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Walking into a shop – or even better a shopping centre – is very calming for me.
It’s why Westfield is my happy place. I’ve always known this about myself even if I haven’t understood why.
Shopping is also highly stimulating; the people, the colour and movement, the choices of things to buy, the noise… every sense is pinged. And while this might sound contradictory that something so stimulating and even overwhelming can also be calming, it’s always been my default way to self-soothe.
Even more soothing for me is buying things. Clothes mostly. I’ve never thought too much about the reason for this even though it’s clear to me that I shop more than the average bear. Am I greedy? Probably. Do I lack self-control? Undoubtedly. Do I adore clothes and are they a way for me to express myself creatively? Absolutely.
Also: dopamine. This week on Mamamia Out Loud, we discussed the connection between shopping and ADHD, after this New York Times piece came out:
The author reports on the connection between dopamine, impulse control and spending and explains how as a neurotransmitter, dopamine plays a role in attention and mood as “the great mediator of pleasure.”
People with A.D.H.D need more stimulation to feel the ordinary pleasure that most people feel, he said, which often means they resort to more extraordinary means to get it.
“Ordinary life just doesn’t do it for us,” said Dr. Hallowell, who also has A.D.H.D. “Whereas someone else wouldn’t need the extra boost of dopamine to feel good about being alive, we do. And I call that the itch at the core of A.D.H.D. That’s absolutely crucial — because how you scratch it makes all the difference in the world.”
This itch is sometimes referred to as reward deficiency syndrome. Spending is one way to scratch the itch, and the more expensive something is, he said, the more exciting it is.
Oh yes. On this ep of Mamamia Out Loud I spoke in detail about how I’ve learned the ways in which my ADHD impacts my shopping and my spending and how some of the odd things I’ve always done when it comes to buying things (buying the same thing twice, buying random coloured pillows) now make more sense to me.
You can hear me have that conversation here – you’ll need to be a Mamamia subscriber which you can become right now if you’re not already – it’s just $6 per month and your support is so appreciated.
Feature Image: Supplied.
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