It’s over. You dumped him or he dumped you, your beloved pet is never coming back and screw it, you didn’t want that job anyway. For those sufferers of a no good, very bad day who self medicate with a little shopping trip, take heart: a slew of new research suggests retail therapy could actually improve your mood, even as it drains your wallet.
We’ve all heard it, said it or done it — something bad happens and hello, it’s time for some retail therapy. As opposed to actual therapy with a professional listening to your woes, retail therapy is as easy as shopping online or hitting the stores to buy things you maybe don’t need but definitely want in that moment.
NBCNews cites a recent report from thee University of Michigan focusing on the idea of retail therapy. Participants in the first study watched a sad video clip and then were given money to buy a snack afterward. Those who got money were less sad later than those who didn’t get to buy a snack.
During the next study, people watched a bummer clip and then were told to go to a shopping site to either shop for useful items or choose other things to buy. The participants who had a choice in what to buy scored lower sadness scores after shopping. Those who decided not to buy anything didn’t have reduced levels of residual sadness.
“The sadness-reducing benefits of choosing to buy cannot be explained by the distraction afforded by buying, the pleasure associated with obtaining a new good, or the possibility that people who choose to buy are fundamentally different than people who choose not to buy,” the Michigan study found. “Instead, the benefits of choosing to buy were driven by increased feelings of control.”
The authors of the study added that retail therapy has earned a bad name, and that it may in fact, be a good way to minimize leftover feelings of sadness. Now pardon me, I’m no longer on vacation and as such need to buy a new outfit.