I am not a medical expert of any kind. And this post deals only with the initial levels of compulsive shopping. If you are suffering from oniomania(Compulsive Buying Disorder – CBD) I request you to seek professional help.
Think about the last time you went shopping. Was it intentional? It had to serve some purpose right? Just give honest thought about it. Most times, your answer might be no.
You may have bought that shirt that costs over 1500 rupees.
And there is nothing wrong with that BUT was it essential?
If you have bought the shirt when you have over dozens of them already at your home… then it was not an intentional purchase.
It was just another expensive, pleasing, mentally satisfying pleasure… nothing more than that.
To find out if it is essential or not think in a similar way as given below,
If you can live without that shirt for the upcoming three weeks, without losing or sacrificing anything, then you may not need it
Before indulging deep into this, have you ever met with a situation where you were happy until the moment of purchase after which for no good reason, you found yourself guilty about it?
Have you ever wondered why money doesn’t seem to like you, and it flows like a river as soon as you get it?
Ever thought why you couldn’t save money even though you earn a lot?
Does the above situations sound familiar?
This could be the reason you are poor or even guilt-ridden.
It’s (Que melancholic music please) SHOPPING.
Yes, shopping is the new drug.
Remember the last purchase you made?
How did you feel?
Did you feel happy and excited before the purchase? Did you achieve the same level of contentment after it? Did you?
Let me tell give me some facts here for you,
We do not feel happy and excited because of the product which we will buy but only because of the anticipation before we buy the product.
Most of us shop only for the pleasure we get during the anticipation of getting the product.
How and when does this happen?
When we buy a product, the entire process of anticipation begins.
When we expect we get hit with a surge of dopamine which makes us feel good and happy.
Don’t believe me?
Think about how you felt when you went window shopping or scrolling through your amazon app looking for newer and newer products (even though you won’t buy them).
I know that feeling (sighs… I have been there too); It fucking feels damn good.
This dopamine is keeping on secreted until you get the product.
When you get the product, the expectation ends, and happiness does not exist anymore.
WHAT DOES THIS DO TO YOU?
When you fall in love with this process (which unfortunately most of us are), we buy another product, just for the dopamine hit. Your brain gets accustomed to the amount of dopamine (as the exercise which becomes easy as you keep on doing, with time) and it craves for more.
Now you go out to buy bigger and expensive products, to get more dopamine, which in turn pleases you more and more.
With time, you keep on numbing your brain as much as possible.
And finally falling into the trap of becoming a compulsive shopper.
Before diving into how to stop from becoming a compulsive shopper, let us find out why we buy them in the first place.
Marketers invest tons and tons of money in advertising, and these ads portray models who are pitch-perfect from the bottom to top in their new and so-called “cool and stylish clothes.”
When you watch those ads, it affects your psychology and makes you feel inferior to them (Don’t lie to me that you have never felt that).
This feeling of inferiority messes with your brain creating a void.
To fill up this void, you buy new things, for the dopamine rush you always needed.
So what now?
HOW TO OVERCOME COMPULSIVE BUYING
“Seriously man? You are asking me to control my shopping urges by meditation?”. Yes, it might seem absurd in the beginning, but it works. When you meditate, you become more and more mindful. The mindful you are, the clearer you become, and the more you would be aware of your decisions while shopping.
“Do you mean that we aren’t aware of the shopping decisions we take. huh?”
Whoa, guys calm down. Now before you go frenzy on me, let me tell you that most of us decide to buy a product within microseconds. We do not care whether it is useful, whether it serves some purpose. When we go shopping, sometimes without our consciousness the autopilot mode turns on and buy a lot of shit which we don’t need.
Meditating helps you slow down, become more aware of your surroundings and help you decide much more clearly.
Trust me on this one.
2. CREATE A LIST.
The next time before you go shopping, create a shopping list. Just sit and think about what you will buy. Be as intentional with your purchases as possible.
When you feel an urge to buy something, just look at your list. If it is not there, then you probably wouldn’t need it.
Now other ways like the following require you to make lifestyle changes, but it is worth it.
3. BECOME A MINIMALIST
“Focussing on what is important and discarding the unnecessary that is what minimalism is all about.”
Adopting a minimalist lifestyle helps you achieve clarity and also aids you in getting rid of the clutter
4. GET RID OF ALL YOUR CREDIT CARDS.
Credit cards make you feel as if you have all the money in the world and you keep on swiping until you either reach the goddamn limit or when the monthly bill hits you straight in the face.
Get rid of all your credit cards, plain and simple.
5. CASH ONLY.
Before you go shopping make a list. And carry only an estimated amount of how much money will be required for making those purchases.
If you lack money, go back, get it then buy the item you want.
This way, you make your purchases much more intentional.
6. CALL OUT FOR HELP.
If nothing seems to work, tell a trusted person about your issue and take them shopping with you. Let them manage the purchases.
Remember, there is nothing wrong with asking for help. Just ask the right one.
There is nothing wrong with shopping… it’s just the intentionality of it that is important