In times of great worry or despair, many turn to food and alcohol for comfort. Others, mainly female, but a good few males too, turn to their credit cards to cheer them up.

Cosmetics, clothes, gadgets; the list of items purchased on shopping sprees is endless. If a person really wanted to go crazy,  they could spend well up to and above €200 in just one shop. Good for the economy. Bad for your finances.

I would be an advocate of retail therapy. It’s helped my through some rough times. Everyone needs some self-indulgence and even a new pair of shoes can give a person a much needed boost. People have said that once they go shopping their bad mood suddenly disappears.

But apparently, retail therapy has a dark side, according to the experts. It may even be as bad for you as drinking too many cocktails on a night out. So does retail therapy really make you happy?

Some experts have suggested that, similar to over indulgence with the likes of chocolate, shopping provides a temporary mood lift but that fades away and can leave a person with added stress. The bliss disappears, and they are left feeling guilty for splurging out on an unnecessary purchase.

Retail therapy is used as a coping mechanism for those under pressure or great stress. This can prove problematic, as the person does not confront their issues, but rather buries them away beneath a pile of receipts. Continuing down a path of avoidance can never be the right decision for a person, and shopping is just another obstacle standing between them and their problems.

And how could we forget the big one: shopping is not cheap! As I already mentioned, a person could spend ridiculous amounts of money on clothes and accessories that they will only get a limited amount of use out of before they are thrown aside for something new. An individual must be careful, or they could wind up in debt for their over-enthusiasm at the latest sale.

Now before we all cry in despair, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. After extensive research, I have made the simply joyous discovery that most of the experts share the some opinion as me: shopping is beneficial form of therapy!

Check out these articles at Yahoo! Shine, BBC News and the Daily Mail, and see why the top psychologists and researchers believe that shopping is actually a helpful stress reliever.

To sum up the messages of these articles: money can buy you happiness, but only when used in the right way. Spending needlessly isn’t always the answer, but there is no harm with impulse buys when you are feeling low. Ignore the judgemental friends and listen to the experts. They know their stuff.

Buy, buy, buy!