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Just a thought.. Does shopping as a therapy help with depression?

Does shopping as a therapy help with depression? Studies say yes!

Whilst I was shopping in the mall this weekend, I heard two women conversing in the trial room about how one of them was feeling so much better emotionally, just by being around clothes and bags. She went on to joke about how it’s cheaper visiting her psychologist. Guilty for eavesdropping, but I couldn’t help but wonder if shopping for therapy actually exist! Does retail therapy really work?

A research study conducted by Journal of Epidemiology and community health concluded that regular shopping is connected to longer life spans. Elders who shopped regularly had 27% less risk of death than less frequent shoppers. In another study conducted by University of Michigan, it was inferred that shopping restored a sense of control in people to counter feelings of sadness. In fact, shopping was up to 40 times more effective at empowering people with decision making and taking control.

The science behind this is that, shopping mirrors the state of vacation in our minds. It’s a relatively mindless,

relaxing activity just like a holiday. It is a mini vacation for some people, without the hustle of packing and travelling. It gives them a much need break out of the situation. The colors, creativity of the designers and aesthetics of the place is known to increase dopamine hormone or commonly known as the happy hormone.

So enjoy those shopping moments to decrease depression and stress levels (whilst being in control of your credit cards and budgets of course). However, it is worthy to note that this is not a permanent solution. Although most studies stated that shopping does make one feel better, they also concluded that the happy feeling doesn’t last very long. The therapeutic effects of visiting a counsellor and accomplishing your personal goals fares far better than retail therapy

Authors Bio


Dr. Divya Madhusudhan is the founder of ‘Hear Your Mind’, an organisation that aims to initiate conversations around mental health. She is a recipient of the prestigious Commonwealth Award and Entrepreneurship for Good Fellow. Having worked in an array of health sectors, she draws in on her wide professional and personal experience. You can connect with Divya via Twitter

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