Forget Prozac, mantras and gratitude journals, it seems the key to happiness lies within the walls of your local shopping centre.
Scientists have confirmed what we’ve suspected all along, retail therapy has real benefits.
And by real benefits, I don’t just mean a closet full of fabulous shoes.
Professors at the University of Michigan have found that shopping can actually make you happy.
In their study The Benefits of Retail Therapy: Making Purchase Decisions Reduces Residual Sadness
in the Journal of Consumer Psychology, researchers identified that many of us shop when we’re sad (well, duh) and determined that we feel less sad if we have an element of control in our lives. Even if that element of control means picking out a cute dress, and handing over the cash for it.
Hey, who are we to argue with Science?
“Retail therapy – shopping that is motivated by distress – is often said to be ineffective, wasteful and a dark side of consumer behaviour, but we propose that retail therapy has been viewed too negatively, and that shopping may be an effective way to minimise sadness,” researchers said.
Um, researchers? If you could take it one step further and help us find out a way indulge in retail therapy without the mounting credit card debt I think we could actually be onto something. I think we may even stumble on the real key to happiness.
The study’s experiments split subjects into shoppers (choosers) and window-shoppers (browsers) who were each shown 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. The choosers were also three times less sad.