Shopping & Loneliness: A Perfect Match

Shopping and loneliness go together like a perfectly matched pair of shoes. I was having lunch with two business women friends yesterday and I asked them what they saw as money challenges women face.  "When I'm stressed I shop. It makes me happy, sort of." My other friend said, "I eat and it's comforting, but then I feel guilty." Shopping, food - Bingo.  Quick Relief - then guilt!

Our busy, on the go lives are stressful. We look for relief at the end of the day. Sometimes that relief is a glass of wine (or two or three), but often for women it's shopping. With the shopping channels and the internet, we don't even have to leave home.  We can have that glass of wine and point and click those purchases.

I've heard LOTS of women talk about the rush or thrill of buying and then the let down and guilt afterwards. The question I believe is important to ask is this:  What are you really going for when you have that glass of wine or hit the click button to buy?  Is it fun, peace of mind, connection? And, what else can you do to feel better?

When I used to drink excessively (over 30 years ago) I hung out in bars. Loved it. Fun. But what I realized as I was growing myself up was what I had been going for was connection with people because I was lonely.

Well, guess what? Research shows that while we hope that shopping will make us happier (after all, isn't that what advertisements show?) and less lonely, it actually increases loneliness. "..a fixation on "stuff" - especially around the holiday season - is usually blamed on an overly consumerist culture...." But the study suggests it's more a symptom of individual alienation - loneliness!  (* The Insatiable Shopper - Agata Blaszcak-Boxer - Atlantic)  

What to do?  If we're lonely, stressed or anxious and we shop or drink a glass or wine we bump up our feel good chemicals - the endorphins, temporarily.  Though you feel better in the short term, it's not a lasting fix. Break out of your comfort zone and reach out to friends if you're lonely, give to others - volunteer time or money, (according to Happy Money authors both of these activities increases happiness). But, never, ever give money to someone you meet through a chat room. (Another time I'll write about this money NO NO for vulnerable, lonely women.)

Check out FREE Money Webinars to shift stress and anxiety into Freedom!!