This is a difficult post to write.
“‘Individuals will get some kind of high from an addictive behavior like shopping,” says Engs. ‘Meaning that endorphins and dopamine, naturally occurring opiate receptor sites in the brain, get switched on, and the person feels good, and if it feels good they are more likely to do it — it’s reinforced.’” – Ruth Engs, EdD, professor of applied health science at Indiana University.
This is true. Maybe this phenomenon has never happened to you before, but let me clue you in on something that happened to me this week. I was in a rotten mood the other day, I went shopping (I legitimately needed certain articles of clothing) hopped into my car (after I had spent more money than I felt comfortable with) and headed home. No, my problems were not solved, but I literally felt happier. I have had this happen to me on multiple occasions! Shopping makes me happy! I love scouting out deals and buying things!
Unfortunately, we do not typically view shopping addictions in the same light as we would, say, alcohol, drug or narcotic addictions. Why? Is it perhaps because shopping addictions can fly under the radar and/or are more socially acceptable? Are we fostering a materialistic mindset under the guise of frugality (i.e. going overboard at Goodwill)? Hm. Let me say that this is a caution for me in my own mind and heart.
I am not trying to be morbid, but I would like to share with you the confession of a “shopaholic”:
“I listened to him yell. I was humiliated and felt like a child. It made me sad. However, it still didn’t stop me. Later on that day, I grabbed the keys to my car and off I went to the store. It’s not that I wanted to hurt him or make him angry, I couldn’t help it. I was upset and I so badly wanted to feel better. Shopping was a high for me. It’s the thrill of finding the good deal. It’s the excitement of finding something that no one else has. It’s the satisfaction that knowing your purchase will make someone else smile. There were times when I woke up feeling blue. I would make up my mind right then and there that I wanted to have a better day. I would convince myself that the only thing that would make me feel better was to go shopping.” – Jennifer S.
So, where are you at? Are you a garage-saling-goodwill-buying-wheeler-and-dealer who thinks she’s OK because she doesn’t spend as much as other people, but really has a problem because shopping brings her a high that other things don’t? Materialism comes in many shapes and under many guises. Let’s be on guard!