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Study reveals shopping local has therapeutic benefits, gives people a greater sense of community

A new study shows that shopping locally promotes mental health and wellbeing and helps give people a greater sense of community.

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It’s the retail spending that really is therapy, Seven Sharp reports. Source: Seven Sharp

While online shopping has surged in popularity over the last few years, not to mention Covid-19 and the threat of lockdowns, the country has seen more and more people look to their screens to make their latest purchases.

While there is no denying how good it feels to splash the cash, pass over the plastic, and walk hand-in-hand with your latest purchase, research shows we reap more rewards when we keep it local.

Founder of mental health organisation Clearhead, Dr Angela Lim, says consumer trends overseas show 84 per cent of people are choosing to shop locally because they “want to give back” and build a sense of community.

“And when you think about how the pandemic has really removed our ability to interact normally, this is a great way to pump back into the community and ensure that keeps circulating around,” Lim says.

She says while “shopping is the transactional part”, the “bit that we are really connected by and is really important to us is being really social creatures”.

Lim says it’s important to ensure that we are able to keep the local interactions going.

“You shopping there ensures that they keep their business open.”

Lim says the latest data shows that Christchurch is the city where people have become the “most lonely”.

It precedes a campaign to eat and shop locally in the region. “So it will be really interesting to see if that data really starts to flip around as that campaign gets going."