You always know it’s something serious when it gets given an official name. ONIOMANIA, the uncontrollable desire to buy things’, is what over 8 million adults in Britain suffer from because off their need to SHOP till they drop!
Being labelled a shopaholic always seems to sound quite harmless, a bit of a joke about people who just love going out to the shops and buying things to look good. The truth is, addictive shopping is less to do with the possession of all the beautiful things you buy but more to do with trying desperately to find an artificial and very quick way of feeling happy, feeling good and in control…hence we call it retail ‘therapy’.
However there is nothing therapeutic or healthy about perusing the kind of happiness that lands you with immense feelings of guilt, bad debt, bad credit and feeling worse than before you bought another black dress! But what’s a girl to do? If you’re someone who shops too much you cannot help yourself, you go out for bread and milk and come back with shopping bags. You find excuses and reasons why buying something is absolutely necessary, you need it, you won’t buy anymore of the same item again after this purchase. Meanwhile you are pushing and plunging yourself deeper and deeper into debt!!! Sound familiar?
THE SIGNS OF A SHOPAHOLIC:
According to psychologists that research this addiction, there are 7 main signs that show you are likely to be shopaholic:
- You have many unopened or tagged items in your closet and mostly things you forgot you had!
- Impulse Buys – You often purchase things you don’t need or didn’t plan to buy
- An argument or frustration sparks an urge to shop
- You experience a rush of excitement when you buy something
- Purchases are followed by feelings of guilt
- You try to conceal your shopping habits
- You feel anxious or unhappy on the days you don’t shop
Shopping addictively is such an issue because it appears to work in making you feel good. When you spot that beautiful pair of nude coloured patent heels, all logic flies out the window and all you know is, you’ve GOT to have them. You make the mistake of walking into the shop, trying them on and before you can remove yourself from the situation you’re at the till paying for them and quietly saying ‘I can always return them’.
It may make you feel bad to have to own up to the fact that you are in fact a shopping addict (and not in a jokey way) but being honest, if not just with yourself and realising you’ve become addicted is part of how you start to change these habits that have crept up on you. You may be feeling bad about making this confession because now you have no way to feel good, but actually I would say that knowing that there are ways you can still feel just as good without spending you’re rent money on things you will hide/push in the backs of cupboards or under the beds is worth the initial discomfort of this realisation.
WHY ARE YOU ADDICTED?
Like most addictions, shopping addictively tends to be away of not having to deal with or confront uncomfortable or stressful feelings or situations. When you’re out shopping, you’re distracted by the frill of the colours, the way you look and feeling in control. You are not thinking about the job you hate, work pressures , you’re unhappy relationship, family issues. Researches in Surrey University conducted a study a found that the most common causes by those that took part was:
- Escaping from challenging or arduous responsibility
- Threatened Identity – Feeling old/unattractive/fat
- Inability to self regulate/lack of self control
It’s likely if you are experiencing or displaying the behaviours described above you may also be dealing with feelings of depression, anxiety, low self esteem. Some people may want show they are in control, you are trying to buy things that make the world see you as put together and in control. We assume when we see individuals or celebs looking clean and neat and beautiful their lives are good and they are very happy, so you start to feel if you just looked good, you’d feel good and people would also feel the same and then admire and compliment you. But this is false and behind the supposed perfection is deep unhappiness in most cases.
HOW TO FEEL BETTER WITHOUT BUYING SOMETHING NEW:
You might feel that your need to shop incessantly is a personal issue, something not many others experience, which you are more likely to think because like most addictions, we tend to make our habits and addictions sound less problematic than they truly are! Of course, we need a reason to continue to feed our habit and if you convince yourself that you’re shopping habits are ‘not that bad’ you can keep spending more on more things you don’t need.
Here’s how you can start to reduce your addiction to shopping:
- CONFESS – So as I initially pointed out and what you may already know is it’s important to be honest and say to yourself you are addicted to shopping.
- FORGIVNESS - This is important, forgive yourself! Most addictions come from trying to resolve an issue or cover up something painful or distressing. Being an addict never makes you a bad person. Feeling good only comes with feelings of kindness and removing judgement. When you can feel this then you can start to find better ways of dealing with whatever has made you to want to find destructive ways to help you feel good.
- TALK ABOUT IT – Most addictions can feel embarrassing to talk about but keeping things in is part of what has caused the addiction in the first place. There are two options here. When you feel low/sad/unhappy, write it down…keep a journal or write it down and get rid of it but do express what you are feeling. It’s better to talk about feeling low, hearing yourself say things out loud can help you to start to figure out how to cope or deal with a situation. As a rule I always use the ‘ Rule’ What would I say to a friend/family member who came to me with my situation. It helps get a better perspective on things. Counselling/therapy may be something you need to consider! It may be an additional cost but it’s no more than the money spent shopping. Though in the UK there are free counselling services available when you speak to your gp.
- HOBBIES – This may sound very trivial in comparison to how you feel but the fact is hobbies do a lot to maintain our well being and you can choose whatever you like…not to mention they are mostly inexpensive! Don’t be tempted to take up a hobby that requires you to spend more!! Start with something simple that is free I guarantee you, you will feel better! Join a choir, a running club, swimming, ANYTHING but at least try!
I’ve attached this video that inspired and will hopefully inspire you with picking a hobby that will take you’re mind off spending money when you can be spending time doing something memorable! Please note you don’t have to do any of what’s in the video but it shows you that you could be out there doing something meomorable! ENJOY!!