The Ups and Downs of Retail Therapy

Money, money, money

Spend, spend, spend

Money makes the world go round! Or so they say.

Money is a fantasy. It doesn’t actually exist. The piece of paper, the token, that we call a note, is just that. It is a piece of paper. Every bank note, in every country, has some kind of statement that implies that the token has a value, “I promise to pay the bearer on demand the sum of…” yet if you go to the Bank of England and ask for your pounds they will probably think that you are mad. The basis of money is that we, as society, agree that the token, the note, has a value that we all agree to maintain.

The need to use money tokens to get beyond the problems of barter became an essential. After all if I am buying your chicken and I want to trade my cow how will you give me my change? Anyway, we all use money, often in the form of credit, to create a pool of energy that we can exchange for goods and services, and Christmas means spend, spend, spend.

If you follow our blogs and the podcasts you will realise the importance of the relationship between various addictive issues/substances and the production of dopamine in the brain and, guess what, money is the same. The need to spend money is a dopamine addiction.

Dopamine is known as ‘the love drug’. It is produced by the pleasure centres in the brain and creates a feeling of happiness, euphoria. It is these feelings that we crave and become addicted to.

When we crave a ‘love object’ that we just need to buy, our brain is telling us that it needs a squirt of dopamine. But dopamine is a fickle friend. As soon as we achieve our love object, as soon as we buy what we were craving, the drive for dopamine ceases and the love object becomes yesterday’s news.

Have you ever craved to buy something, perhaps spending many weeks or months saving the money, and then at last you buy it. It may be your flavour of the month for a little while but soon these feelings wear off. The problem is that because of you addictive habit your brain now craves more dopamine you will now need a new love object to get it going again. More spend, spend, spend.

Advertisers know this and, like Apple, will change their designs and specifications to keep the dopamine needs of their followers flowing. No one really needs to continually update devices at the rate that the market dictates and yet the majority buy into it. Sales people and teams understand this and their sales techniques are designed to get our juices flowing, to increase the flow of dopamine.

In big stores the lighting, the music and the displays all are designed to create more dopamine and, to create the need to have, to own and, to buy.

When your expenditure exceeds your income, on a regular basis, and you are not living in poverty, then you are probably addicted to retail therapy. What that means is, that like all addicts, you have trained your brain to connect an activity, in this case spending money, to the production of dopamine in your brain’s pleasure centres.

Just as there is nothing wrong with having the occasional blowout on booze there is nothing wrong with having the occasional spend fest. It is all a matter of proportion. It is when it is out of proportion that it becomes a problem and that means therapy. When you have a problem do something about it, see someone, talk, seek help.

Overall when it comes to money the deal is…

Love people and use money, do not, love money and use people…

Be happy and spend responsibly with joy.

Sean x

1 reply

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] Here’s a link to this week’s blog post by Sean […]

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.