When we go shopping to relieve stress it's not meant to suggest that every stressed soul should head for the shopping arcade and return after a few hours completely de-stressed...or, probably more stressed after she realizes the big hole she's just burnt in her pocket while burning out her stress neurons. Pushing the pun aside, I fully agree that going to the shopping arcade can actually blow out a large part of your stress but you need to be a little careful here.
There's a slight difference between "going shopping" and actually "shopping" at the arcade. You need to guard against impulse shopping especially when you're stressed because you could end up buying things you wouldn't have dared in a stable and sober condition on another day.
The idea is to try and be in control even while going out shopping when there's no particular need to. After all, you haven't planned to buy anything, did you? So, revisit your wish list to see what that modestly priced thing is, that you were keen to buy but have been postponing for the last seven-eight months. Chances are, you might be pleasantly surprised that you have finally come out of the 'strict financial discipline' syndrome to make way for something that one side of your brain said was 'indulgence' and the other side said, was a 'need'.
Now is your chance to put your foot down and tell the indulgence soothsayer in your brain, "This is my need and I'm going to get it". This little victory will also knock some flab out of your stubborn stress neurons. Mind you, this is just a battle you've won; the war is still to be won and you're fighting stress, the perennial enemy of mankind, more dangerous than the deadliest of terrorists on planet earth. So take your little victory on your stride and stay focused on the item you "need" to buy. Don't get distracted by fancy things at the arcade till you've laid your hands on the item you "need". Gotcha! Another blow on the face of this mean little stress.
This is the moment of truth - you've just won what appears to be the penultimate battle in this war against stress. You lovingly look at your new acquisition - boy-O-boy that stupid indulgence soothsayer in your brain made you wait for an eternity for this simple little modestly-priced item that clearly has its utility for you, howsoever marginal.
The stress is just about gone but not quite; now you've got your wits back in motion and you know how smart you've been. So, you decide to blow the living daylights out of whatever remained of this mean little ugly stress with a knockout blow - caffeine.
It's time to savor the Cappuccino you just ordered at the coffee shop. Moral of the story - don't lose control while de-stressing.