We’re going to give you a scenario here, let’s say it’s been the Mondayest Wednesday at your job, probably ever. As the day drags on you’re trying to come up with ideas of things that will help take the edge off. Mozzarella sticks sound good, especially paired with wine, but what really sounds nice is a little stop at Target on your way home. As you’re finally leaving work behind, now nothing exists but Target and you, and you can hardly get there fast enough. Of course, the closest parking spot is a mile away, but once you step inside the store and you get the faintest whiff of Starbucks and caramel popcorn, all of the day’s stresses seem to melt away. You spend the next hour looking at clothes and shoes, reading the backs of books, scoping out home decor, and of course, sniffing candles. You leave after having bought a bottle of wine, a family-size bag of brownie brittle, and a new floral body wash. Life is good again and you can face tomorrow with a newfound sense of optimism. This, ladies and gentlemen, is called retail therapy and today we’ll be discussing how this works.
(image via: hotels)
Shopping Stimulates the Senses, in the Best Way
Whether it’s Target or Amazon, things appear a certain way to us when we’re shopping regardless of whether we’re in a brick-and-mortar store or simply shopping online. Shopping for shoes, clothing, or home decor forces us to visualize how we’ll wear or use said pieces, and if we’re thinking about that, then we’re not thinking about what was stressing us out just ten seconds ago.
Release the Dopamine
We don’t even have to buy something for the dopamine to be released; we can in fact just anticipate buying something and we’re already feeling good. A prime example? Think about all of those times you filled an online shopping cart just to close your window and not follow through with a purchase. That, friends, was dopamine doing its thing. And while we’re on the topic of online shopping and dopamine, another way this happy hormone goes radiates through your body? Waiting for a package to arrive, especially those subscription boxes where we kinda, sorta know what to expect, but not exactly. Think about it.
We’re Back in Control
In the above scenario, we’re talking about a stressful day at work, we’ve probably all had them, and it’s not unusual for us to feel like we’ve lost control of our day, hence the added stress. But shopping? Well, shopping and making shopping decisions puts us back in control, kind of realigning everything.