like you are going down the path of becoming a shopaholic now is the time to lay down some boundaries.  Set a budget and track your spending.  This can be done on your phone, computer, or a piece of paper.  Whatever is best for you to visually see how much you are spending and how much you have left to spend.  If swiping your credit card makes you feel like you don’t have to stick with a budget, switch to cash to keep you more reliable.  Once the cash is all gone then you are done shopping till your next budget period. 

Shop wisely, only buy what you need, don’t waste your time and money on unneeded items.  Try window shopping to get the same mood boost.  Don’t buy anything and see if you still get the relaxing, exercise, and enjoyment from window shopping.  If you are bored, don’t go shopping.  Shopping cannot be what you turn to when you are bored.  And learn other ways to boost your mood and find joy.  This can be a new hobby that doesn’t spend money, or doing something outside.  


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