Monday, October 8, 2012

From A Low To High

Would you guys believe I've had this piece ready to go for weeks? When I post, I like to include some sort of cute, relevant, or awesome image. Nothing I worked on really made me smile though so I threw together that thing on top. Now we can all pretend to be totally amazed at my artistic talent and meaningful insight to the topic. :D

Did you guys hear about the investigation into retail therapy done by Selin Atalay and Margaret Meloy? With the help of three different studies* they concluded that "retail therapy generally works, that people deploy the practice strategically, rather than impulsively, and that there are few if any negative emotional side-effects."

Personally, I aim for a minimalist approach to my closet. I'm limited on space and can catch myself up in buyer's remorse if I purchase something I don't absolutely love. However, I love fashion. And I love shopping. It's a tricky mix for me to balance.

If I find myself bringing in new items I automatically make myself take a look at my wardrobe and get rid of anything I've held onto for too long. If I haven't worn something for a long time (more than 6 months to a year) and it's in good condition, it's usually in the charity bag. If something's not in good condition I set it to the side and see just how much I come up with. I only need so many "painting" clothes or scrubby stuff to wear for DIY projects.

I have definitely noticed a lift in my mood after buying something new. I will even say:

 "Hi, my name is Rachel and shopping is my happy drug." 

How about you? Do you notice a shopping "high" when you're feeling low? 

*Atalay, A., and Meloy, M. (2011). Retail therapy: A strategic effort to improve mood. Psychology and Marketing, 28 (6), 638-659 DOI:10.1002/mar.20404


  1. I definitely do, Rachel. It's weird because I also have limited space and budget, so I try to be very thoughtful about what I buy. Sometimes when I'm down and know I need some retail therapy, I opt to by necessities instead, like bread or whatnot, and it works just the same!

    Thanks so much for your sweet comment. I seriously was very frustrated and now I'm feeling very freeeee! :)

  2. I'm interested by the study - I've learnt to shop in a manner that brings more pleasure than guilt, but it was a learnt behaviour and if my mind's in the wrong place, I'm not so good at it and will spend money I don't have on things I don't want, let alone need. This actually happens more when I'm in an up mood already, though, and anecdotally I understand that impulse buying when hypomanic is common.

  3. Was thinking about this today - mood fell very low and am fighting my way out of it. Husbit thought a shopping trip in So'ton might help, but I couldn't find anything I liked and that actually made me feel worse. I wonder if that is a common feeling?

  4. I don't know if it's a common feeling but I've certainly had it happen to me. I can usually tell when a low mood is coming my way. I start having trouble sleeping at night. I notice I'm sort of dreading the coming day, the responsibilities I'll have to take care of weigh on me and I end up not being able to shut my brain down. By morning, I'm not the happiest camper in the bunch. Like you, that started for me yesterday and this morning I was excited about the prospect of going into Bournemouth. So many shopping opportunities were going to be at hand. I had legitimate things I needed to find. They weren't even for myself. It didn't matter. I was super excited. I went to store after store, looking for what I needed and had no luck. After 4 hours or so I was totally deflated and feel much lower than before I started. If I were to use my totally arm-chair, non-scientific, non-formally educated skills with psychology, I would have to hazard the guess that our brains anticipate a serotonin release from our intended purchases and some relief from our low feelings. When the serotonin release doesn't happen, it's probably a bit like a junky not getting their much needed fix. But that's totally a guess on my part and by no means any kind of official psych knowledge there. Good luck to us both Fern. Big hugs.

  5. That would make sense though - like I often feel worse in the summer cos people tell me I'll feel better cos if the sunshine, but I'm not particularly strongly effected by the weather (apart from thunderstorms, which can fix me right up) so I expect to feel better than I do, and that leaves me feeling even worse, I think.