My daughter jokes that she needs some "retail therapy" when she comes home from college. Is shopping really "therapy"?? Oh, I believe it can be!
For one thing, when you shop with someone else, you talk about things you might not normally talk, about because you are not face to face, but looking around a store as you are talking. Just talking to a friend can be a bit of "getting it off your chest" kind of therapy. Shopping and talking is definitely a way to unwind and a diversion for your mind, even for a little while.
For another thing, walking into a lovely shop can be peaceful and calming. It really can be a way to de-stress. The music in a shop can put you in a better mood. I don't know how many times customers come in our shop and start singing the song that's playing. I love that! The atmosphere of a shop can also have a therapeutic affect on you. We considered colors and furniture placement very carefully when we created our shop.
Another part of "retail therapy" is not feeling guilty about treating yourself to something when you are going through a rough time. It doesn't even need to be something expensive. It can be a cozy pair of new slippers. It makes you feel better and that's a good thing!