License to Shop

There are plenty of reasons why you should hit the streets shopping, despite the state of the economy. Here’s our favorite:

Buying an item is a form of babying yourself (“Gucci-Gucci-goo”) because of the underlying promise of a new, improved you. That’s why a cool pair of croc boots can boost your mood temporarily. Science suggests there is such a thing as a “shopper’s high,” similar to what athletes refer to as a “runner’s high,” but without the sweat. Swiping your credit cards at a cash register and toting big bags full of brand new things causes the brain to release dopamine, which affects a human’s ability to experience pleasure.

shoporama1In the past, British researchers who have electronically monitored shoppers’ brains have noticed a marked difference in patterns between those who are “just looking, thanks” and those who are ready to make a purchase. Interestingly, men often appear to be less affected by the act of spending, relating the experience to eating turkey (translation: wanting to go home and sleep afterward).

Of course, there’s also the sheer giddiness you feel when you snag a beloved item on sale. You get what you want, you get it for less than it’s worth, and you get to feel smart,  resourceful and  fortunate. And the less money you have at hand, the greater the sense of accomplishment.

Clearly, whoever says money doesn’t buy happiness doesn’t know where to shop.


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