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When life gets too tough and each day seems too much of a struggle, what do you do?

Yoga? Meditate? Maybe practice the ancient art of tai chi? There are times when one needs a more unconventional way to decompress. Something that instead of requiring self-control and focus, lets one forget their troubles and worries for a while.

Something along the lines of shopping or as many prefer to call it, retail therapy.

One might think that retail therapy has no place in reality, that it only works in Hollywood movies and TV series where fashion divas walk around Fifth Avenue or Paris carrying countless shopping bags, but it is not so. Retail therapy is as real as anything and can work wonders.

Had a huge fight with your boyfriend or just went through a horrible break up? Don't sit around crying with a tub of ice cream destroying your health. Go out and get yourself a spa day. I am talking about a manicure, pedicure, body massage, facials - the whole shebang. Once you are done making your gorgeous self even prettier and your tensed muscles are a little relaxed, gift yourself some new strappy sandals and buy that dress that you've been wanting for months. Then, after your all-day workout walking around shopping, indulge in some gelato or maybe even a drink.

Believe me, you will find yourself feeling calm and may even have a smile on your face.

Feeling lonely? Get lost in the crowded street markets and discount stores.

Struggling with unemployment and feeling less confident in yourself lately? Go to the mall anyways. It is not necessary to buy. Get busy with some window shopping and make a wish list of all the things that you will come back to get when you have a job. It may sound silly, but it may strengthen your weakening resolve.

Retail therapy lets one envision themselves as what and how they would like to be. One may not be able to control everything that happens in their life, but some things we surely can.

A new dress may restore your confidence in yourself and help you get over the hurtful and demeaning words of a mean friend or partner. It may even give you the courage to finally get out of a relationship that is not worth your while.

Redecorating your house after a bad break up or divorce may help you get some perspective. A pair of new shoes might just be the thing you needed to land the job in your next interview. The person that you saw in the mirror told you "you got it" and it was just the person you needed to hear it from.

But beware. It may not take long for this form of therapy to become an addiction, and this one in particular is known to take hold of its users fairly quickly.

So, once you are back on your feet, it might be better to cut down on the therapy, at least for a little while.

This article was published on the Global Times Metropolitan section Two Cents page, a space for reader submissions, including opinion, humor and satire. The ideas expressed are those of the author alone, and do not represent the position of the Global Times.