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A Guilty Healing: Retail Therapy

Why do we get pleasure from doing something we are guilty of? 


Writing “A Blue to Not Feel Blue” made me think…

Can money really buy happiness? Why do some people shop to make them feel happy? How come spending money to buy things becomes an option to relieve stress?

shopping for retail therapy is a guilty pleasure help you relieve stress
How often do you shop? Shopping is a guilty pleasure for many of us

I haven’t heard retail therapy before until I read it in an article. That made me realize that I was unconsciously engaged in retail therapy.

Is retail therapy bad for us?

shopping for retail therapy is a guilty pleasure help you relieve stress
When you tend to usually go shopping when you feel stress, you are engaging in retail therapy

You shop when you feel down

Retail therapy is shopping with the primary purpose of improving the buyer’s mood or disposition. Often seen in people during periods of depression or stress, it is normally a short-lived habit. Items purchased during periods of retail therapy are sometimes referred to as “comfort buys” (compare comfort food). — Wikipedia

Is that’s sound familiar to you?

queen victoria building shopping center in sydney australia
Queen Victoria Building is a beautiful shopping place in Sydney Australia which is filled with high fashion brands stores

Guilty pleasure

Don’t we all have guilty pleasure? What is yours?

My guilty pleasure is buying shoes. It happened when I stopped getting money from my parents after I had a job.

Shopping valentino shoes in Barcelona
I’m not a shopaholic and always have many considerations when buying stuff especially the expensive ones

I used to work almost all days and even on the weekend if it’s necessary. It was difficult to have a social life, I couldn’t manage my time to go to a restaurant and eat my favorite food to feel good.

comfort food is a guilty pleasure help you relieve stress
I usually need comfort food to relieve stress before I was engaged in retail therapy

Do you look down when you feel down?

Dressing well was kind of a dress code in my old office and it became my excuse to buy beautiful shoes. Shoes lift me up when I feel down. When I worked on a computer for a whole day, looked down on my feet and saw beautiful shoes I wore, it actually helped to cheer me up.

shopping for retail therapy is a guilty pleasure that help you relieve stress and i usually shop smart casual office outfit when i'm still working in a consultant company
Dressing up became a motivation for me to go to work. I felt great when wearing beautiful and comfortable shoes.

Why shoes?

My Mom said that you can tell a person a little bit more detail by looking at their shoes. Trust me, I have so many reasons why I want to spend more money on shoes. When I’m in the mood, I probably will write an article about it.

salvatore ferragamo black varina flat on the green grass. Shopping for retail therapy is a guilty pleasure help you relieve stress
When I feel down, I look down and beautiful shoes cheer me up

One of the reasons is that shoes help me in dealing with my lack of confidence. In some cases, wearing statement shoes can help to distract people from looking at your body or face.

Aminah Abdul Jillil Bow Pumps Blue Suede paired with yellow Kate Spade go fly a kite mini luggage
We all have our own guilty pleasure. Mine is definitely collecting shoes
Photo by: Gleev Arthur @ Mimiti Coffee and Space

When small repetitive stuff becomes a habit

“Okay, this is only for one time!” Then you keep doing it several times and end up doing it as a habit. Did it ever happen to you?

I thought my habit on buying shoes would stop. Even after I quit my job, I still bought shoes when I felt down and it actually became a habit. Gladly, I never owe a debt to be able to buy things because I know some people do that, which is really dangerous.

shopping for retail therapy is a guilty pleasure help you relieve stress but made me have too many shoes collection
I couldn’t stop browsing beautiful shoes and want to buy all of the shoes I saw

Relieve stress, create problems

When you find happiness from shopping when you feel stressed, be careful. You might do it again and again and end up doing shopping as a habit and as an excuse because you feel stress.

If you start shopping more than you can afford, then it’s bad. It will create new problems and other stress. So I do not really encourage people who don’t have good control to do retail therapy.

Aminah Abdul Jillil Bow Pumps Blue Suede
I love shoes and collect them. I began to realize that retail therapy becomes a bad habit when I saw how many shoes I have even though I didn’t really regret my decision

If you’ve already addicted to retail therapy, you can switch buying stuff for others as gifts or even charity. Keep the list of the things you need to buy and be strict with it. That’s actually worked for me.

I Wear My Mood Pinterest Profile
My favorite social network to collect or pin my wish list is Pinterest. It’s easy to use and you can find so many inspirations from other’s profile

It’s bad when it can’t turn into something good

There’s another way to stop doing retail therapy and get benefit from it.

As a freelancer, I didn’t have a steady income so I couldn’t buy shoes whenever I want… like how I used to. At first, it kind of frustrates me because buying shoes had become my coping mechanism in dealing with stress. Until I find another way to deal with my retail therapy habit.

shopping for retail therapy is a guilty pleasure help you relieve stress but made me have too many shoes collection
Decluttering my stuff helped me realize that I got too many shoes I bought because of doing retail therapy

Turning outcome into income

I’m lucky to have a friend who has an online shop and I started to help her selling designers bags and shoes. My habit of browsing shoes and bags before buying them has helped me to earn money.

shopping for retail therapy is a guilty pleasure help you relieve stress but made me have too many shoes collection
I turn my shopping fashion items habit into selling fashion items

Selling requires effort and consistency, if you are not interested in that, you can help to deal with your retail therapy addiction by buying stuff which is useful for other people as gifts or charity.

turn shopping or retail therapy habit into buying useful gifts for other people
You can turn your shopping habit into buying gifts for people but limit yourself to only buy useful stuff. You don’t want to give things that will end up in a storage or trash can

It will never end when you don’t stop

We all have our own guilty pleasure. Retail therapy works, but only when we can have good control, which is not easy. Be careful to do it too much, you don’t want to be addicted to it.

shopping for retail therapy is a guilty pleasure help you relieve stress
It’s normal to spend money especially when you’ve worked really hard to earn it, but be careful of doing it too much

Maybe guilt reminds us that… we secretly enjoy getting hurt



Related Story

I had doubt purchasing my dream shoes—Aminah Abdul Jillil bow pumps—when I read its reviews. I still end up buying it but. Do I regret it?


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2 Comments on "A Guilty Healing: Retail Therapy"

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Irena Faisal
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Agreed, retail therapy is one of my stress healer. But my guilty pleasure is buying skincare hehehe

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