Why Can’t I Stop Shopping?

“Things and conditions can give you pleasure, but they cannot give you joy.”

                                                                       Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now

Do stress and anxiety make us addictive? Stress and anxiety are at the highest levels I’ve seen in 30 years and cause a vulnerability to addictive escapes. The economy is a big driver, but it’s exacerbated by the amount of change and loss occurring – job, home or illness, and the fact that we’re not taught how to take care of ourselves in pro-active and loving ways.

Escapes do sort of work - a glass of wine (or 3 or 4) or a hit of pot, or shopping and certainly food, can distract us from life problems, but don’t solve them. If you find yourself relating, take a breath, and try to be nonjudgmental.

Shopping: MyVesta, a web-based financial health center, found that 49% of survey respondents overspent. Experts say 5% of the U.S. population could be full-fledged compulsive shoppers.  Check out Lynn’s comment in the NY Daily News Column 7-27-12 “I Know My Shopping is Compulsive – Why Can’t I Stop?”

Overeating & Fast food:In 1970, Americans spent $6 billion dollars on fast food while in 2001 more than $110 billion was spent. Obesity affects about 30% of the population.

You might wonder: “If I run to the shopping mall or eat at McDonald’s when I’m stressed, does that mean I’m an addict?” Probably not. Doing pleasurable things for stress relief is natural. The difference between healthy & addictive is answered by these questions: 1) Is my shopping (or whatever I’m using for stress relief) causing problems in my relationships? Am I lying about how much I spend or in debt over my head? 2) Is my behavior making me feel guilty? 3) Is the shopping, alcohol or prescription medications, causing me to miss work, or have money problems?

If you’ve answered yes to these 3 questions talk to a counselor, contact your EAP department, or a 12 Step program.  You can email Lynn for resources:  lynntelfordsahl@gmail.com or check out addictionmodesto.com