Yesterday, while sitting in the waiting room at the doctor’s, I picked up the latest edition of Ladies’ Home Journal. Within the pages of all the gorgeous, perfect bodies of all the models, I came across an article about “retail therapy”.
Ahh, music to my ears! I love shopping! I love walking into the store and smelling the scent of something new. I love the sound of the register printing the receipt. I love ‘handling with care’ the handbags and cooing over the new Spring line of shoes. Just saying the name Nordstrom’s makes the endorphins in my body get all excited and start scrambling to figure out how we can pull off a quick shopping trip in between appointments.
The article goes on to say that our desire to shop compulsively is because we’re missing something in our lives. That some women project hopes and fantasies into the items that they buy. That some women actually feel that a certain pair of shoes would change their life for the better. (Okay, I’m not that bad, but a cute pair of Christian Louboutin’s do make me feel taller!) While some woman do go to the extreme, even the noncompulsive shoppers hear the same message. Haven’t we all bought something just because we were unhappy, stressed, or bored?
“Dr. Brian Knutson, a Stanford Neuroscientist, did an MRI study of shoppers’ brains and discovered that seeing something they wanted to buy — a fabulous pair of boots, say — increased activity in areas rich in dopamine, a brain chemical associated with reward. Dopamine is sensitive to novelty and spikes when we’re confronted with something new that looks enjoyable. Fortunately, the brain is also equipped with the insula, dopamine’s cranky, buzz-killing aunt. It gets activated when we anticipate pain, so price those boots uncomfortably high and the insula will arm-wrestle with the dopamine, pitting the pain of paying against the pleasure of acquiring.”
In a reader poll, done by Ladies’ Home Journal, the results were eye opening!
When asked “How does shopping make you feel?” 82% of women said happy, while 5% said overwhelmed, 6% said dreadful, and 7% said exhilarated.
When asked “Do you shop for fun?” 89% of women said yes, while 11% said no.
When asked “Has the troubled economy changed the way you shop?” 55% said “I think more thoroughly about each purchase”, while 21% said “I’ve cut out nonessentials”, 17% said “I have the same habits as always”, and 7% said “I’ve stopped using credit cards to avoid debt”.
I find the poll results very interesting. While I’m a recovering shopping addict, moving to the rural country didn’t stop my compulsion. Yes, I cannot just jump in the car and drive to a local mall because there aren’t any, however the UPS guy and I are now on first-name basis, thanks to buying online.
For me, I’m trying to increase my insula and decrease my dopamine with a system called The Budget. Just saying that word “budget” makes me want to put a quarter in the swear word jar! Regardless of how I feel about abstaining from shopping, I do enjoy the increase in my vacation savings account.
So let me ask you, “Why is shopping so much fun?” Please share your comments below…I’d love to hear from you!
Until next time, wear your heels well and be blessed!