Spend needlessly? What reasons lead us to make compulsive purchases and how can we avoid it?

Spend needlessly?  What reasons lead us to make compulsive purchases and how can we avoid it?

Summer sales, winter sales, ‘mid season’ discounts, Black Friday, Cyber ​​Monday… Consumers are increasingly exposed to tempting offers to which it is difficult to say ‘no’ for an answer. Without going any further, the latest survey carried out at the foot of the store by the Spanish Association of Consumers (Asescon) pointed out that each Spaniard spends an average of 135 euros in the January sales, standing at 67% the percentage of people who buy all kinds of products on these dates despite having come out of another time (Christmas) eminently consumerist.

But, what are the causes that lead us to this uncontrolled consumption and why on many occasions do we get carried away by compulsive and excessive purchases? The Psychology Experts Maria Ibanez Goicoechea y Jesus Jimenez Cascallanadirectors of the Center for Psychology and Introspection in Madrid, explain the causes that lead us to compulsive consumption and give some keys to be able to stop it.

Experts warn that on many occasions excess consumption is directly related to the comparisons that we establish with others, so they advise avoiding falling into them. “The comparison with others is a key factor for someone to spend more than is advisable according to their economy. From the comparison arises the feeling of inferiority, discomfort and envy, which usually lead to try to balance that feeling that one is less than others if you do not have exotic vacations, the best delicacies on the table, or if you do not the best family gifts.

Likewise, Goicoechea and Cascallana recommend not getting carried away by the appearances because “the situation of apparent abundance, so comforting and attractive, gives way to a need for restrictions later, to balance personal financial balances, to lose the accumulated kilos…”.

For these mental health specialists the everyday anguish, caused by stress at work, family problems, illness, a financial unforeseen event, or by social conflicts, such as the political environment, growing insecurity in health and economic fields, and even war and climate change, are other factors that push to excesses. However, both explain that the momentary satisfaction or pleasure that compulsive consumption can offer is not going to end the discomfort.

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“They seem like too many challenges, and there is a deep-rooted belief that pleasure ends discomfort, so letting yourself be carried away by excesses can seem like a doorway. escapea balm for so much anxiety, when in reality it is a temporary anesthesia and when its effect wears off it will return us to the initial discomfort with some added extras, such as the February slope, regret, guilt, fear of the future… .” warn these experts.

For psychologists, the solution to this uncontrollable consumption is to investigate the root of the problem since, as they explain, it is good to be aware of the damages of getting carried away by excesses and reflect on it without blaming yourself, but if you do not delve into the true psychological causes, it is very likely that you will relapse again and again .

“Following the examples we have given, it is necessary to understand that there is no one who is inferior to others, neither because of their goods, nor because of their abilities or abilities, nor because of their circumstances. As human beings we are all equally valuable. You have to learn to resolve emotionally the feeling of inferiority and the fear of belittlement, starting with not belittling oneself”, they advise.

Likewise, they warn that trying to calm the discomfort by seeking pleasure -whether it be with food, consumption, sex or any other thing-, produces addiction psychological and, by extension, suffering. “In this sense, we must not confuse pleasure with well-being, with joy or with enjoying the good things in life, which do not produce side effects.”


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