A Quick Fix To Stop Shopping In Its Tracks
Have you ever noticed when you’re in the thick of a spending spree, or when your impulse shopping is at its worst, you are almost in a fog? As though you are having an out-of-body experience? Perhaps you even feel as though you aren’t fully in control?
That is because shopping can take us outside of ourselves—outside of the present moment—with the promise of something “better,” something shiny and new, a temporary salve for what ails us. But you know, deep down, that your shopping problem only makes things worse. And you want to stop.
The H.A.L.T. Method
So what can you do the next time you are in a fog of spending, or simply want to buy something new, in order to stop the cycle?
The next time you want to buy something new, there is ONE thing you must do in order to stop the cycle of impulse shopping, and bring yourself back to Earth.
It takes two simple steps.
First, you need to take a breath.
Second, ask yourself:
- Am I hungry?
- When did I last eat?
- Am I angry?
- What is stressing me out?
- Am I lonely?
- Have I spoken to a friend or family member today?
- Am I tired?
- How much sleep did I get last night?
Commonly known as H.A.L.T. for hungry, angry, lonely, and tired, this principle is used by many people in recovery circles. It encourages folks to, quite literally, halt and assess their state of mind and well-being.
HALT recognizes that human beings are fallible. We don’t make the best decisions when we aren’t in our best physical and mental states.
If you have a tendency to overspend or engage in retail therapy, HALT gives you a chance to stop, check in with your mind and body, and recognize that you may just be buying something new in order to assuage or ignore other feelings, like hunger, anger, loneliness, or fatigue. (In this way, HALT is a lot like mindfulness—another helpful tool to stop shopping.)
And even if you are buying something you really want—and have possibly even researched—you might find you have frequent buyer’s remorse when you are shopping as a salve for something else…something more important.
So the next time you find yourself in a familiar cycle of desire—desire to buy, desire to consume—consider HALTing. And consider shifting your focus elsewhere, by cooking yourself a meal, working out, calling a friend or family member, or getting some much-needed rest.
Hopefully, it will be enough to get you to delete your online shopping cart, or walk out of the store. And you just might feel better afterward.
Wow- this is so correct! I no longer have a shopping addiction, but I used to not too long ago. Every Saturday after work- I would go shopping and I was mentally exhausted, starving and frustrated from work. It was my way of winding down from my job, but it contributed to the credit card debt I then had to work so hard to pay off. I’m pinning so other women can see this- because being able to recognize this behavior for what it is- can really help to avoid the resulting credit card debt. That only leads to frustration later on as well.
Thank you for this!
Hi Stefanie! You are so welcome. I totally understand where you’re coming from–I, too, used to be in the same boat. So often, when things are going terribly in other areas of our lives, we don’t realize we need to stop and assess the source of our “retail therapy” (even that euphemism is so dangerous for shopping addicts). Sometimes, just checking in with our bodies and emotions can throw a wrench where it’s needed most, and stop the bleeding. Thanks for commenting, and for sharing! xo Katherine