How to overcome a shopping addiction?

There are a lot of people who go to therapy because they are worried that they waste too much time and money on things that don’t mean very much to them. They might ask things like the following:

  • Do you think I have a shopping problem?
  • Why do I feel like I need to buy things in order to improve how I feel about myself?
  • Why do I constantly get the feeling that I need more?

It is not easy to provide straightforward responses to these questions. In psychotherapy, getting to the bottom of a problem can frequently take a significant amount of time and effort.

However, a quick way to determine whether you might have a problem with shopping is to ask yourself if the majority of the statements that are shown below apply to you. If they do, then you might have a shopping problem.

  • You have a shopping addiction.
  • You go shopping to fill the void that you feel inside.
  • You continue to shop despite the adverse effects on your finances.
  • You go shopping in private to avoid the criticism of other people.
  • Because you are unable to control your spending, you have feelings of embarrassment and guilt.

If these statements describe you, you’re not alone. According to the findings of a meta-analysis conducted in 2015, approximately five percent of American adults suffer from compulsive buying.

This percentage is likely to rise as a result of social media marketing, targeted advertisements, and the culture of influencers, all of which encourage more people to buy things in order to compete with one another.

How to overcome a shopping addiction?

However, it is not necessary for things to be in this state. Here are three different approaches that can assist you overcome a shopping addiction.

First, always remember to abide by the “24-hour rule.”

Let’s say you’ve already made up your mind to buy a pair of expensive new shoes, and the only things left to do are pay for them and wear them once you get them back home.

You have a few options, one of which is to put off the purchase for exactly twenty-four hours.

If you choose to do this, you will be required to go through an entire day’s worth of difficulties, joys, and sorrows as well as expenses without the new item. To put it another way, we can no longer consider it an impulse purchase. After a period of twenty-four hours has elapsed, you will be in a better position to evaluate whether or not the item in question is worth the money.

Do not make a purchase; rather, look around

Dopamine is the chemical that makes us feel good and is released in our brains when we engage in pleasurable activities like shopping, eating, and even having sexual relations.

One of the most influential papers ever published in Brain Research Reviews makes the case that dopamine is more closely associated with the pursuit of rewards than it is with the satisfaction those rewards ultimately provide.

In a similar vein, Robert Sapolsky, a neuroscientist at Stanford University, hypothesizes that our brains get their “hits” of the feel-good chemical dopamine more from the anticipation of a reward than from the actual reward itself.

It’s possible that this is the reason why window shopping is always such a pleasant experience, but buying the thing you want can quickly make you feel like you’ve lost its allure.

The following is an explanation of how you can apply these findings to your own shopping habits: Put aside some time each week to look at things that you would like to purchase and give yourself permission to do so. You can take advantage of the many positive aspects of shopping while avoiding the drawbacks associated with it by doing it in this manner.

You might also like to read: How to overcome a shopping addiction?

Invest in things to which you can relate

When you go shopping, a good rule of thumb to follow is to follow this advice: purchase items that have a low volume but high quality.

If you want to keep up with the Joneses, it may seem necessary to buy things that are currently fashionable; however, it is better to buy things that you will not need to replace very often, either because they will never go out of style or because you will form a personal connection with them.

Items of this nature, like a luxury wristwatch, for example, are typically constructed to last and keep their value much better than less expensive items do.

According to the findings of a study that was conducted in 2014 and published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology, basing your purchasing decisions on who you are as a person can give you a greater feeling of control over your life. This, in turn, can lessen the reliance you have on purchasing additional items in order to feel happier.

One more helpful suggestion is provided below. Put money aside in advance for your purchases, and use debit cards rather than credit cards. This will make you feel more connected to the purchase because of the excitement of looking forward to having it in your possession. Additionally, it will prevent you from spending money that you do not currently possess.


It is not always the case that someone is addicted simply because they engage in problematic behaviors. Talking to a licensed mental health professional, on the other hand, is a good idea if you suspect that your actions may point to a dependency on the substance in question. In the meantime, you can mitigate the negative effects of your shopping behaviors by putting these straightforward strategies into practice.

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