Sometimes we all just have a bad day and need an outlet for our negative emotions. Shopping, for many, has become that channel, but many wonder if shopping is a good replacement for good old talk therapy. Could it be that possibly they both are good options?

Retail Therapy

A new study has found that more than half of Americans admit to engaging in retail therapy. Researchers found that 62 percent of shoppers had purchased something to cheer themselves up, and another 28 percent had purchased as a form of celebration. Shopping does have psychological rewards even if many may not use the word therapeutic. There is a form of psychology behind the idea of shopping to relieve stress. Shopping can also improve a bad mood. For example, almost all of us have been through a breakup and went out on a shopping spree to feel better.

Scientists also looked at the impulsive behaviors caused by having a negative mindset. The analysis showed that people who were upset tended to be more impulsive, which also meant that they would often spend more money during their retail therapy shopping spree. But the studies also showed the participants did not regret spending the money, since they saw their purchases as presents for themselves. The whole point of the exercise was to improve their mood, and they did. It also goes without saying that many people who experience anxiety often feel as if they have little to no control. For these people, shopping becomes almost a crutch or way to cope with these particular feelings of helplessness. They can choose which store to go into and what to buy, thereby owning the process. Whether it is buying multiple white dresses, rompers, jewelry, or accessories, this practice often cheers many up. Shopping can be a good resource for mental training. As individuals shop, they’re intuitively visualizing how they’ll use the new little white dress they’re trying on and, in doing so, they’re also envisioning their new life. Visualization in itself is a performance booster and also can reduce anxiety.

Real Therapy

Sometimes you may need a little more than a shopping spree to clear your head. This is when actual therapy comes into play. Psychological therapy can help improve symptoms for those who struggle with mental health conditions. A therapist will teach their patients how to cope with symptoms for their day to day lives. Research shows the benefits of therapy last longer than just using medication alone.

Mental health issues are common. A recent study from the National Alliance on Mental Health show 1 out of every 5 American adults lives with a mental health condition, while 1 in 25 adults lives with a serious mental health condition. Sadly, only around 40% of people actually seek out help. By letting your mental health deteriorate you run the risk of the inability to attend work, struggling in your relationships, an increase in health issues, and suicide. The American Psychological Association recommends considering therapy when something causes anguish and interferes with some part of life. If you constantly think about an issue, if you are embarrassed and want to avoid people, or if your work has been negatively affected, it may be time to find the best therapist or counselor for your needs.

It is not hard to find a counselor or therapist and there are many therapists in DC and worldwide that would be happy to lend an ear and help you deal with relationship issues or self-esteem related challenges. If a patient is willing to do the hard work speaking with a trained therapist can be very rewarding. The patient usually ends up learning a lot about themselves. You can also make goals for yourself and achieve them with the help of mental health services. Your overall everyday life will usually see a major improvement in all areas and in the end, you will be happy you took the step to heal yourself.