Should You Partake in Retail Therapy?

Retail therapy is a term I have heard on TV, in movies, in books, on social media, and my friends throw it around as well. According to, retail therapy is the action of shopping for clothes, etc., in order to cheer oneself up. I am guilty of partaking in this activity. Shopping has always been one of my favorite pastimes and I am not ashamed to say that it brings me great joy. When I am having a particularly bad week, I like to treat myself to something new. Something about walking through various stores, trying on clothes, and getting something new really lifts my mood.

I decided to see if this was something that actually helped other people too. My sister lives by retail therapy – she says that it is her way of getting out of a slump. I asked her why it makes her so happy, and she said, “It’s because I like getting new things, and what makes it better is that I get to pick it out. It makes me happy to be in control of my own happiness.”

Credit: Kevin Whipple / © Culture Trip

A lot of the time when we have bad days it is because things out of our control have negatively impacted how our life is going. Shopping gives you a feeling of control because you pick out what you’re going to buy, the stores you go to, how much you want to spend, and so on. The act of feeling in control helps a lot of people feel better when their life is in chaos.

I asked my best friend Brendan what he thought about retail therapy, and he said, “It makes me temporarily happy, but in the end doesn’t have a tremendous impact.” There are many arguments against retail therapy, and a major one is that it gives you only a short, fleeting sense of happiness. Another argument against it is that people might not have the budget to go shopping but do it because they think it will make them happy. In the end, it may create more problems instead of solving the ones you already had.

Credit: Christian Bortes / EYEEM / Getty Images

I am not saying retail therapy is good or bad, but that it has its pros and cons. If you don’t think that retail therapy is the right fit for you, there are other activities that you can do. I enjoy listening to music when I am having a bad day or going on a walk. I also enjoy going to the gym – something about a good workout makes me feel a lot better on a hard day. Some people seek the company or family and friends to feel supported. Others take the classic route and sit in their room and have a good cry. Whatever it is, try to find an activity that makes the bad days not feel so hard.


Want to keep up with HCBU? Make sure to like us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram, check out our Pinterest board, and read our latest Tweets!