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Health Benefits of Shopping?

Health Benefits of Shopping?

Iím not trying to encourage any bad habits, but I must be the messenger of this potentially dangerous news: research shows that trolling the malls or department store-lined streets of a major city for the purpose of shopping has health benefits!

A 2008 study by Britainís Brunel University showed that shopping is associated with increased activity in the part of the brain linked to positive thinking and pleasure.† This is no surprise to those of us who have felt that release of mood-lifting endorphins as we spy that pair of beautiful earrings or sweater that we know would look so good on us.† Indeed, research shows that levels of dopamine, a neurotransmitter released during pleasurable experiences, can rise sharply when shopping.† This mood enhancement, along with the social fulfillment many find when shopping with a friend, boosts the immune system and also helps keeps the brain agile.

All of this is based on the assumption that you enjoy shopping.† If you experience shopping as a drag, a drain, or a waste of time and money, then, be assured, a flood of feel-good endorphins coursing through your body will not be your experience.

In a different study, researchers at MIT, Carnegie Mellon and Stanford strapped volunteers to an fMRI machine and recorded the brainís reaction to photos of various products.† When the subjects viewed items they wanted to buy, a whoosh of dopamine flooded to the nucleus accumbens, known as the reward and pleasure center of the brain.† However, the nucleus accumbens is also the part of the brain associated with addictionÖas in compulsive shopping addiction.

Hereís the best news: researchers found that the same positive effects of shopping can be had when simply window shopping.† So, if you want the feel-good, but donít want the spending-pain, leave the wallet at home, grab a buddy for an overdue visit, and enjoy the walking, the conversation, and the healthy pleasure of your favorite shopping mecca.

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Read more: Conscious Consumer, Family, Fashion, General Health, Health, Mental Wellness, Smart Shopping, Women's Health, , , , , , , , , , ,

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Terri Hall

Terri Hall lives in the Hudson Valley with her family. In addition to writing, Terri works with public television and radio stations/networks in the area of new media, and leads workshops on authentic and empowered living.


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5:56AM PDT on Jul 10, 2013

I can't say I enjoy shopping... Sorry

4:52AM PDT on Jul 10, 2013


9:36AM PST on Jan 11, 2013

when i used to live in new york city we used to window shop all the time like art but we didn't buy anything. window shopping doesn't work for compulsive buyers.

8:22AM PDT on Jul 31, 2012

Window shopping is often fun especially when walking and not even going into the store itself.
As for buying clothes to me it is a chore and certainly does not release any endorphins except when I am escaping from the change room.

Love to look at garage sales every now and then since it is outside and in the open with lovely weather (for the most part!) with many interesting things to look at and not necessarily buy since there are so many garage sales. If one bought everything one liked one would have no room at home!

2:45PM PDT on May 30, 2012

thank you =]

6:17PM PDT on Oct 21, 2011


7:26AM PDT on Jun 20, 2011

Thank you

7:36AM PDT on Jun 6, 2011

Thanks for confirming my theories!

1:47AM PDT on Jun 4, 2011

I must be really healthy then!

1:48AM PDT on May 25, 2011


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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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