The Shopping Diet
Anxiety and comfort shopping is becoming ever more common.
It may not seem logical to some to buy a new pair of shoes when you have a hospital appointment that you have been dreading or to stock up on lots of pretty stationary when it is time to sort out your bills. But for many, shopping can be a way of attempting to soothe negative emotions - but like comfort eating the positive effects are usually short lived.
Habitually shopping for unnecessary items, whether for ourselves, our homes or our children is often used to try and fill a void or numb a feeling. Shopping can give hope of a better lifestyle or environment where these voids or feelings don't exist.
Wondering around the perfectly ordered shops where everything is neatly folded, perfectly hung, easy to see and clutter-free transports us into an ideal world where everything is clear and calm. The feelings and emotions that you can get from shopping can stem from wanting and needing an uncluttered and organised lifestyle.
It can be briefly comforting, but leave you with less money and more clutter and in turn more negative emotions.
A BALANCED DIET
If you have ever tried to lose weight, you will know that willpower is often not enough. Crash dieting alone rarely works against our need to feel full and contented. What goes for eating goes for acquiring 'stuff' too.
The three key steps to accomplishing a shopping diet are;
◽️Focusing on abundance
◽️Being in control of your splurges
Step 1 – focusing on abundance
Increase your awareness of abundance. If you believe that you are depriving yourself, you will need to make yourself feel full and buy on impulse.
If you concentrate on what you already have, your buying compulsions are less likely to come out.
It's not uncommon for people to buy new things because they are unaware of what they already own. The best way to do this is to re-connect with what you already have. For example, before you go shopping for new shoes, get out all of the shoes you already own, organise them into types and colours, and make a mental (or physical) note of what and how many you have. Doing this exercise reduces your buying compulsions and makes you less likely to feel that you need more as your awareness has been brought to what you already have.
Organising any type of stuff brings awareness and reconnection to what you own, creating a mindset of abundance and reducing the desire to buy more.
As you get more used to thinking this way, you will begin to 'shop' the stuff you already have first before hitting the shops.
Be grateful for what you have in your life - not just possessions, but people, places and simple pleasures - it's really good for you! Gratitude is a proven antidote to impulse buying because it creates a sense of abundance. When you feel this way, you are less likely to subconsciously try to fill emotional holes by accumulating more stuff.
Step 2 – Avoiding Temptation
Do you ever pop into the supermarket for a few essentials and then 20 minutes later end up with armfuls of 'stuff' that you suddenly realised you couldn't live without?
It's not an accident. Shops and retail displays are designed to create a hypnotic state (called The Gruen Transfer). When we are bombarded by specific colours, shapes, light, smells and music, we can go into a mindless daze, just like binge eating.
A lot of clutter is created when buying on impulse. Always make a shopping list before you hit the shops. Those things that when we get them home, we realise that they are not right, don't fit, are the wrong colour, don't need and never get around to returning.
If you can't trust yourself only to buy items you need, shop online. This also makes it easier to find the best prices and have all the item details to check.
If certain shops, products, brands or sales always seem to trigger unnecessary purchases - try and avoid them whenever possible.
Don't get taken in by
Items and displays at the checkouts - these items are placed there to tempt you while you're in your shopping 'high' daze.
Adverts on the TV and in magazines - Is that item going to make that much difference to your life and happiness?
Deals, discounts, special offers and sale items - It's probably not as good a deal as you think. (However, there is a difference between falling for a sale item whilst binge shopping and buying a sale item that you have been planning or wanting for a while).
Hearing about offers puts you in a position of considering purchases you might not have even thought of prior. Unsubscribe from any email subscriptions, newsletters and catalogues from retailers. Forget the idea that they save you money, if you're trying to reduce your spending, you're better off not receiving them at all.
Avoid shopping when tired, bored, stressed or overly emotional as they can lead to higher binge purchases.
Get support from family and friends. If you feel the urge to go shopping unnecessarily, try filling the void by grabbing a friend and spending your money on an experience or trip instead of a material possession.
It has been proven that spending your money on an experience instead of things increases your long term happiness.
Tell your friends and family that you are on a shopping diet. This can sometimes be hard, especially if you have friends or family that love shopping and don't have a problem with it ( or don't want to admit to it). In their eyes, it may be a harmless hobby. But, if you are racking up debt, spending money you don't have and buying stuff you don't need trying to keep up with them, it's harmful to you.
Step 3 – Allow yourself a treat or ‘cheat meal’.
As with food dieting, if you allow yourself to feel starved and deprived, you risk bingeing. Make sure you give yourself a treat on a regular basis or as a reward for doing well on your diet. It doesn't have to be expensive. It can be an item on your wish list that you have intentionally planned and saved for or something small that makes you happy.
Save for later...