Retail Therapy…

While the notion of retail therapy has never been an exact science, it turns out that research into shopping has uncovered the news that so many people have known for years.  Studies carried out by a team of researchers from the University of Michigan indicates that people are happier, less sad and feel they have a greater control of their life when they are shopping as opposed to browsing.

The study focused on three separate experiments to find out how people felt with respect to feeling in control and their emotions. It was found that shopping was more effective by a rate of 40 times in helping people to feel as though they are in control of a situation. The same research indicated that people felt three times less sad when they shopped as opposed to when they were merely browsing.

The findings of this research indicates that “retail therapy” should be taken a lot more seriously and that it could play a part in helping to feel less sad. Shoppers are found to be happier when they think about purchases that they have recently made with many of the respondents saying they are less likely to feel sad when they shop compared to how they feel before they leave to go on a shopping spree.

Up until recently, there had been no clarification or further study into whether the act of shopping was the factor for people feeling happy or it was related to the passing pf the time and the distraction from what made a person feel sad in the first place. The new study suggests that it is the shopping element, with the weighing up of options and making a decision over what to buy or not buy that has been the important factor in making a person feel happier about their buying decision.

Many people turn to shopping to feel better

Shopping has long been regarded as a way for people to take control and limit the impact of stress in their life.  It has sat alongside over-eating and drinking alcohol as a means of escape.  When questioned, the study group would, at a rate of two to one, associate the term “retail therapy” with a negative word or connotation as opposed to a positive one. This was from a group made up of men and women, so there was a broad spectrum of people responding in this manner.

In one study, women and men were split into browsers and choosers before being shown a range of products and were then asked to pick out four items. The studies showed that the people choosing believed that they were 79% in control as opposed to the browsers who stated that they only felt 2% in control. The browsers were also three times sadder than the people who were choosing.

In another experiment, men and women were divided into choosers and browsers before looking at 12 products, from slippers to headphones, and asked to select four. Results show that 79 per cent felt more in control while choosing, compared with 2 per cent of browsers. Choosers were also three times less sad.

This could be all the encouragement some folk need to hit the shops!

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