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Wellness > Mental Health

Retail therapy: No worries!

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Toronto chapter.
A guide to healthy retail therapy.

Retail Therapy:

Edited by Megan Cambruzzi

Do you hit the mall or online websites when you are feeling down? Do you feel instant happiness after buying a new clothing item that you have been wanting? Well, let me tell you, you are not alone!

The phenomenon, known as retail therapy has been a hot topic in recent years. Retail therapy entails the use of shopping or purchasing goods for therapeutic or healing purposes. The concept of shopping as a therapeutic practice has been up for debate for quite some time. But it shouldn’t surprise you when I tell you that spending money can buy happiness if done right.

Why Do you feel Good when you shop?

There are multiple proven reasons why we feel good after shopping. Here are a few reasons we feel good after shopping:


A recent study indicated that many people feel depressed or anxious due to a feeling of powerlessness in their life. Making decisions while shopping can restore the feeling of individual control of your own life.


Whatever may be making you feel sorrowful or in a slump, leaving the house or browsing on online sites is a perfect distraction from any problems. People find shopping to be a very useful pass time. Inviting stores with music and lit-up signs of a sale, grab the attention of their consumers and help serve as a distraction from reality.

Dopamine & Psychologic Comfort

When people are anticipating buying an item or items, dopamine – a neurotransmitter (hormone) stored in the reward centre in your brain – is released. This dopamine keeps one feeling rewarded and motivated.

In online shopping, the act of anticipating the arrival of the shipment of an order, shows an increased dopamine response. The package is estimated to arrive in a certain range of days and this slightly unpredictable situation exacerbates the dopamine response in anticipation correlated to shopping.

Self Care

Shopping is a great source of self-care. With constant stressors in our everyday life, it’s good to set aside some time for self-care. Shopping for clothing, for example, allows for someone to practice their creative and aesthetic skills in creating potential outfits. Shopping can pave a way for self-expression and self-love.


Despite the benefits of retail therapy, like many other things in life, over-indulgence can be harmful. Being a shopaholic or oniomaniac means you have an obsessive and uncontrollable urge to shop. If you are suffering financially, socially, or simply relying on shopping to make you happy, it is not healthy.

Here are things you can do to flip your narrative of shopping to a healthier and self-sustaining mindset:


It is recommended by experts to track your purchases. Don’t go cold turkey and stop shopping altogether, simply account for everything you buy. When you go for a shopping trip, weighing your options is the item a necessity. This brings forth the act of window shopping. Simply going to browse items and do not buy them, still keep shopping as a good distraction.

Multiple ways to boost your mood:

Like the saying, “the more the merrier,” do not solely rely on shopping as a therapeutic release; but add it to your list of self-care. Entertain yourself to another hobby, exercise, take on a creative project etc. There are multiple forms of self-care and shopping is only one of them!

To conclude…

Do not shop till you drop, however, the next time you are feeling down and need a little boost, treat yourself!

Monisha Date

U Toronto '23

Monisha Date is currently pursuing a specialist in Genetics and double minoring in Immunology and Physiology at UofT (St.George). She aspires to work in the medical field in the future. She is a very extroverted and vocal person and thus she developed a keen interest in writing. Monisha loves to add her own voice to her pieces and hopes her writing can spark some conversation and inspiration for others. She strives for writing pieces that not only are factual but leave the reader satisfied and thinking! Along with writing, she has a passion for dancing, fashion, cooking, and look for new food spots in Toronto. So if you want some recommendations for places to eat, she is your go-to girl!