I have a confession. I am a former shopping addict. Several years ago, I found myself spending when there wasn’t any reason to spend. Oh, I could find a reason to justify my habit and could defend it clearly. But the real reason was that I was meeting an emotional need within myself by shopping. Thankfully, while I still love to shop, I now do it for the right reasons: because I need something or because I like it, not because I am angry, sad or hurt.
How do you know if you have a shopping addiction? Here are some clues. You think about what you can buy to make yourself feel better when you are feeling down. You go shopping when you are angry with your husband, thinking that is revenge. Someone hurts your feelings but rather than deal with the situation, you decide to buy yourself something to make yourself feel better.
What can you do about a shopping addiction? I think that depends on the level to which you have this problem. If it is severe and has led you into credit card debt, you may need financial counseling or at the very least, cut up your credit cards and cancel the accounts.
If your problem is more small-scale, it is simply a matter of realizing you are turning to things for comfort and that it isn’t working. Yes, it is nice temporarily but let’s be honest here. A new pair of shoes won’t make the fight you had with your mom go away. Realize that there are better ways to comfort yourself, such as being real about your feelings and dealing with them.
If your shopping addiction is more of an outlet to stress, you can easily replace the bad habit with a good one. Take up running or yoga. Knitting and cross stitch have both been found to be therapeutic.
Like any addiction, acknowledging it is the first step.