Is it any surprise that shopping can be considered therapy? In fact, many individuals swear by what has been dubbed "retail therapy." Of course, as with anything, excess can lead to trouble. As long as a person shops in moderation and with the right attitude, this activity can be a helpful way to regain emotional balance. It doesn't even have to be particularly expensive. There are various rituals that often accompany hitting the stores including having a cup of coffee and people watching.
Therapeutic techniques such as shopping can lower blood pressure, lift a depressed individual out of the doldrums, and recharge energy levels. When a shopper enters markets, clothing boutiques, or antique stores, they can get out of their own head and into the world. For example, going to a farmers' market is a great opportunity to view the earth's abundance in the form of fresh vegetables, fruits, and flowers. This can provide sensory delights and touchable evidence that seeds planted and tended will grow. Not only is this lovely to see, smell, and, if you purchase, taste, it's also a great metaphor for how to live life. In clothing boutiques, it's soothing to see and touch fabrics as well as to try on clothes. Seeing oneself in the mirror with attractive blouses, pants, or hats on can lift the spirit. Perusing antique stores is similar to going to a museum. Viewing the wares gets a person in touch with history and all the people, places, and things that were here on the planet long before us.
Having an espresso, latte, or chai tea alone or with a friend can provide a relaxing break during a day of shopping. The taste of the warm and comforting liquid and the feeling of the ceramic or Starbucks cardboard cup add another layer of enjoyment to an excursion. If a shopper is sharing the experience with a friend, it's a great way to connect, catch up, and chitchat about the state of the world. Having strong social ties contributes to a healthy life. If an individual is shopping alone, sipping one's brew is a great time to people watch. Observing our fellow humans' behaviors and interactions can be more entertaining than watching a movie.
Even individuals who are on a budget can have a good time in the stores if they plan carefully. Step one is to decide how much can be spent before setting foot in the stores. It's helpful to only carry cash and to leave the credit cards at home. Once the cash is gone, it's time to stop buying. It's fun to shop even without spending money. Window shopping is a term that refers to viewing the merchandise in the store displays as an activity. Individuals who set up these displays are often talented artisans. Viewing these artful arrangements is similar to going to an art gallery showing. Even if a person isn't planning to buy items that day, checking out window displays can be an entertaining experience.