Shopping: Part 2

woman with cash


Types of Reality Distortion Systems

Shopping: Part 2

Shopping can appear to be a very social activity. One can call a pal and say, "Want to go shopping and out to lunch?" "I heard about this little antique store, want to check it out with me?" That seems very, "normal" and like it could be a fun pastime. For the shopping addict, however, there is a compulsion to divert one’s self with, "finding deals," or, "looking for the latest." Once a purchase is made, the shopping addict feels momentary relief, but that disappears after a while, only to return with another shopping compulsion. The more we act on our compulsions, the more we practice them, and the more the habit becomes ingrained as a mechanism for coping with anxiety, fear, frustration etc.

How to Implement New Behavior:

  1. Every time you want to go shopping, monitor your emotions. How are you feeling? Write them down.
  2. Examine what happened right before you got the urge to shop. Are you avoiding doing a task? Did you have a disagreement with someone? Do you feel overwhelmed and want to leave your home/office?
  3. Write down possible options to shopping. For example, whenever one gets the urge to shop, one could replace it with going to the gym, taking a walk, gardening, dancing, swimming. Note, it has been shown that activities that make one move one’s body are usually the ones that will most easily offset the urge to get out there and shop.
  4. Manage your finances in a different way. Create a budget. Pay your bills first. Make a plan for what to do with any left over funds. Use those to pay down a credit card, or to put in a holiday gift fund.
  5. Cash must become one’s way of paying for purchases. Put away your credit cards. Set aside cash to pay for groceries, gas, etc. Once one discovers that there is a finite amount of available money that one can actually spend, buying merchandise often becomes less rewarding.

Next post: What to Resist

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