The results are in: shopping makes you happy according to me and Blair Waldorf…but also science. If you’re convinced your addicted to shopping (along with vodka, chocolate, and bad decisions), new research shows that at least your shopping addiction is healthy, and not just because because trying on clothes in unflattering lighting is good motivation to go to the gym. The best things in life might be free, but all the second best things are really ridiculously expensive (or fattening), and wouldn’t you prefer clothing over calories?
If you’ve eschewed actual therapy for retail therapy, you’re in luck. Finally, a study confirms what sorority girls have done personal research on for ages. A new study published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology investigated whether shopping actually made people happier. They found that it restored a sense of control and purpose, replacing sadness. When people actually purchased items, it made them three times less sad than those who just browsed.
Researchers found that shoppers have positive feelings when they think about recent buys, which is why I like to devote a solid portion of my day to planning future outfits. Shoppers are also less likely to experience sadness immediately before they go on a buying spree, so start planning your mall trips in advance. I can’t help but wonder what this means for Pinterest — we’re perpetually pinning items we want, but can’t actually buy.
Until now, researchers couldn’t figure out whether shopping itself cheered people up, or if actual buying did. Now, they know that dropping dollars is what really makes you feel better. Blair Waldorf was right when she said “Whoever said money doesn’t buy happiness didn’t know where to shop,” because science. Now, when your dad gets the credit card bill you can explain that it wasn’t for shoes, it was for therapy. What parent can argue with that?
If you love drinking and shopping, it might be because one makes you feel out of control, and the other helps you re-gain it. Basically, there’s no better way to recover from a hangover. This study shows why all of our favorite control freak heroines are shopping addicts, from Cher Horowitz in Clueless, to Blair Waldorf in Gossip Girl. Celebrities, they’re just like us! Next time anyone goes into your closet and exclaims that no one on Earth needs so many clothes, explain that it’s for your mental health, not just your next mixer.