Wow, there is always a lot of excitement in the air on black friday, but here is why black friday won’t make you happy.
A plethora of good and services
Do you like choice? Or does it confuse and overwhelm you? I know for many of my clients they suffer from overwhelm and feel desperate to declutter and simplify their lives and minds.
When you are surrounded by stuff it will add to feelings of stress and confusion. It also affects the flow of energy in your home which is what Feng Shui is all about. And have you every noticed how well your personal energy flows when your home is clean and tidy? Some decluttering experts such as Mary Kondo will advise you to only have things in your home that you really love and bring you pleasure. This is a lovely concept as it means whatever you use or look at in your home will bring you joy. Bringing joy into your life is a big part of my work with helping clients overcome depression.
So this Black Friday there might be some offers for things you have been thinking of buying for a while, or want to buy as a gift for Christmas like:
But can I suggest that you don’t get sucked into buying things that have no use or you have never considered yourself needing before, as these are likely to be the things that bring short term happiness (if any at all).
Shopping in a pastime enjoyed by many (or even most people). We ‘treat’ ourselves to pretty things, tasty things and things that excite or interest us. Things that we can wear to make us ‘feel good’. Things to make our home ‘look good’ and gadgets to make life ‘easier’.
For some, shopping feels like love.
This is because shopping briefly lights up the ‘reward centre’ of your brain. In simple terms, your brain is designed to seek pleasure or avoid pain.
To satisfy your brains need for pleasure, it works in a cycle of desire, action and satisfaction. An example of this could be wanting positive feedback from someone, doing something for them and getting the feedback which makes you feel good. When you feel good from the feedback your brain lights up its pleasure circuit and this makes you want to do it again. This is called positive reinforcement. Think children and animals here. When you positively reinforce good behaviour they are more likely to do it again.
Shopping lights up most people’s pleasure circuit. But is it enough to make you happy at a deeper level? Or is this happiness short lived? Let’s explore that.
Short term feelings of happiness
Abraham Maslow was an American psychologist who created the pyramid below now known as Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.
The pyramid reflects that as complex beings, we need more than just the basics. Yes we need shelter and food. But then we move into the more emotional levels of love, self esteem and our own personal potential and fulfilment.
I see a lot of clients who need help with life direction. Often in their forties or fifties, they’ve worked, raised families, had relationships or marriages and on paper have what look to be successful and fortunate lives. But they are not happy. They don’t know who they are anymore and what the rest of their life will be like. They feel empty, lost and confused. This is to do with not operating in the top of Maslow’s triangle and don’t worry, after 4 sessions and a deep dive into themselves, they are right as rain.
So you see, shopping doesn’t really touch many of the levels of Maslow’s triangle which is why yes it may feels great in the short term, but because it hasn’t fulfilled you on an emotional level, you feel may feel empty and sad still, despite some wonderful Black Friday deals.
Feelings of emptiness
I would suggest that Cyber Monday was created to address the lull and emptiness that Black Friday might create. All that excitement on Black Friday, hunting deals, comparing features, accessing which colour will work best and then it stops. Oh no, all the website timers are at 0 and there are no more deals. But wait! You can do it all again on Cyber Monday and feed your reward centre once more. Hoorah. And then Tuesday comes 🙁
To address feelings of emptiness many people self-medicate with food, cigarettes, sex, alcohol, drugs or other things. Like shopping, these things do not address your emotional needs for satisfaction. You need to go inside and understand what makes you tick, what fulfils and motivates you. When you know these things, you can live a life that has these things in and lights up your pleasure centres. My work with clients is all about this which I call ‘finding your joy’. I know it can seem hard when it’s not happening but it is possible, I promise.