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Materialism’s Impact on Mental Health

We have all met someone that is materialistic, focused on making sure they have the newest and trendiest items, regardless of cost. They have attached satisfaction and importance to having an immeasurable amount of possessions that are better than what they previously had. They are in a pattern of retail therapy with a purchase, get, and repeat mentality that attempts to satisfy their desires. 


According to Medical News Today, people who are materialistic tend to be “me-centered.” They are more likely to focus on what they do not have and are unable to be grateful for what they do have, whether it is their family, a nice house, or a good job. Materialistic values tend to lead to depression, anxiety, and lower life satisfaction.

What is retail therapy?

Shopping has been used as a coping mechanism by many. According to Talkspace, retail therapy is the act of shopping as a way to relieve emotional distress in other areas of life. Retail therapy differs from your typical weekly grocery errands because it is triggered by emotions rather than needs that must be met. While the occasional shopping trip isn’t detrimental to health, it can become unhealthy if used as an antidepressant, coping mechanism, or temporary high. 

Once retail therapy is something you feel like you can’t go without, that’s when it can take over and add more stress than relief to your life. This creates a shopping-and-stress paradox, where shopping is used to deal with stressors but then adds more stress because of the financial problems it brings.

What is retail therapy hiding?

Compulsive shoppers use retail therapy as a way of escaping negative feelings such as depression, anxiety, boredom, and anger, as well as self-critical thoughts. Unfortunately, the escape is short-lived. This materialistic outlook can be detrimental to one’s mental health because there is no focus on the underlying concern. 

What is the reason for feeling depressed? Why is there such a large focus on attaining more and more things? What is causing dissatisfaction in life? You may not know what is causing you or your loved one to turn to the accumulation of material things in order to be satisfied, and that is okay. There are resources available to help you get to the bottom of the feelings that are being suppressed. 


At Valley Oaks Health, we have options like group therapy where you can share the feelings of addiction you have towards material items or the depression and anxiety you may be trying to hide. If a group setting is not for you, we also offer individual counseling. Walking through the doors may be tough, but with our support, your visit will be easy, streamlined, and professional as we address your needs and help improve your emotional wellbeing.

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