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Retail Therapy


If you feel a bit depressed or down-in-the-dumps, one of the things that you might do is to go shopping and buy a few things to help you to feel better. This is known as Retail Therapy, as it is a therapeutic tactic to cheer yourself up based on the idea of going to some retail outlets, ie shops. This is usually quite successful, as you have taken positive action yourself, and you have acquired some goods which are things you particularly want.

Retail Therapy isn't available on the NHS, but it is an effective private treatment for personal gloom. But isn't it expensive? Now this is where it gets onto the misconceptions page, because Retail Therapy need not be expensive! It all depends on what you buy.

Obviously the intention is to improve your state of mind, but curiously that doesn't require spending huge amounts of money. It's like this: If you're having a party, it tends to go with a swing if there is some alcohol, but the amount of fun is not proportional to the amount of actual ethanol consumed. Indeed, if it were excessive, it might be less fun, especially if something bad happened.

With the shopping, you don't need to squander huge amounts of cash just to feel better. The trick is to spend a relatively small amount, but to spend it well! If you choose things which you wouldn't usually buy, then this will be registered by that part of the subconscious as a reward stimulus. You could even go to a Pound Shop or a Charity Shop and spend a moderate amount on some odd things, and feel a lot better for it than if you spent lavishly at somewhere very snazzy and expensive.

Some people enjoy going fishing, but it's an art, and there wouldn't be anything like as much fun if they used a trawl net to vacuum up all the freshwater fish. Dynamite might gain a bigger catch, but it would not have as much therapeutic value as the solace of a riverside perch, and a maggot being ritualistically dangled in order to lure a likely aquatic dwelling beastie from the depths. Effectively, the rules of the hunt makes it a sport, not a harvest. Applying the same idea to shopping, as retail therapy, you can define a set budget up-front, and then go and see how much interesting stuff you can get for only that figure in total. This adds an element of skill to the chase, and makes a much better story after the fact.

In the credit crunch, the shops are probably more hard-up than you are, so it's still a fair game. As I am an affiliate myself, obviously I'm going to give you the opportunity to visit a few shops at my site, but as surely as I believe in Responsible Gambling, I also believe in Responsible Shopping, so I say: Don't spend more than you can afford! Define your own Retail Therapy budget in advance, and stick to it.

I have found charity shops are especially good, as you can often find treasure, and without it being expensive!