Photo: Legally Blonde
Turns out retail therapy is real—at least according to the Cleveland Health Clinic, which says shopping can spike the brain chemistry for happiness and adrenaline. But that euphoric feeling is super short lived—especially if you bought something because it was “a good deal,” and not because you love it.
That’s why this Black Friday, we’ve made a list of things proven to give a similar “high” to shopping, without using up your time, money, closet space, and landfill guilt.
Scroll through to find a new Black Friday tradition, and if you still want to shop tomorrow, don’t panic. Those “one day only” sales often go all week long, so you can leave any shopping FOMO where it belongs: in the recycling bin.
TELL SOMEONE THEY’RE AWESOME
Did you know paying and receiving compliments lights up the same part of the brain as paying and receiving actual cash
? Meanwhile, a Harvard Health study says people who acknowledge their gratitude
have less stress and more happiness. So tell someone you’re thankful for them—or even that you love their new coat—and watch the smiley faces erupt.
BLAST ONE DIRECTION
A 2011 study connected chemical happiness with musical pleasure; meanwhile, dancing like nobody’s watching helps raise your heart rate and get your blood flowing for optimum endorphins. Basically, if you ask Alexa to play “Best Song Ever
” on your Bluetooth speaker, there’s a good chance you’ll be smiling by Niall’s solo.
NEVER APOLOGIZE FOR AVOCADO TOAST
Dopamine is a brain chemical often called “the pathway to pleasure.” It’s made with tyrosine, a naturally occurring amino acid that comes from eating plants like avocados, bananas, pumpkin seeds, and leafy greens. Focus on fresh, plant-based food for optimum tyrosine levels! (And for a healthier planet, too.)
HELP SOMEONE OUT
The science is real: Doing good does your body good
. Boost your mood by boosting others, whether it’s through “official” volunteering, taking 10 minutes to pick up beach litter before swimming, or even helping someone get their stroller down some steps.
FIND YOUR NEAREST VERY GOOD DOG
Petting a dog or cat can ease anxiety and boost serotonin
, so if you’re able, give your nearest furball a belly rub. (Bonus: Many cats will also sit directly on top of your phone, preventing you from stalking your ex on Instagram—a total dopamine buzzkill.)
HAVE A MAKEOUT SESSION
What?! It’s science