Are you becoming a shopping addict?

Who doesn’t love shopping? Hitting the shops, bargaining for products but do you know that shopping can become an addiction real fast? When you feel a constant eagerness for making purchases of unnecessary stuff then it is a symptom of shopping addiction, also known as ‘‘Oniomania’’,a compulsive buying disorder in which buying new things makes us feel good and avoid negative feelings, such as anxiety and depression. 

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Difference between normal shopping and an addiction?

Shopaholics have a personality pattern that they have difficulty in controlling their desire to shop and develop money related problems and even damage their relationships, yet they are unable to control their spending. The main difference between normal shopping and addiction is that shopaholics are not able to control their spending. They are people with low self-esteem and want to connect to others through shopping. They tend to buy more materialistic things than other shoppers and want to seek approval from others. 

Shopaholics are more influenced by marketing and advertising that surrounds us today. Advertising is more focused on positive results of their products and suggest the purchases that would solve life’s problems and these marketing tricks trigger impulsive buying specially among the people with shopping addiction. 

Compulsive Vs Impulsive Shopping

Impulsive buying is an unplanned purchase that happens at the moment such as seeing the desired item in the shop, while compulsive buying is considered with a planned shopping pattern to reduce uncomfortable inner feelings, such as anxiety and depression. 

Shopping addiction can involve both impulsive and compulsive spending. People who are addicted to shopping are often left feeling empty and unsatisfied with their purchases when they get home, signs that you are turning into a shopping addict.

Like those addicted to substance abuse and behaviors, shopping addicts are addicted to behavior because of the way they feel while shopping. Because shopping is an activity that everyone engages in so it is difficult to tell when shopping has become an addiction. There are some signs which tell if you are becoming a shopping addict: – 

1. Hiding shopping or the amount spent during shopping.

2. Shopping to console yourself when feeling angry or depressed.

3. Spending more than you can afford. 

4. Shopping to avoid feeling guilty about a previous shopping spree.

5. Losing control during shopping.

Don’t confuse love of shopping with addiction. 

These days people have easy access to shopping sites through the internet. Anyone who is going into that impulse is not an addict, but if you feel the compulsion to do it, then it’s a problem. People who spend their money at the cost of their lives, livelihoods or relationships are necessarily shopping addicts. 

How to fight a shopping addiction?

There are some strategies you can use to fight a shopping addiction-

1. Cut up your credit cards- If you are a compulsive shopper you need to cut up your credit cards and it fuel your emotional spending in most cases. 

2. Track every penny you spend – If you are an addict you might not be aware of your spending so now try to keep a record of it so that you can cut off some spending on shopping.

3. Avoid temptations- the best way to avoid spending is to avoid situations that tempt you to spend in the  first place. If your weakness is clothes, then stay away from clothing stores and even online sites selling clothes.

4. Remind yourself of larger goals- if you are addicted to spending on shoes then ask yourself will buying these shoes help me in further  scenario  or am I just hurting my pocket. 

5. Ask for help- if you are having trouble with spending try to talk with your friends and family and you can even seek some professional help. 

Shopping can be as distressing as any other addiction. But remember, you are a worthwhile person, no matter how much or how little you own

Why is social media addictive?

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Social media, an interactive mediated technology that facilitates the creation or sharing of information, career interest and other forms of expressions. That’s what the definition tells us about social media. Do you think that it’s just an interacting platform or are we getting addicted to it? Today we are using many social media handles like Facebook, Instagram, Whats App, snap chat and many more to just interact with as many people as we want. But the question arises why do we need such platforms for interaction? Social media is becoming a replacement for building and establishing connections in real life and there is something fundamentally wrong with our mentality. We are trying to live in a virtual world, where real connections don’t matter, what matters the most are the likes, comments, followers, friend requests, tags, etc. We are sacrificing the real-world interactions that are necessary in our development for a mere connection that is established on social media.  

Instead of connecting with our near and dear ones via social media, people have started to compete with them. As social media allows us to share pictures, videos and status updates, revealing what’s going on in our lives, it also gives us an opportunity to boast about ourselves. When we get a notification that one of our social media posts has received some type of interaction – whether that’s a like, comment or share- it’s uplifting. Research conducted at Harvard University reveals that talking about ourselves makes us feel happy and high. That’s true, but it is also creating problems like stress and depression when we don’t get as many likes or approvals on our posts. 

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Do you know that these social media handles produce the same neural circuitry that is caused by gambling and recreational drugs to keep consumers using their products as much as possible? So that might be the reason for you getting addicted to it. Social media handles not only causes a physical and psychological addiction but also creates a sense of jealousy as when you spend a lot of time scrolling through feeds, you see posts highlighting the luxurious lives of people  you know in real life and you start comparing them with your own life and that really puts a damper on your own happiness.

“Imagine if every time you go to a bank, you get your balance, but you also see the balance of other people. It will cause most people to feel annoyed or dissatisfied with what they have………” says Ofir  turel, a cognitive neurologist. This is what is happening with most of us when we use social media handles, we are seeing  posts of people enjoying their life, having fun and doing what not and we feel dissatisfied with our lives. Specially the teenagers and youth are affected by the use of social media as when they start to get more likes and fame from these handles like tik tok (now banned in India), it’s a great platform to showcase your talent but not being vulgar and using anti-social activity in videos to get more followers and fame.

Research carried out by the Chicago Booth School of Business already indicated five years ago that Facebook, Twitter and other social media handles can be more addictive than tobacco and alcohol because, among other things, access to them is simple and free. In fact, if Steve Jobs wouldn’t allow his kids to get too tied up with the technology, he probably had some idea of how social media affects the youngsters.

Today youngsters and students spend a lot of time on social media handles sharing memes, posts, videos which is affecting their academics as they are not able to concentrate on their studies and even affecting their mental health. These handles just lead to distraction and affect their career.  

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Now the question arises: what is the reason that most of us spend time or just waste our time on social media? The pull of social media addiction isn’t all in our heads. It’s quite real, thanks to two chemicals our brain produces: dopamine and oxytocin. Dopamine is a chemical in the brain which actually creates want. Dopamine is stimulated by unpredictability, by small bits of information, and by reward cues- pretty much the exact conditions of social media. Then there’s oxytocin, sometimes referred to as “the cuddle chemical”. And all the goodwill that comes with oxytocin – lowered stress levels, feelings of love, trust, empathy, generosity- comes with social media too. So, between dopamine and oxytocin, social networking not only comes with a lot of great feelings, it’s also really hard to stop wanting more of it.

The famous management consultant Peter Drucker once said- “Tell me what you value and I might believe you, but show me your calendar and your bank statement and I’ll show you what you really value”. So spend your time wisely rather than wasting it.