It's not you, it's Black Friday: how to resist a 'holiday' designed to profit off of your stress

Marianne Lalande

If you're anything like me, you feel trapped and worried by the perspective of the upcoming capitalist holiday that is Black Friday. You know you're about to get bombarded by a million newsletters, coupon codes, and slick-looking ads on social media.

You don't know whether you'll have the self-control it takes to keep your credit card away when your favourite brands will be offering discounts on all the things you want.

How can you possibly resist overspending?

How to resist temptation and stay grounded on Black Friday and Cyber Monday

There is nothing crazy or strange about feeling this way. Does it look to you like these people have it together?

Granted, this year might not bring in crowds of people to physical shops. But with online shopping and mobile integrations, there is no hiding from your favourite brand's Best Deal Yet!

How Black Friday and Cyber Monday are designed to reduce your thinking power

The genius of these commercial 'holidays' is that they are short. Whether the promotion lasts all weekend long or just a day, the built-in sense of urgency taps into our most basic instincts.

When something feels urgent, we feel that we need to act right away. But have you noticed what else?

Our thinking is a lot less clear than usual. We are distracted by our emotions:

• The excitement of getting something new
• The worry of spending the 'right' amount of money
• The guilt of buying something we don't need
• The fear of missing out on a good deal if we take too long to act

When emotions run wild, it is very difficult to make clear-headed decisions. Companies take advantage of that unclear thinking that they help create in our minds.

As a result, you might impulse-buy something to make sure you don't regret missing out on the deal. Alternatively, you might spend hours deal-hunting for the best possible option and supplier, comparing many parameters like discounts, shipping fees, specs, customer reviews and more. But doing this research on a deadline makes it likely that your state of mind will be busy.

Dare I say—frantic.

The pressure to spend now could also put you in a difficult financial situation and create more worried thinking after the fact, once the high emotions have passed.

So how do you avoid Black Friday stress—and regret?

How to approach Black Friday shopping calmly and resist over-spending

The terms "Black Friday" and "calm" may seem incompatible, but they aren't! If you're looking for practical tips to strategise your approach to Black Friday shopping, you could try the following:

1. Make a list of all the purchases you know you will need to make in the coming weeks (and make sure you stick to that list when the time comes);
2. Check out what deals are coming up in your favourite shops; by now, you've probably already received a lot of promotional emails telling you what discounts to expect;
3. Plan out some early holiday gift-shopping.

These are all fine tips, but they're not as helpful in tackling the high emotions that arise from the avalanche of temptation you're about to experience.

Here's a little run-down of something you can do on the day. Picture it; you're sitting in front of your computer, or you're scrolling through your phone.

Enter: an ad. 🛍️

It's a great ad. It promises you lots of savings, lots of goodies, fast shipping, and more! You're about to click on it—now pause. Scan your thoughts and emotions.

• Do you feel yourself craving this item when you previously didn't?
• Are you experiencing lots of thoughts (do they have my size, how much is this discount saving me, I could buy this for so-and-so...)?
• Are you already feeling a little bit of guilt even before purchasing the item?

Ding ding ding! 🔔 This is useful information.

Whenever we are experiencing a lot of things in our mind, it's hard to feel clear-headed, which makes it really hard to make a good decision. Conclusion: now is probably not a great time to shop.

So when you find yourself in that state of urgency, remember:

Your thoughts and feelings do not need to be acted upon.

Our mental state fluctuates a lot in the span of a day, or even an hour. So when something feels so urgent, give yourself a bit of time for your mind to settle down. Your decision will only be better informed. Perhaps you'll miss out on a discount by the time that you feel clear enough to make a purchase... but the good news is, there's always a bargain somewhere.

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This story was written by

Marianne Lalande
Marianne Lalande

Marianne is in charge of all things content at More Resilience. As a digital native, she loves bringing online culture into her work to show that technology and wellness really do go well together.

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