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Is Shopping A Recreation Activity?

May 25, 2008
The phrase 'retail therapy' is used as a joke to refer to the alleged psychological well being generated through shopping. In fact, the allegation is entirely valid, and it has been demonstrated that shopping does have a positive impact on the state of mind. Often this is as a direct result of the feeling of increased self worth. By buying ourselves treats or extra gifts, new clothes or just food, we are 'rewarding' ourselves, and this reward makes us naturally feel better about ourselves.

Of course, it isn't necessarily the case that all shopping makes us feel this way. Having to go and buy a loaf of bread and ending up standing at the checkout queue for ten minutes is unlikely to make us feel very positive about ourselves, or about anything else. However, having cash or a card in our pocket, an hour or two to spare and a high street worth of shops is undoubtedly going to result in us feeling that we are in need of a treat, and providing ourselves with a reward of some kind, and this will lead to a more positive state of mind.

The problem is that this retail therapy can start to become a need, something that we become dependent on. Just as cigarettes release chemicals in our brain that fool us into feeling good, shopping can release naturally occurring chemicals in our brain that make us feel good about ourselves, and we can soon become addicted to these in a very similar way.

The result is that whenever we feel down about ourselves, either because we're bored, something has happened to us, we've had a bad day at work, or just because it is Monday, we feel that the only way of getting some kind of instant satisfaction that will lift our spirit and make our self feel better again is to hit the shops and spend lots more money we don't have on things we don't need, don't want and probably won't wear.

Certainly there is nothing wrong with spoiling ourselves occasionally, and we certainly all do need treats. The thing is, that treats don't become treats once they start becoming the norm. Treats that occur as frequently as any other aspect of our life become a part of our expected life and are something we quickly learn to expect, and need, and can't do without.

This can often result in causing severe harm financially, and we can become so deeply in debt that the depression and ill feeling becomes more and more intense, and the only way out is to shop some more. The downward spiral becomes quicker and quicker and the problem becomes bigger until there is almost no way out.

Like any habit it can be hard to spot, and even harder to give up once you realize you have a habit at all. Fortunately there are plenty of agencies and organizations that realize this problem, and are there to help people who have arrived in that position. Naturally, it is only by tackling the cause of the problem that a solution can be found, but the question must also be asked - to what extent are retailers either to blame for this trend, or responsible for the support, counseling and help needed to those in trouble?
About the Author
Victor Epand is an expert consultant about luggage, cruises, hotels, and shopping. You will find the best marketplace for luggage, cruises, hotels, and shopping at these sites for bags, luggage, hotels, cruise, and shopping, retail therapy.
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