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This is part 2 of 3 of the money mindset series. 

  1. Top 3 money saving strategies 
  2. How to stop emotional spending 
  3. How to improve your money mindset like a boss

I came across an interesting interview with the German neuroscientist Dr. Gerald Hüther.

He explained in his interview why “unhappy” people can’t resist shopping and are more likely to make impulse purchases.

As a former shopaholic and emotional spender, I was very interested in learning about this topic more.

I loved the interview and want to share with you the nuggets of wisdom he shared regarding emotional spending.

More specifically how emotional spending arises and what you can do about it how to stop impulse buying.


Learn about the science behind emotional spending and how to stop impulse buying via #emotionalspendingtruths #impulsebuying #emotionalshopping #lillaliptak


  • The power of our thoughts
  • How we form thought patterns
  • The only 2 things we are longing for
  • How to stop emotional spending


According to Dr. Gerald Hüther, everything starts with our thoughts.

Repetitive thoughts form our beliefs.

Our ideas and beliefs are very strongly connected with the emotional centers of our brains.

our thoughts – influence our feelings 

our feelings – influence our actions

This means that we can experience real pain in our bodies whenever we have a negative thought.

For example about saying goodbye to a cherished person or a convenient idea, habit or environment.

These emotional patterns happen on a deeply unconscious level without any reflection.

Therefore the feelings and actions are unconscious as well.

If we want to stop the way we act, we have to change the way we think first.

This is also true for emotional spending.


Different thinking leads unavoidably to different feelings and to different actions.

We are able to rewire our brains by simply thinking of different thoughts.

This ability is also called neuroplasticity.

But why is it so difficult to break with old thought patterns?

According to neuroscience, this is so difficult, because we pass it on unconsciously to our children.

This means it has been also passed on to us in our childhood unconsciously as well.


The only experience babies have at the time of birth is the experience of growth and of connectedness.

They constantly grow in their mummy’s womb and they are constantly connected to her before birth.

This means their brains save the information of growth (dopamine is released) and connectedness (oxytocin and prolactin are released).

The babies are born and expect to experience further growth (they show this in their curiosity) and they expect to be welcomed and connected.

Our desire to grow and to connect never ends!

Being excluded from a community or experiencing rigorous restrictions activate the same areas in our brains as if we would experience physical pain.

The solution is to have the freedom to be able to explore and connectedness at the same time.

Whenever we can’t have one of these experiences we are looking for what we can get to activate the reward system in our brain.

This leads to a distribution of neurotransmitters in our brains.

Dr. Hüther calls them the fertilizer for our brains.

This reward system can be activated when we do something that we are very passionate about or through substitution to bring peace into our brains.

For example in the form of emotional spending.

To cause a change in our belief system and to be able to rethink or to form new habits he suggests, what we need is enthusiasm.

Whatever we are doing it must capture our hearts otherwise the underlying unconscious thought pattern will go on.

Little kids have enthusiasm all the time because everything is new and miraculous to them.

The same type of passion and enthusiasm can change our unconscious thought patterns and to stop emotional spending.

This means it is important that when we live our adult lives we still have something we are passionate or enthusiastic about.
It may be a certain hobby like painting, sculpturing or in my case blogging.

What are you passionate about?

Where are you feeling enthusiasm?


Dr. Hüther explains: When you don´t get what you want, you take whatever you can have to activate your reward system.

He further explains that we need unhappy children where we are not able to meet their 2 basic needs of growth (going after their passion) and connectedness.

Once this is fulfilled and these kids grow up it is very easy to sell them any kind of crap, which they would never buy when they would feel good about themselves in the first place.

This is basically according to Dr. Hüther the scientific explanation of why we make impulse purchases and buy things we don’t really need.

Especially if something isn’t going well in our lives.

All we lack in these moments is either the lack of growth or the lack of connectedness.


I remember that I used to do a lot of emotional spending when I felt sad for example after a break-up.

My basic need for connectedness was not given at that time so I tried to compensate it with spending money on crap.

Whenever we feel unconsciously emotional pain, we tend to buy something that we don´t really need just to reward ourselves.

Products which we buy, but in the end rarely or never use as a result of emotional spending.

I guess we all had or still have such items at home.

What you can do to stop emotional spending:

Evaluate if you feel a lack of enthusiasm or a lack of connectedness whenever you are drawn towards emotional spending.

Ask yourself in which area of your life you feel lack at the moment?

How can you bring more enthusiasm to your life?

Give yourself 3 days to rethink your purchase and if you really want what you’re about to buy.

You might be also interested in the post How to create your best life

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