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The psychology of stress buying

The psychology of stress buying

Look! How many bags and watches and appliances you don't need did you buy because you are stressed? Well, you might not admit it but a good percentage of us have fallen victim to stress buying.

What is the psychology of stress buying? Why do some of us and not others fall victim to stress buying? Are some of us not just actually stressed? Or are some of us very stressed? Here's your read. 

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Studies tell us that stress increases the money spending habits of customers and they tend to buy things they deem are necessities and allow for control in an otherwise uncontrollable environment. 

Take an example of your 3 year old toddler who gets punished for a certain behavior and reacts by whining for a toy car. Why a toy car? Because it gives him the feeling of control in a rather uncontrollable world.

An annual survey that was conducted by a group of researchers revealed that 3 in every 4 Americans in 2022 made spontaneous purchases. This was 23% higher than the statistics in 2021. Whoa! 


Why do we fall victim to stress buying? You must be wondering about the science behind the syndrome. Here's why.

Why do we fall victim to stress buying? 

In order to be able to answer this question, we must first understand what stress buying is and what causes it. 

Stress buying is a syndrome. A syndrome whereby spontaneous buying of items after an episode of stress relieves stress and uplifts your mood. 


What really causes stress buying.

Science explains stress buying syndrome the same way the phenomenon of reward is explained. When you suffer an episode of stress, the brain interprets this as negative and seeks for positive reinforcement. Buying anything at this moment causes a release of dopamine  ( happy hormone) and satisfies the brain's demand for positive reinforcement. You are then happier after buying. This is the science of stress buying.


In fact, a survey on the subject showed that generation Z individuals fall prone to stress buying much more easily than members of other generations. The science is dopamine. Generation Z is more seeking dopamine than members of the other generations. 

While it is hard for stress shoppers to acknowledge they are, it is quite easy to know whether you, your partner or friends are stress shoppers and try to help them.

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How do you know you are a stress shopper

1.Monitor your behaviour following an episode of stress. 

What do you love to do when you are stressed? To swim, gym, go mute or shop? Journal the pattern for upto 7 episodes of stress and you will be able to find out if or not you are a stress shopper. Use the same technique for your family or loved ones. 


2. Monitor how you feel about a purchase.

Often, stress shoppers will have a pang of pleasure immediately after the purchase. Not so long after, they will start to experience a feeling of regret about the purchase. Monitor and journal how you feel after a purchase you make under stress for upto 7 episodes of stress.


If over 4 out of 7 purchases you make under stress are regrettable, you are a stress shopper. 

While shopping has no harm, impulsive shopping collects for you clutter in the house and drains your finances. It is even worse when money is tight. Moreover, the syndrome is progressive and can lead to even worse problems like drowning in debts, anxiety, more stress and loss of control. This is why you need to do something about it. 

Below are some quick steps on how to manage the behaviour.

Managing stress buying 

1.Eat dark cocoa chocolate when you feel stressed. 

Dark cocoa chocolate gives a dopamine feeling in your brain and you will quickly be able to override the feeling to go to the mall.





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2. Declutter your environment. 

If the feeling to stress shop finds you at home, quickly open your closet or drawer and start to remove unnecessary items in there. Arrange some clothes to drop in the charity bag and think whether you actually need the item you are just about to buy. Take control of the impulse!


3. Use stress relievers.

 Nature is abundant, you would agree. Take time in nature, visit a park or any environment around you that is abundant in green. There are numerous benefits of watching green and one of them is stress relief. Use may even walk bare footed if you are in an environment you trust. 


Walking bare foot on nature is an incredible stress reliever.

Alternatively, use nature's herbs and fruits to calm yourself down. Fruits like bananas, grapes, kiwis and oranges are a good fit for your hard days. You should remember to avoid oranges if you have peptic ulcers. Also, avoid grape fruits if you are taking artovastatin and rosuvastatin

Consider herbs like ashwagandha , lemon balm, passion flower and lavender to calm yourself down. These can be found as combinations or as single components in a number of products on the market. As a stress shopper, you may also choose supplements to improve mood or supplements to relieve stress. 




If you choose supplements, it is recommended to choose supplements with magnesium glycinate for its enormous benefits on human health. 


4. Minimize temptation. 

Stay away from shopping sites when you are stressed. In the current times, ads are running from one corner to another, ‘buy me, buy me’. If you are stressed, turn off your data and escape these temptations. There is no lasting goodness in stress buying! 

The take away

Now that you know alot about stress buying, both the science and art, you have the power to manage it. Journal the decision to manage it and start right away. Remember to keep a bar of dark chocolate close. 



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