It’s been proven: Shopping is actually good for you!April 14, 2009
Who doesn’t love to shop. Well, I do know a few people who don’t like going to the mall, but they’re not a lot of fun, so we won’t talk about them. For those of us “normal” folk, here’s why we love shopping: because mentally and physically SHOPPING MAKES US FEEL GOOD! In his article “How Manolos Can Save Your Life” http://www.womenshealthmag.com/life/benefits-of-shopping?layout=print, Dan Tynan, who’d prefer his wife didn’t see what he wrote, says:
In a paper published last year, researchers at the UK’s Brunel University noted that shopping is associated with increased activity in the left prefrontal cortex, a part of the brain that has been linked to pleasure and positive thinking. In fact, levels of dopamine, a neurotransmitter released during pleasurable experiences including sex, can rise sharply even when you’re merely window shopping. In another study, published in the journal Neuron, researchers at MIT, Carnegie Mellon, and Stanford strapped volunteers to an fMRI machine and showed them photos of products. When shoppers saw something they wanted to buy, a flood of dopamine to the nucleus accumbens–the brain’s reward center– lit up their fMRI images like a dashboard.
Shopping keeps you younger
And it’s not only about pleasure. Shopping may also help women maintain their mental acuity in old age, says Guy McKhann, M.D., a professor of neurology at Johns Hopkins University and a co-author of Keep Your Brain Young. “People who are doing really well as they get older tend to be mentally engaged, physically active, and socially involved,” he says. “And women are all of those things when they shop.”
So, there you are, ladies, proof that in order to feel good and sane well into your senior years, you must shop. But, what about men, I hear you asking. Well, according to Tyman, men typically shop only for what they need. They don’t like to browse, except of course, when it’s for something they really love, like gadgets. In that case, they behave exactly like women. Ha!
Indecisiveness strains the brain, — now there’s a concept, for you — says economist Paul Zak, Ph.D., of Claremont Graduate University: “You have a limited amount of mental energy, and your brain wants to conserve it.” For every pair of boots you try on, your gray matter works hard to picture your owning them (and strutting by a catty coworker in them). Now multiply that fantasy process by 12.
Get the real picture, ladies? So shop, but be selective about your purchases (great quality makes you happier than low prices in the long run, they’ve found) and settle for “good enough”.
Have a Zen shopping experience!