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In the chaotic and out of control world that is 2020, retail therapy is on the rise. For many, it has become coping skill number one.

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Retail therapy has long been a part of our lives and for many, their mental health management. When we buy something we want or like, it makes us happy. It releases dopamine into our brains as a “reward” for buying what we want.

Online shopping makes it even easier to fulfill our retail therapy needs. Each time we click add to cart and then complete our purchase, the dopamine is released and we feel happy. Be it ever so briefly.

The things that we buy are not really important. It can be anything from candy to Chanel and beyond. Just as long as we are getting that dopamine reward, we feel happy. Sometimes momentarily and other times for longer, but it can bring us out of sad, angry, or anxious states for a brief period of time.

Retail therapy done in moderation is not generally harmful unless you do not have the money to spend. Rewarding yourself once in a while with something you want can be a form of self-care if moderated well.

Without moderation, retail therapy can result in overspending, which can result in issues paying your bills, buying food, or having a place to live. A few minutes on Amazon can result in hundreds or thousands of dollars spent all in an attempt to make ourselves feel better momentarily.

There is also the inevitable crash after realizing how much we have bought and perhaps not having the money to cover it all. We are living on a rollercoaster of dopamine release and guilt.

Retail therapy in current times is also about having something we can control. We can shop, we can decide to purchase, we can buy, we can take home and no one and no virus can stop us. For those brief moments, we are in control.

It is a dangerous combination, dopamine, and a sense of control in a chaotic and out of control world. Add to cart can quickly result in creating more problems for ourselves, not less.

Retail therapy in moderation can be a self-care reward. Retail therapy in abundance can be a lifestyle and mental health nightmare.

Choose your add to cart wisely.

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